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Cultural tapestry

Check out what is on offer at the Purbashree exhibition

Photo: S. Gopakumar

Cane and bamboo furniture at the exhibition

THE PURBASHREE exhibition being organised at the Sree Moolam Club in the city has been on for more than two weeks but continues to draw crowds eager to have some keepsake of the seven North-Eastern states in their home or on person.

The exhibition will be poorer by the departure of representatives of Meghalaya. "We have sold out almost all our wares," says Isabella Pakma, who sells dried flowers, a popular buy among the city folk. So, those who have delayed paying a visit to the Meghalaya stalls will have missed the opportunity to stock on dried flowers, terracotta earrings, wooden ashtrays and penholders with terracotta figurines embossed on them, and souvenirs.

Cane

But there is still a lot on offer at the remaining stalls. Washable cane tablemats with cloth trimming, cane purses and handbags with leather edges for durability can be picked up from the Assam stall. Shantiniketan leather bags, purses, and lipstick holders, manufactured at their training centre in Guwahati, make for a good buy. These come in either block prints or batik and are made by blowing gum paint through pipes. Snazzy leather pendants on threads and matching earrings, and those made of macron threads (these are washable) sure deserve a place in you jewellery box.

Bamboo screens with threadwork on them have been almost sold out. The entire range of bamboo products - tablemat sets (Rs. 120), door screens, wall hangings, utility items such as candle stands and beer mugs - have you longing for more. If you have given handicrafts made of Gamari wood the miss in the past, it is never too late to acquire one. Or how about some cane baskets with excellent finish?

Beautiful terracotta products such as diyas, penstands with a Feng Shui touch, vases in the shape of a curvaceous woman, the God of Dance, Nataraja, there is something for everyone here.

Prason of Madhubani has a stack of Madhubani and Worli paintings. His works and that of others he represents have come in for a lot of appreciation, says Prason. Made of natural colours, these paintings are in the range of Rs. 150 to Rs. 2,000. Prason also stocks bedsheets but not ordinary ones. "The bedsheets also have traditional themes that are found in Madhubani paintings. The only difference is that instead of natural colours, fabric paints are used to make them."

Saris

The North-Eastern Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation Limited stall has a host of saris from the North-Eastern states. Muga saris from Assam (Rs, 6,500 to Rs. 7,500) are exquisite and if you have money to spare, this is one purchase you need not feel guilty about. Silk and cotton saris from Manipur, bedsheets, traditional Naga shawls, unstitched salwar kameez coordinates and duppatas can all be picked up from here. Soft cotton quilts in a finish that would put silk to shame are worth a dekko. Muga neckties and pillow covers are somewhat of a novelty.

Jute products such as bags, footwear and dolls are also available at the exhibition.

Manipur stalls has cotton bags with attractive embroidery and in every conceivable design and colour. Folders, mobile phone kits, household items such as mittens, dupattas (Rs. 250), salwar kameez sets, both stitched and unstitched ones, can be picked up here.

Those who freak out on dried flowers can buy from the Nagaland stall dried wild mushroom, weathernut seeds, soft cane, maize corn, field brush grass, flowers made of original banyan leaves that are dipped in water for a month, brushed, and then coloured all over, and those made of soft wood shavings.

The stall also has the traditional Naga Mekhela. While the wraparound skirts are priced at Rs. 280, a set comprising a skirt and top can cost up to Rs. 300.

R. K. ROSHNI

Photo: S. Gopakumar

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