A Class IX student has been making Durga and Kali idols for his neighbourhood pujas for the past seven years.
Subrata Majhi, 14, a resident of Suren Sarkar Road in Beleghata and a student of a north Kolkata school, saves his pocket money for the whole year to buy jewellery and raw material for the idols, he said on Tuesday.
Subrata’s father works as a private car driver. The family has ensured the teenager can make idols despite their shoe-string budget.
“I do not do it for any profit. I simply love to make Goddess idols,” said Subrata.
The teenager who picked up the art of making hay-clay idols when he was seven, was first inspired by a clay idol-maker whose workshop he had visited in Chingrihata, near his grand-mother’s home.
“I saw an idol-maker making idols of Goddesses and started spending hours in his workshop. Then, I started to make dolls at home,” he said.
Subrata started with cotton-stuffed cloth dolls and graduated to making full hay-clay structures. He made a 4ft-tall Durga idol this year. He has made numerous visits to Kumartuli — the seat of clay artisans that produces the largest number of clay idols in Bengal.
The Kali idol that Subrata Majhi made this year
Initially, his family, comprising his parents and two younger brothers, found it difficult to manage the extra expense for Subrata to make idols. But later, father Biswanath started saving to make his son’s wish come true. “This year, baba arranged for the Goddess’s jewellery,” said Subrata who, unlike his classmates, does not own a mobile phone.
His neighbourhood has a few considerably big Durga Puja pandals, but Subrata’s little pandal with his handmade Durga has become an attraction that many visit and offer prayers at.
One of his neighbour’s said they spend most of their Puja at Subrata’s little pandal.
“These days children are busy only with mobile phones. We are lucky to have someone like Subrata who is so talented and has picked up this art from a tender age. We all enjoy the Puja days at his pandal,” homemaker Soma Singh said.
Subrata’s younger brother Sayan, 5, in Class II, is also learning the art of making idols from his brother.
“He is very young but a keen observer. Let’s see how he picks up the art,” Subrata said.