Kali idols bask in the sun outside Ramchandra Pal’s studio in Tharpakhna, Ranchi, on Sunday. (Hardeep Singh)
Rain, rain, go away
Come again another day…
Murtikars (artisans) in Ranchi have had compelling reasons to master the nursery rhyme and recite it all day long to empower their prayers for lasting sunshine.
A weather double whammy in the past week has brought idol-makers to their knees ahead of Kali Puja. They have appealed for at least two days of glorious rays of the sun, which will be absolutely necessary to give Kali pratimas the mandatory dry run before colour coat.
Ramchandra Pal, an artisan in Tharpakhna, was almost in tears when he saw the sun smile for a while on Sunday morning. “I prayed to Ma Kali throughout the night. Her blessings must have made the clouds vanish. I just need two sunny days to complete the idols and one more day to give them finishing touches,” he said.
Pal, better known as Ramuda among idol-makers, has a dozen pratimas lined up under the sun outside his studio. Ten more are in queue.
“The smaller idols, which are six-feet to eight-feet tall, will dry up by today if it does not get cloudy again. I am worried about the 14ft pratima I have made for Agradoot Club and also the one for Harmu that shows Ma Kali in her dasabhuja (10-handed) Shyama avatar,” the artisan said.
Murtikar Manoj Pal, whose workshop is near Jaipal Singh Stadium, said he did not take orders for big idols because of the weather, which has remained uncertain since Durga Puja, when a peripheral current of Cyclone Phailin tore through several parts of Jharkhand.
“I have only made six small idols each 5ft tall. If the sun does not ditch us today, I believe all of them will be ready for colouring,” he said.
If idol-makers are worried, so are festival organisers.
Balram Singh of the Kali Puja committee near the Rock Garden on Kanke Road said volunteers had been asked to finish as much work as possible on Sunday. “Owing to heavy rain, pandal work has been slo-mo throughout the week. We have been blessed with a sunny window today and want to make the most of it. God knows when it will start pouring again,” he said.
The thrill of pandal-hopping had been somewhat dampened by severe cyclonic storm Phailin during Durga Puja. This time too a low-pressure trough near coastal Andhra Pradesh is moving towards Chhattisgarh. “But, the coming weekend is expected to be sunny,” said G.S. Jojo, the in-charge of Ranchi weather office, offering a ray of hope.