You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
This is a story of a 16 year old boy, named Prasant Subhuti from a small village, Raghurajpur in Orissa. Like a normal teenager he loves cricket and bike. His favorite cricketer is Virendra Sehwag. When asked, “I have a Passion (name of the bike) and I love to ride it around the village”. We can see what his love has done to him on his left foot, all bandaged and plastered, which he broke in a bike accident.
Passing through the small lanes, electric wires and a railway track, we reached the village, it was more like a trade fair, a small circle in the middle and round it are the houses. We were told that its a heritage village and is famous for Patta-chitra, the art of making pictures of leaves. In all the house, crafts were kept for display in the front room and the visitor just check it out. When we looked into the detail of the arts, most of them are based on Indian mythologies and especially on Lord Krishna.
And here we meet our hero Prasant; he welcomes us with a big smile. We requested him to tell us about himself, the village and the art. Gradually he started to show all the crafts which has been made by his family. Most of the materials are brought from the local market but the leaves and bamboos are taken from the forest around. The price starts from Rs.10 and can go up to Rs.30,000, according to its detail and minute work. To make one, it takes around 2-3 months, if it is in minute detail. Prasant even drew one for us, a Ganesha and told us that a person earns around Rs.3000 in a month. Their peak season for the business is around Oct –Dec. Not just in Orissa but they are exported outside and also in exhibition like Delhi Haat, in Delhi every year.
When asked about himself, he told us that he wants to finish his studies and concentrate on Patta-chitra, so that he can do something for his five sisters, a brother and his old parents and for the art.
As we say adieu to him, I learnt a lesson that though it was just a leaf from a tree, if you have the desire to, you can make a life out it.
(Published in IIMC Lab Journal, 2009-10)