THRISSUR: Legend has it that Perumthachan, son of Vararuchi, had once installed a mechanised doll near a bridge that would spit on anyone who passed by. When a person enters the bridge, the doll would go down, take water from the river, come up and spit water on their face. Perumthachan’s son Kannan, who was considered to be far superior to his father, went on to place another wooden doll on the bridge. The son’s doll slapped on the face of Perumthachan’s doll whenever it was about to spit on a passerby, causing the latter to turn and spit into the river instead.
This architectural genius seems to have found a new legacy at the home of a 67-year-old carpenter in Thrissur, who has recreated the dual carpentry marvels attributed to mythology’s master carpenter and son. Carpenter KC Velayudhan made the two dolls one that spits water as you pedal on the lever and another that slaps the former on its face as a tactical move to keep his grandsons engaged at home and thus prevent them from unnecessarily venturing out during the pandemic period.
“I wanted to create a toy they could play with and sustain their interest for long. That’s when I remembered the Perumthachan story,” he says.
Velayudhan, fondly called Unni by his family and friends, is especially known for the ‘edakoodams’ — a puzzle toy he makes. A carpenter with 45 years of experience, he had made many variants of the edakoodams over the past year. “You can find over 40 types of edakoodams here,” says Velayudhan.
The Arangottukara native now intends to make another replica of the Perumthachan doll using teakwood. “I have already collected the wood. Using good quality wood would ensure that it will stay for a long time,” he says.
Meanwhile, enquiries for the exhibition of the doll have started trickling in, including a request from a nearby engineering college. Velayudhan says he would be able to recreate the dolls if there are more orders.