METAL MET­TLE

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In this ma­chine age, where man is a slave to tech­nol­ogy, any­thing that comes with a hand­made tag draws at­ten­tion. In glass and chrome set­tings, imag­i­na­tive and cul­tur­ally at­tached metal items sit cheek by jowl to com­ple­ment drab cor­ners. Mum­bai- based art and craft store Shaas­tra sells prod­ucts that are cre­ated us­ing age- old tech­nol­ogy, and raw ma­te­ri­als such as brass, mar­ble and fi­bre. Lo­cated in the heart of Ban­dra, the shop is a store­house of taste­ful pieces from states like Orissa, West Ben­gal and Mad­hya Pradesh. Gauri Rao, its founder, says, “Orig­i­nal In­dian art has its own beauty and over a pe­riod of time, it gets more ap­pre­ci­ated and be­comes a price­less col­lec­tion. Eth­nic knick­knacks when placed in con­tem­po­rary set­tings have a charm of their own.” Priced be­tween 250 and 50,000, some rarely seen hand­crafted fig­ures of Gane­sha, Bud­dha, Nataraja and Radha Kr­ishna, be­sides an­i­mals and birds in bright, gold- like brass find space in the store. Other goods in­clude tra­di­tional dhokra and bas­tar craft which find ex­pres­sion in mea­sur­ing bowls, mu­si­cian fig­urines and farmer cou­ples. Be­sides these, vin­tage clocks, an­tique locks, sa­cred bells and paint­ings are also on dis­play.

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