Antony Sami’s hobby saw him through the most difficult phase of his life. Vipasha Sinha in a chat with the miniature modeller
As a child, T. Antony Sami took great pleasure in Christmas decorations: he would use old boxes and waste found at home to make the Christmas Crib, spending hours perfecting it. He did not realise then that his hobby would help him get through the most difficult phase of his life.
“I lost all the fingers on my left hand in an accident at a printing press where I worked in 1987,” says 47-year-old Antony.
That was just the beginning of a difficult period. “I started a business in Burma Bazaar, but incurred heavy losses. Through all the trying times, I lost a lot, but one thing remained constant — my art,” says Antony.
Whenever he had some time to spare, he would sit with a cardboard and make miniature houses and other models. “In fact, I had totally given up on art, until the day when my daughter came to me and told me about a project in her school. She had to make a model of a house. I assured her that I would build it for her and two days later, I had a colourful miniature ready. Looking at my creation, I felt satisfied and realised what I had missed all this while. Making models out of cardboard paper made me forget everything else,” says Antony, who is a watchman at an ATM on Montieth Road. Egmore.
Soon, Antony started getting noticed. “I did more projects for my two daughters, and their friends and classmates started approaching me with requests. Though initially I made the models free of cost, I started charging when the demand increased,” he says.
Antony scrupulously pays attention to little details. For instance, the miniature ships have tinted glass and the parapet of the model houses have colourful detailing. “I want to make my models perfect and want kids to feel happy when they see my work. People were willing to pay more than what I asked, but I could not accept the extra money. Every person is passionate about something which makes them forget the the travails of their workaday life. One should never lose sight of that something,” says Antony, a resident of Vyasarpadi.