THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was while ploughing his farmstead that Haris Thaha came across an old soapbox of his, one he had used during his childhood days. The colour had faded. But other than that, there was no perceptible change. And when the past caught up to him, it made him an eco-warrior. And now, having turned a nature’s advocate, Thaha has weaved his life around sustainability, having embedded the 3 R’s into his life or rather magic into his life.
At Thaha’s home, you are invited to tea in glasses made of coconut shells. The furniture you sit on is made from refurbished trash, the artefacts that pep up the room is made from coconut shells. Everything oozes with sustainability. A magician, a craft maker and an environmentalist, all rolled into one is how one can describe Thaha. “I am just trying to add a touch of magic,” he smiles.
A wide array of articles are made out of coconut shells. Lampshades, traditional lamps, photo frames, clock, paperweight, utensils, watch, spectacles frame, crafts are all made out of the coconut shells.“It was the soapbox that got me thinking about the amount of waste we generate on a daily basis. Although I used to make art since the age of ten, this episode got me thinking. And so the thrust has been on reducing the waste and also crafting out articles from the trash which can be used in the home,” says Thaha a magician and who also heads the co-curricular activities at the Paradise Public School, Varkala.
He not only incorporates sustainability in his life but also into magic. For this magician who has been on the field for the past 23 years, magic is all about communicating the issues that need to be addressed in the community. “I believe that art can go a long way in bringing a change in the society. And so I theme my magic in such a manner that there is a message ingrained in it. I have found it effective to communicate and the message reaches the viewers easily,” says Thaha who is an international record holder of the Universal Record Forum for the ‘fastest magician in the world’.
For someone who learned the art of craft making by himself, Thaha says that you can concoct up almost anything from waste if you chose to give a try. His creative bent can be seen in the paintings he creates. The dry leaves, used matchsticks, old plastic bottles figure as the raw material for his art. “We have to learn to refuse plastic. There are many alternatives. For instance, the coconut shells. We just discard it. But you can fashion out anything from coconut shells.
There is no limit to the possibilities. Every home produces enough coconut shells as waste on a daily basis. You can even generate income by crafting articles out of it. All it requires is a bit of polishing and cutting which anyone can easily master,” says Thaha who also conducts workshops on making art out of the discarded materials.