DHOONI: A tradition confined by the Walled City for long before it was considered a professionPurani Dilli Walo Ki Baatein
By Asma Khanam
Dhoonis are the manual workers, who stuff quilts and blankets with the cotton of different types by scutching the cotton. The custom made quilts in accordance with the desirable texture, weight, size, and fabrics is a long followed winter culture in old Delhi. Like Orion in the winter night sky, these dhoonis appear post autumn and stick around passionately delivering their best work. A localite in old Delhi is spoiled by these quilts and is acquired to adapt the conduct. Modern dhoonis not only stuff quilts but many more, like pillows, stuffed toys, cushions, and couches.
Dhoonis are dhoonis only during winters, before and after the season, their professions change. As hibernating through all of the seasons, being anonymous and in winters you’re a rockstar. People are always searching for them as the old Delhiites are genetically spoiled for the handmade quilt to walk into that good night’s sleep.
As urbanization and capitalism is a metro city prime, dhoonis are sadly on the verge of extinction, the tradition is dying before us as modernization takes over. Only a few dhoonis, the energetic, talented, weavers with their delicate, fragile small business just as delicate as the cotton they scutch is at death’s door. Still, many embrace them and adore that hand-knitted razai (quilt) to sleep in.