Colourful fare

GIMME RED: Mehendi artists at work.  

IF YOU are one of those who feel the drive to Shilparamam to shop for e handicrafts a cumbersome affair, a crafts exhibition comes closer to you. The ongoing crafts mela at MPM Mall, Abids, an endeavour to promote artisans, brings to connoisseurs of the twin cities a mixed bag of products - bamboo baskets for the table, contemporary coffee mugs, metal figurines, cushion covers and more from Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and other States. "The idea is to have a value addition to the mall, giving more benefits to the existing customers. It is a humble effort to recreate a crafts village like Shilparamam for a shopping ambience," says Girish Malpani of MPM Mall.

The thatched roofed mud huts with traditional rangoli motifs adorning the walls of the ethnic stalls have people flocking in for their pick. The jewellery section has much to offer chunky chokers and earring sets (Rs. 60 - Rs. 90), wooden bead bracelets for Rs.10 and more of fashion jewellery. The alphabet beads are in. Pick up some to get a personalised bracelet made for you. For ethnic trinkets, check out kundan jewellery sets (Rs. 400) and pearl strings (Rs. 200-Rs. 400) available at the fair.

Hand-made velvet purses with motifs in zari and bead work (Rs. 225) and batwas - the string purses from Agra, wall panels - silver zari motifs embroidered on a black velvet background (Rs. 1500) and vibrant needlework using yellow, orange and red silk thread on a black background (Rs.4, 550) and cushion covers (Rs.350) ideal for formal occasions figure in the exhibition.

CRAFTS GALORE: The fair brings offerings from around the country.

CRAFTS GALORE: The fair brings offerings from around the country.  

In fact the exposition also presents varied options in cushion covers. Choose from the traditional banjara patchwork and hand embroidery cushion covers (Rs.80), thoranams (Rs.200) and wall hangings (Rs.300) for the home. Petite purses for small change, multipurpose bags in bright hues such as green, red and blue are other buys in the banjara collection.

As for tableware, the bamboo work trays (Rs. 50 - Rs. 60) and fruit bowl (Rs.40), China clay crockery from Uttar Pradesh featuring tea sets (Rs.500) and coffee mugs (Rs. 60 - Rs.200 for six pieces), German silver jugs, tea sets and coffee sets (Rs. 1,200 - Rs. 1,500), wrought iron candle stand (Rs.50), flower vase (Rs.250), brass coasters, candle stands and powder boxes with meena work from Moradabad are some of the things available. Takea look at animal figurines from Moradabad (Rs. 750-Rs. 900) and wrought iron and brass statuettes from Bastar (Rs. 350) as well.

TRADITIONAL WARE: The ambience presents a vibrant look.

TRADITIONAL WARE: The ambience presents a vibrant look.  

One can also get one's name and names of the family etched on rice grains by artists Ghanshyam and Sandeep from New Delhi. "You can choose from 20-30 various models of key chains to hold the engraved rice grain," say the duo.

And for a pair of beautiful hands, get mehendi done for Rs. 30 choosing from black, colour, glitter and other options in 15 styles - Arabic, Marwadi, Rajasthani, Gujarati, bandhini patterns and more. Else, get a chic henna tattoo on the arm. You can also purchase Rajasthani mehendi, henna and body tattoo besides design books .

To add to the shopping fiesta, puppet show, lambadi dance and more cultural presentations are lined up for the evenings towards the weekend. "Owing to the overwhelming response we have got, we will most probably make the crafts mela a regular gesture," says Girish. The mela is open (between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.) till April 13.