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Carving out creativity

When population explodes, you need more than one innovation to earn bread and better. But, when the artist in you is aroused, you only need those two hands to create masterpieces that take the world by awe, says MUBIN SULTAN


THE EARLIEST civilizations of Harappa and Mohenjadaro are influential testimonies that project Indians as artists with intellect. An exhibition of this blend of craftsmanship, and brilliance of thought is the ongoing Crafts Mela-2005 at Exhibition grounds. It is a one-stop shop for all the souvenirs and specialties indigenous to the famous States in the country.

It doesn't get easier than this to collect the laces of Gujarat, the beads of Rajasthan, the cottons of Haryana, the tough glass of New Delhi etc., in a couple of hours. The evening zephyrs run through the hair, almost drawing along with them the tension that rules a day of hectic work. A stroll around the exhibition may seem to be the healthiest way to start the rituals of relaxation, unless not tempted by the sight of mouth-watering and scrumptious snacks of Delhi Chat Bandar to compensate the calories the walk sheds.

Shopping spree


The Mela has what is most expected of it from a majority of its visitors that belong to the fairer sex. A variety of sarees from Uppada, Mangalagiri, Pochampally, Venkatagiri, Haryana, Chanderi, Lucknow, Benaras and many more spill the colours on the fabric into the ambience making it an ideal location for a shopping spree. "I am here shopping for my brother's marriage, there's no place where you can get such variety assembled at a place," says Sahiti, who bought the accessories of glittery bangles, matching Banjara handbags, and the ethnic Kashmiri jewellery. "The ethnic look is the in-thing in fashion today," says a visitor who is particularly impressed by the new entries of Kurtis in the stalls of Kolkata, Lucknow and Rajasthan, and the refreshing creations from jute and zari, this year.

Cacophony of Indian languages


It's an outlandish cacophony of different Indian languages that rules the air at the famous PWD grounds. People manning stalls from various States converse with the customers in the language, which they know. "It is strange, I never knew I can understand so many languages," says Nirmala, a housewife. The friendly people at the stalls enjoy talking to the visitors educating them about everything related to the crafts and the place they hail from. Jagdeesh, at the Gujarat Beads stall, finds it interesting to amuse the customers, telling them about people in his hometown. "People enjoy life in Rajkot and no shop is open for at least four hours in the day, the evening nap is more important than riches," he says. He however doesn't miss appreciating the skill of his workers, "sab kuch mazdooron ki dua se hi chalti hain," he confesses.

Attractive ceramics

While the ceramics laid in the middle of the ground attract huge crowds, the colored glass in a New Delhi-based stall is also attracting the attention of the masses. Coloured glass now doesn't only come from Belgium or Ohio, but also from Ferozabad, though that is original and these are recycled.

The Mela offers a variety of ways to beautify a house. The majestic carving of Lord Krishna, priced at Rs. 74,200 along with many other beautiful and intricately carved pieces of Ganapathy, Lord Venkateswara, etc., are not only impressive but also mesmerizing enough to call for the devotion of the visitors, making them pay obeisance at the first glance. Clay works which include beautiful bells and pots and the Etikoppaka birds of wood make the gardens appealing, natural and beautiful.


The furniture at the Saharanpur Wood Carving stall is imposing with teapoys, dinning tables, chairs etc., that transform the look of a simple flat into an antique one. Convenience is what makes the Mela popular. The stall with the banner "All Gods, any sizes," sells the pictures of Gods in photo frames embedded with precious and semi precious stones.

And the one next to it sells the paraphernalia required in a puja room from conches to rudrakshamalas and from incense sticks to camphor.


Health is also given a prime importance at the Mela-2005. Stalls such as the one of "Radheysham Churan wala," offer herbal and safe alternatives to common problems, such as pomegranate for acidity, pimpalvati for piles, imli pachak for digestion, jaljira for constipation etc.

The "Kerala Specialities," stall reminds the visitors that cooking also is an art in itself. The varieties of halwa and banana chips are successfully catering to the taste buds.

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