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Papering dreams

Sanjeev Kumar Chouhan knows the art of amusing children and even adults with his colourful paper toys in fascinating shapes and sizes. He teaches this skill too.

Photo: S. Subramanium.

Shaping animal life in paper...Sanjeev Kumar Chouhan in New Delhi.

MOUSE, TORTOISE, giraffe, squirrel, butterfly... they are all together in 29-year-old Sanjeev Kumar Chouhan's unassuming box. Sanjeev possesses an inborn talent for giving beautiful shapes to paper. "My mother wanted me to study, but it was only craft that I could pick up," Sanjeev says. From the early age of 11, he had great fascination for paper toys, and he chose to make his hobby a livelihood.

Besides paper toys he has also been making innovative and informative paper and card games and lovely flowers. He prices his products between Rs.5 and 400. His creativity helps him earn a neat packet every month bringing a smile to children's faces without burning a hole in their parents' pocket. Sanjeev has conducted successful exhibitions at Pragati Maidan and Dilli Haat. His paper toys can be folded easily and are handy. Besides, they hold great fascination for the kids.

He has also been teaching a large number of teachers and students at the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training. He has made a number of games for children at the National Bal Bhavan, whose magazine Akkad Bakkad has featured his paper games.

So far Sanjeev has made about 100 paper toys and is eagerly looking forward to crafting a few animals on the verge of extinction. He plans to put his paper models in glass boxes, which could add value to his craft. Some of them are stationary, others move their neck and tail to the great amusement of kids.

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