This is not 'chick' as in Dixie Chicks, nor as in Quick Chick noodles, nor indeed as in Parisian 'chic'.
Sumathi and Lakshmi are working out in the open on their regular pitch on Chennai's TTK Road using slender bamboo stems to make chick, window blinds or sun screens (and occasionally mats and table placings) which are light, durable and flexible.
The making process uses a lot of stone weights to keep the bamboo taut and to ensure that the strands remain level. This video gives a sense of the intricacy of the craft -
Chick is fashionable. Big balcony blinds can be - and I'm going by online prices here, I'm sure it's a lot cheaper to buy bespoke on TTK Road - about 20 rupees per square foot. Window blinds go for up to 70 rupees (about $1) a square foot.
Sumathi and Lakshmi are part of a small army of vendors and craft workers whose workplace is on the Chennai streets.
I sought their permission to take photos, which was happily given. I didn't buy any chick, but their boss, the man (yes, the sexual division of labour is alive and well here) to the left of one of the pictures posted here, negotiated a modest recompense.
And I trust that at least some of that reached the women who do the work.
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