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Winter’s first fair

Head to New Town Mela Ground where Saras Mela is in full swing
Visitors make their way into the fair
Visitors make their way into the fair
Basudeb Behera

Brinda Sarkar   |   Salt Lake   |   Published 01.01.21, 02:44 AM

Your prayers have been answered and fairs are back despite the looming threat of Covid. Saras Mela is on at New Town fairgrounds till January 3, from noon to 7.30pm.

The fair sells all from clothes to carpets, pithes to perfume. An attractive selfie zone and games corner have come up too, although only women and children are eligible for the games. Get your names enrolled at around 1pm daily and have a go at hit-the-wicket, basket-the-ball etc. All children are getting consolation prizes but the first and second woman winner is getting gift vouchers of Rs 1,000 and 500 respectively, to be redeemed at the fair itself.


Here’s a glimpse of what’s on offer at the ground:

1. Patachitra flower vase

Where: On the ground opposite Stall K-12

What: Khuku Rani Chitrakar has taken aluminium vessels and transformed them into art. “Customers would complain of terracotta vases being too fragile so this is the way out,” she said.

Price: Rs 1,300

2. Wooden clocks

Where: Stall 199

What: A wall clock shaped like a wrist-watch, a wooden piggy bank, shaped like a gas  cylinder.... Amina Dewan of the Sundarbans has brought innovative items. “Twenty five of the clocks have already got sold,” she said.

Price: Rs 1,400 for the clock, Rs 450 for the gas cylinder.

3. Dalle khursani chillies

Where: Stall 16

What: These little round chillies look more like candies but Ramila Rai of Kalimpong warns: “One of these chillies is equivalent to 10 of the long ones you get in Calcutta. Many are buying them but we are asking them to be careful eating them.”

Price: Rs 150 for a 150g bottle

4. Cloth jewellery

Where: Stall 153

What: Saheli Putatunda Mukherjee has brought uncommon jewellery, be it earrings made of cloth, pendants made of coconut shells or square-shaped fibre bracelets wrapped in cloth and embellished with shells and pompoms.

Price: Rs 100 for the bangles

5. Jute dragon

Where: On the ground opposite stall K 95

What: A hissing, coiled up dragon has been created out of jute. “Most of the body is made of jute ropes while the scales are from sharpened, raw jute,” says Shefali Naskar.

Price: Rs 5,000

6. Wooden figurines

Where: Opposite C 75

What: Kamala Baishya has carved out an imposing blue mask out of a taal trunk and a Shiva face out of bamboo root. “When I saw the uprooted bamboo root growing wild it reminded me of Shiva’s matted hair. I decided to bring the idea to life,” says the artisan from South Dinajpur.

Price: Rs 7,000 for the blue mask and Rs 3,500 for the Shiva face.

7. Terracotta lanterns

Where: Stall 146

What: Papiya Ganguly has given terracotta lanterns and lampshades a wooden finish and painted them in bright, cheerful colours. “They are all fitted with bulbs and will light up too,” she says.

Price: Rs 300 to 400

8. Wooden neckties

Where: Stall 110

What: Suchitra Neto has brought ties that can be worn as well as hung on the wall as showpieces. “My uncle wore these ties for 40 years,” said the lady who is creating them out of bamboo, mahogany and sonajhuri wood. The ties are a set of several small panels which curve to give it effect. They can be fastned behind one’s collar with velcro.

Price: Rs 1,200

9. Patcachitra mask

Where: Opposite stall 83

What: The fair has its share of masks in kalamkari, kantha and warli designs, depending on the store you visit. Madhumita Chitrakar is selling masks with patachitra designs on them.

Price: Rs 70

10. Handmade paper diaries

Where: Stall 42

What: Kamal Sharma has come from Rajasthan with handmade paper and diaries. “We have them in various sizes as well shapes such as hearts. We have top quality art paper and even leather finish paper,” she says.

Price: Rs 100

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