A pocketful of purpose

Text by Anutara Shakya

The Mhicha, translated literally to “pocket” in Newari, can hold up anything you would want to carry in a handful.

When young children go to their grandmothers, pleading for money to buy toys and candy, the hajuramas lovingly pull out a small pouch from underneath their shawl to fulfill their grandchildren’s wishes. Tied securely to the waist of their petticoats or the strings of their cholos, the Misa Mhicha (women’s purse), is a utility they cannot do without.
Generally made by tailors out of leftover fragments, the mhicha is a decent way to reuse scraps. You can notice them hanging in display at the entrance of local tailoring shops.

  • Starting from Rs 25, the mhichas are priced dirt cheap. You can also get more elegant ones made from Dhaka, all you have to do is look around a bit.
  • For many elderly women, making mhichas in their free time is a hobby. Nepal Ganesha and other souvenir shops in Swotha sell mhichas usually made by women of the locality.
  • Using a mhicha is easy: out of the four strings, the shorter ones on each side are used for opening and the other two for closing. They might need some getting used to but the color coordinated strings will help you distinguish which is which. 
  • Generally utilized as purses, mhichas are also used to keep personal belongings such as house keys and jewelry. They can also be used to pack small gift items, the traditional way.