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Ships of adventure

Crafts from god's own land have a unique charm


BOB DYLAN asked to be taken on a trip upon a magic swirling ship. At the exhibition and sale of handicrafts from Kerala, the tambourine man would have been stumped for choice. There are a whole range of watercrafts from the stately Arabian ship in teak with brass trimmings (Rs. 2,800) and the absolutely adorable snake boats with sandal wood figures to queen of the ball - the Kumarakom houseboat. The boats in rosewood with screw pine fibre awnings (Rs. 300 to Rs. 500) are charming to say the least.

The Ravi Varma paintings - oil on canvas for Rs. 670 is marvellous way having a slice of the master at home. And if your walls need dressing up, go for the oils on bamboo or some nifty numbers in banana fibre. You have vividly coloured fish, lotus and roosters to deck up the wall. Then there are Kathakali heads in rosewood with brass and clay ones.

Your table could be a work of art with coasters and place mats in bamboo.

They make wonderful gifts for people travelling abroad as they do not occupy much space and are definitely as Indian as they get. And then there is a set of four boxes of decreasing size like the Russian dolls in screw pine fibre that put a fresh spin on quaint.


A set of coasters in teak with the most adorable rocking chair as a stand just asks to be bought and then there is a whole range of kitchenware like ladles, forks and tongs (to flip your roti) ideal for non-stick ware.

The intricately carved chapatti dish reveals that a touch of art goes a long way in elevating the commonplace.


Then there is some non-Kerala stuff like salwar kameez with the traditional mirror work from Gujarat and Tibetan bells. Sunil Roy, who has been making flowers from shells for the past 37 years, also has a stall where you could pick individual flowers, bunches of them or the pretty paper weights with acrylic moulded shells.

For more of Kerala there is the coconut stem para (a vessel to store rice) and a traditional jewellery box. Organised by the Surabhi, Kerala State Handicrafts Apex Co-op Society Ltd., the exhibition like the tagline goes is a chance to take home god's own crafts.

MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER

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