A slice of India at Gandhi Shilp Bazaar - The New Indian Express

A slice of India at Gandhi Shilp Bazaar

Published: 07th November 2012 12:36 PM

Last Updated: 07th November 2012 12:36 PM

Leelamma Wilson had always loved to make decorative pieces for her home. But it was not until the delivery of a still born child, her first born, that she took to it in earnest. Her legs were partially paralysed after the complicated birth. She overcame the trauma, mental and physical, by diverting her attention to the hobby of making flowers from organza saris. She has been making them for over 25 years now. It later won her accolades that recognised her indomitable spirit. But Leelamma says she could always do with some financial aid from the government. 

This little birdie is a naughty brat! You can see for yourself if you pull at that tiny lever beside her feet. She makes a swift downward swoop and picks up a cigarette that pops out of the wooden box in front of her. The artisan from Dehradun says he made it specially as a curio that would have a “life of its own”. Among the other furniture pieces  on display at his stall are corner stands - a special one again that needs no polishing - wooden utensils, flower vases and so on.

Think of Kanyakumari and the image of the beach studded with sea shells is a given. The stall from the coastal town has a variety of shells and decorative pieces made from them. The ‘valampiri sanghu’ or right handed conch shell, which has been attributed in Hindu mythology with sacred connotations, is a rarity. The poor artisans are seldom custodians of this highly-priced item and they are often at the mercy of fishermen who make a good bargain for their find. The stall has polished and unpolished ‘valampiri sanghu’ among other curios.

The tiny glass menagerie has a dream like quality about it. The blue ducks, the green parakeets, the yellow kangaroos - all of it is etched on a canvas of eternity awash with the soft hues of fantasy. Their maker has left for his village in rural Tamil Nadu, entrusting the tiny animals to a friend of his. The biggest of the lot would only cost you under a hundred rupees. The little Sivalinga and Nandi, the dancing peacock and the Ganapati are among the other figurines in glass. 

Kolhapuri chappals are no novelty in this part of the world. The mustard coloured foot wear, its authentic version and the pepped up designer ones, have regular takes at every fair. For a change, you can try wearing these tiny kolhapuris as keychains. Priced at Rs 20 each, the tiny sandals are simply cute.

The downy chiffon sari in peach colour has a staggering price tag attached to it - ` 15,000. The members of the Infant Jesus Technical Education Institute, Tamil Nadu say the exotic hand embroidery is what makes the sari in pure chiffon all the more expensive.  The stitching is so fine and artfully done that it has a finish evocative of  an oil painting. The institute makes garments and wedding dresses to order and some of them, exclusively crafted with handmade Belgian laces, can cost anywhere around ` one lakh. On display at the exhibition are clothes for tiny tots, table covers, bed sheets, handkerchiefs - in pastel shades and embellished with fine needle work.

This embroidered neck piece has canvas stick-ons at the ends and can be worn over any dress. Tie it on and voila! The homeliest of outfits will instantly turn a party wear! They come in sizes right for little girls from 3-12 years of age. You can also pair it with waist pieces of the same colour. Done up with intricate embroidery and bead work, each piece of the flashy garment from Agra is fully handmade and costs Rs 350 each.

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