BENGALURU: A year ago, Kiran Balu was working at a multinational company with a decent salary and holidays, just like most other corporate employees. However, in March 2020, he lost his job due to the pandemic and joined his family of potters to make a living.
The 33-year-old resides in Pottery Town and is a fourth generation potter. Now, he makes pots, idols during Ganesha Chaturthi, and earthen diyas during Deepavali. Balu has done a BBA and Diploma in airline ticketing courses and is one of the few people in Pottery Town to have studied till graduation and worked in the corporate sector.
Like many of his ex-colleagues, Balu is also ‘working from home’, but while toiling in the sun and rain for more than 12 hours every day, to make clay Ganeshas. He says it takes three hours to mix the clay and 10 hours to make 30 to 40 idols which are one-foot-tall. It costs him Rs 6,000 per truckloadof clay, which he procures from Kolar.
Now that the state government has restricted Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations, potters are worried about sales. Balu says, due to Covid restrictions, people are unsure of buying idols and even if they do, they don’t know where to immerse them. “We have many unsold idols that were made two years ago,’’ he said.
Balu and his fellow potters make idols ranging from five inches to 21.5 feet tall. However, this year, the idols will be much smaller as no public events are allowed. The potters are appealing to people to buy Ganesha idols and help them survive.
Manjula, a from Pottery Town said they plan to make only 2-3 inch idols as they can stock them easily but are not sure about customers buying idols in such small sizes.
(Story reported by Shriram BN)