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'Weaving manja in lockdown': Here is how this Indian family utilised their time in self-isolation

Surjit Sandhu is a Brisbane-based Punjabi songwriter. Source: Supplied

Stuck at his home during lockdown in Brisbane, Surjit Sandhu finally got on with a DIY project that he had been putting off since last two years.

With extra time on his hands, Mr Sandhu launched a small yet complex DIY project (do-it-yourself) to web an Indian-style charpoy, called ‘manja’ in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

Mr Singh said he had missed the traditional bed ever since he moved to Australia.

“When you want to work with a creative mind, all you need is a thought process and plenty of time. And this time, I had both," wrote Mr Singh on a Facebook post where he can be seen perched on the colourful hand-woven bed now placed in his living room. 


Highlights:

  • ‘Manja’ in Punjabi is compatible with 'khatia or charpoy’ in Hindi and 'cot or bed' in English.
  • It is basically a portable bed that can be moved easily within the house.
  • It is available in many Indian grocery shops and import-based businesses.
  • Many people like Mr Sandhu prefer its homemade version which consists of cotton or nylon ropes woven within a wooden or steel frame.  

Mr Sandhu said that the iron frame for the bed was gifted to him by one of his friends.

“I was glad to have it, but the funny thing is that he didn’t tell me the source from where he bought this frame," he said.

To ‘web this craft’, Mr Sandhu used colourful ropes that he purchased from a local Bunnings store in Brisbane.

“I couldn’t find the actual threads that are usually used by craftsmen to weave a manja in Punjab. So, I bought whatever was available. These ropes are a bit difficult to handle but they seem more durable," he added.  

Mr Sandhu’s sons helped him complete this DIY task.
Mr Sandhu’s sons helped him complete this DIY task.
Supplied

Mr Sandhu claims it was a very “intricate and tedious” project and he had to rely on several tutorial videos available on YouTube for instructions.

“It seemed simple when I started, but it took an entire day. I wanted my sons to take a break from the video games, so I also engaged them in this DIY project,” he said. 

Mr Sandhu said while he is aware that ‘manjas’ are available now in the Australian markets, but he nevertheless wanted to web one himself at home.

“It was an extremely rewarding experience as our family and friends just loved the end product. And now we are planning to make more of these, but this time it might be even harder as we aim to use wooden homemade frames.” 

To know more, listen to the full conversation with Mr Sandhu by clicking on the player inside the picture at the top.

Sandhu's colorful manja
Mr Sandhu said it was an extremely rewarding experience.
Supplied

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus 

Tell us if you have completed any DIY project to utilise your self-isolation time while at home. You can reach me at preetinder.singh@sbs.com.au 

This story is inspired by a similar story from SBS Hindi:

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