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Amongst the embroidered bedspreads



Canutsav has some great bargains — Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

IT'S THE classic story of most craft fairs — wade through layer upon layer of things that you will probably never use , but somehow end up buying something. Canutsav, the exhibition organised by Canara Bank for women entrepreneurs, is not far from the classic craft fair. Would you ever really need colourful dolls with bobbing heads? Or hanky holders?

Unless you have very unusual taste, perhaps not. But then, like the best of us, if you're always on the lookout for reasonably priced (make that cheap) gifts, then visit Canutsav at the Seva Sadan.

There are some great bargains at this exhibition. Very "with-it" bags for kids in elephant shapes for just Rs. 65, baby holders from Grandma's Den for Rs. 350, and some really trendy jute slippers for Rs. 175. You will have to dig around amongst the piles of bedspreads and mounds of Rajasthani-type embroidered frocks for babies, but it's worth it when you hit a fashionable design at a throwaway price.

Canara Bank trains women in a wide range of activities — from catering to phenyl-making — and supports them with loans, stall support, and sound advice. They encourage women's self help groups and in getting women to stand on their own feet and sell their own products. Most stalls at the exhibition are people who have turned to Canara Bank for support, although you will find the stray "entrepreneur" with outlets on Commercial Street and in Koramangala, who has crept in.

The real story of this fair is told by women with ideas and terrific chutzpah — Suma Vishwanathan Kini, for instance, who specialises in bitter gourd products, has her thokkus, papads, bakery products on sale here. Kids from the Seva Sadan have made their own phenyl, plate powder, and so on, again at rates much more competitive than what is available in the market.

The exhibition was inaugurated on June 4, and is on till June 7. Seva Sadan, in case you get hopelessly lost, is on 14th Cross in Malleswaram, right in front of the MLA College.

HEMANGINI GUPTA

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