His little big GODS

SMALL WONDERS: Models of cars, bikes and now mainly Ganesha idols in millimeter size is what makes his repertoire unique.

SMALL WONDERS: Models of cars, bikes and now mainly Ganesha idols in millimeter size is what makes his repertoire unique.  

HIS GOD dwells in small things. In millimetre and nanometre. Dr. Kamalendra Singh, presently teaching Biotechnology at Rai University, Kochi, etches Ganesha on micro pencil tips, besides making the idol on alum, foil, chalk, glass and other materials but mostly less than- a- millimetre- high. Small is his world. Big are his ideas.

Small is beautiful

Says this 28-year-old young teacher about his obsession with the minutiae, "Small is beautiful. In small you can make the big."

What began as a rare hobby, of using waste materials to work his imagination on, soon saw his favourite car Beetle crafted in chocolate aluminium foil. He then put a small electric motor and vroom, it wound its way around! From then on it was cars and bike models. The Mercedes Benz, Harley Davidson, a single seat aircraft, all found micro expressions on various materials. Using, " my mothers nail varnish, I painted the cars and bikes," tells Singh as he moved from one micro engineering feat to another.

"Publicity or the desire for it is not what inspired me to engage in this. Being in the Limca Book of Records will be publicity for the soft drinks company. I am not really interested. In it, a 2.5 cm high Ganesha is listed as the smallest. What I make is ten times smaller."

Dr. Kamalendra Singh

Dr. Kamalendra Singh  

The tools Singh uses to etch and carve are the humble sewing needle and the common blade. " I stand near a bright light and hold the micro tip. I cannot use a lens to magnify the work area. If I do so, I can make smaller Ganeshas. In a microscope the image is inverted. So, it is made under the naked eye. I have to concentrate for long. Maybe I don't blink for minutes together."

What began as a scientific fidgetiness in the laboratory has seen expression of Lilliputian cars, bikes and book models. Three to four books less than- a- centimetre high, with Tulasi Das shlokas, in waterproof ink made by melting wax over it, and such kinds go on to make his quaint collection.

Ganesha says...

But it was a sudden spiritual experience that changed Singh's focus on to, only Ganeshas. "I am much of a philosophical guy," says Singh about himself and about the latest Ganesha made out of capillary tube, on which he could not use forceps, "as it was too delicate. So, I used my fingers to mould the heated glass." Ashta Vinayka on chalk, Ganesha on turmeric, a sandal wood mandapam with Ganesha sitting inside, a Harley Davidson with a Ganesha sticker on the windshield and, " all my Ganeshas have a crown, a belly, the trunk, four hands in the wire idols, two hands in the micro tip models, one in Abhaya mudra and the other holding a ladoo. The rat is there in some models," form his godly repertoire.

And quiz Singh about his quirky passion he replies, " It is as you say in Sanskrit, `swath sukhya', for self satisfaction. I tell my students to use any low cost material to make a high end product. Use any living thing, plant or animal for human use. That is Biotechnology."

For a man of science, Singh has encapsulated his imagination between callipers and gauges, and measured a sentiment in them. As he proudly holds the delicate, little Gods in his palm, switching off the fan, explaining," The breeze may blow them away," he has seen "the world in a grain of sand" and felt the hold of, "infinity in the palm of your hand."

Photo by Mahesh Harilal

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