Siddhartha at work, modelling the Durga idol in the courtyard of his home in Tulsitala in Raiganj, on Wednesday. Picture by Nantu Dey
Raiganj, Oct. 2: Siddhartha Dey studies in Class VI but his deftness in modelling clay to make idols is adult-like.
In the courtyard of a house in the Tulsitala area of town, Siddhartha is engrossed with his miniature idols.
His enthusiasm to make the clay idols of Durga and her children compelled the Tulsitala Sarbojanin Durgotsav committee to promise him that his creation would be displayed at their pandal, alongside the much bigger idol that would be worshipped.
Siddhartha made his first attempt at idol-making when he studied in Class IV. He had made a Saraswati idol.
His idol was so beautiful, that it is worshipped at his home.
“I am fascinated by clay modelling artists who make the idols and from a very young age I used to go to the Kumartuli area and watch the craftsmen put together the bamboo frame on which they model the idols,” Siddhartha said.
“Two years ago, I made a Saraswati idol and then the next year I modelled a Durga and then a Kali idol. The dadas of our local club appreciated my work and that is why this year, I am making the idols — Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh. The local Durga Puja organisers have given their word that my work will be displayed in their pandal along with their larger idol,” Siddhartha said.
Siddhartha said that his father, Swarup Kumar Dey, an employee with a private insurance firm, helped him with the money.
“I started the work about a month ago as I hardly found time between school and private tuitions. I work hard during holidays and my younger brother, Saptarshi, is my helper,” the 11-year-old said.
Swarup said that his elder son used to play with clay and make small idols when he was even younger.
“We never stopped him from what he was doing. When he was in Class IV, he made a really impressive Saraswati idol. This year when he expressed his desire to model the idols, I encouraged him. I bought him everything — the clay from the Kumartuli craftsmen to the decorations that are needed to complete the job. I think about Rs 5,000 or so will be required. As long as his studies are not affected he can pursue his passion,” the father said.
Bidyut Das, the secretary of Tulsitala Sarbojanin, said he and the other members were impressed with the boy’s work.
“We were amazed to see the skill of the boy. We held a meeting and decided that his idols would be put on display in our pandal and arrangements are being made for that.”