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A medley of bric-a-brac

Handlooms and handicrafts rule at the Gujarat expo


THERE IS something about a crafts fair that attracts people in large numbers. It need not be something terribly innovative; just the fact that a product came from somewhere else makes it appealing.

The same logic explains why people are thronging the Gujarat Handicrafts Exhibition at Rathna Regent on Avinashi Road. If you go in expecting a whole range of articles from Gujarat, you'll return disappointed. Keep your mind open and you'll return with quite some shopping bags.

Representing Gujarat are the cloth puppet, handloom and jewellery stalls, which stock German silver ear rings, anklets and traditional jewels. The remaining stalls are from across the country, including the States of Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir (as far away as you can get from Gujarat).

The couple manning the puppet stall and their infant add a touch of nativity to the whole exhibition. They pull the strings of the well-endowed puppets with gay abandon, little realising the effect they have on visitors.


After the pleasant time you spend there, it is time to move on to the stall from Kerala that stocks knives, sickles and other deadly stuff. Jokes apart, this is the kind of knife you'll treasure all your life. Their exteriors are nothing much to write about, but the glistening steel blades will have vegetables quaking in fear.

Colourful cloth files with a dash of typical Gujarat embroidery also beckon. Artisans from Pondicherry have brought in aromatic candles with pressed flowers, penholders made of hand-made paper, fragrant potpourris and agarbathis. A new addition is wooden carvings from Virudhunagar, which have been lent an antiquated look and shell work. Transparent hairclips with shells inside are sure to find buyers among the college crowd.

The rest of the fare is pretty regular - bed sheets from Rajasthan, Tanjore paintings, Kashmir handlooms and carvings from Mysore.

Organised by the Gujarat Emporium Handicrafts, the exhibition is on from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. till February 13.

SUBHA J RAO

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