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Thursday, Oct 21, 2004

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A SIMPLE childish pleasure that one can buy cheaply at the ongoing `Surabhi' Exhibition at Kanaka Damodar Auditorium is a walnut-sized brown wooden box. When you open the box you see a wooden beetle desperately trying to escape, flailing all of its six legs. Some brilliant writer would have written a book for posterity but one just stands there in the midst of that vast spread of arts and crafts deliciously delighting in the desperate movements of a wooden beetle. And this thrill can be packaged and bought for Rs. 20. Sets of wooden cooking vessels, cars, trains, abacuses, green tortoises, laughing maharajas and shaking penguins are some of the other brightly coloured toys that will not only captivate children but adults too.

From across India

The 50 stalls at the exhibition have some very interesting handicrafts from all over the country. Bhavan Kumar opened out a hazari print vegetable dyed yellow bed- spread brought all the way from Barmar in the Western border of Rajasthan and he explained how the dull yellow is acquired. "Pomegranate and turmeric are left in water for two days and then ground together to get this particular shade of yellow." For brighter yellows, only the turmeric is used, the black is derived from iron, the blue from indigo etc. The king size brown bed spread is block printed on both sides-the front and back are perfectly aligned making it a beautiful piece.

The tie and dyed duppattas are going for Rs.150 apiece.

Exclusive crochet

The exclusive crochet stall from Andhra Pradesh, have beautiful lace tablemats, TV covers and baby wear. The time spent to crochet one tablemat is an excruciating five -day effort by one person and can be bought for a meagre sum of Rs.40. How much cheaper can things get for such exquisite workmanship. The TV cover costs Rs.250 and that is the effort of five people carefully crocheting for 15 days!

Bidri work

At the stall from Hyderabad the Bidri work ranges from forty to five thousand. The black metal with silver inlay makes great gift items. You can pick up paper knives, vases, agarbatti stands and even hair clips in Bidri work. The bedspreads and tablecloth that come from Kozhikode are decidedly cool in pale shades. And there is much more by the way of miniature paintings, sandal woodcarvings from Mysore, leather horses etc.

`Surabhi', The Kerala State Handicrafts Apex Co-operative Society that is holding the exhibition say that there are no middlemen here and the profits go directly to the weavers and craftsmen. And you can get things ranging from five rupees to five thousand and the little thrills derived from just looking, of course, comes free. The exhibition is on till the October 25.

MINU ITTYIPE

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