Magic with matchsticks

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Sticks and shapes Dinesh Kumar with some of his models
Sticks and shapes Dinesh Kumar with some of his models

Dinesh Kumar makes replicas of monuments with matchsticks

What did it take to make the Titanic? If you are talking about Dinesh Kumar’s Titanic, it took 25,000 matchsticks, SH Fevicol (used in carpentry) and, of course, lots of patience.

When in college, Dinesh read about someone who made warships from matchsticks. He gave the strange craft a try — a railway coach was his first experimental piece.

Once he got the hang of it, Dinesh started making replicas of monuments.

Today, among his notable matchstick models (not set to scale) are the Charminar, the Gateway of India, a famous church in Italy and the Ayyapan temple in Sabarimala.

The Ayyapan temple, with over 17,000 matchsticks and dimensions of 24 inch x 26 inch x 12 inch, was in the making for six months. “I put in three to four hours daily on the model,” says Dinesh, who was an accountant in a private company, but had to change his profession six years ago, when he met with an accident. The loss of short term memory was the other blow. Today, his memory is totally intact and he is his own master. As someone running a catering business now, 40-year-old Dinesh has enough time to pursue his hobby. He does not have to seek permission to visit Sivakasi to acquire matchsticks (without the chemical added to them) or to visit Pamba, which he did, to get books that have detailed pictures of the Ayyapan temple.

While most of his matchstick models have been made by studying photographs, Dinesh also draws from first-hand experiences of places and objects.

Examples are the replicas of a Devi temple in his village in Patanamthitta District and a typical houseboat from the Kerala backwaters.

Dinesh is proud of his craftsmanship because it enables him to connect with the world of his childhood in a way others can’t.





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