Tuesday, 23 September 2008
AT A HANDICRAFTS FAIR
This is the picture of a pallankuzhi – a game that children, maybe even grown ups used to play about 50 or 60 years ago.
When my mother was writing a blogpost about toys of long ago, I had to surf the net to get a picture of one. And here, on a visit to one of the many handicrafts fairs that pop up every now and then in the neighbourhood, was one just asking to be photographed.
When I was discussing this with her, my sister told me she has one in her bungalow in the tea garden, that my brother had gifted it to her girls, and that Ma had taught them to play it – the only way to keep the games alive. In Madras, when the Mylapore Festival is held every year, there is a revival of interest in this game.
There were a couple of less grand ones, too, all huddled together with a lot of brass and copper vessels. I was told that they were all antiques from a Chettinadu collection. I took a good look at them and the exotic prices they were displaying – even after a 10 % discount, they ran into thousands. (The pallankuzhi was marked Rs. 1800, I forgot to ask if it included the shells.)
I realized that I had a fortune at home! And with that satisfaction, wandered off to look at other stuff.
This collection of fruits and vegetables looked good enough to eat.
And the symmetry of these mugs was eye-catching.
Glass bangles, arranged so beautifully..... my weakness ...
And these colourful pieces displayed so artistically made a great background, but the salesman was in no mood to show us any other pieces. Just like the girl who took no interest in pulling out the embroidered tops I wanted to see.
It was a kind of perverse (or inverse) working – what we did not want to buy, enthusiastic sales persons tried to force us to buy – what we did want, they weren’t willing to show us.