Thursday, October 26, 2006
I was returning from Bangalore on 16th Monday night.My flight was delayed by an hour.I landed at 11 pm and when I was on D'silva Road,Dadar,on my way home,I was amazed to see hundreds of brightly lit lanterns hanging from so many shops.
I learnt that a kandeel(lanterns) mahotsav was on at Dadar where kandeels were being sold in a price range of Rs 20- Rs 600.To suit all pockets,say those cheeky advertisements. The kandeel mahotsav offers a variety of lanterns made of paper,handmade paper,cardboard,cloth,bamboo sticks,icecream sticks etc.It is a one hundred percent eco-friendly exhibition.It was about 11.30pm.I stopped my car and had a close look at the kandeels which were hanging.It was a brilliant sight in the darkness outside.These kandeels fluttering in the breeze made a beautiful picture.A pity that I didn't have my camera with me.I would have gone on clicking.
When I got some free time five days later,it looked as if all those thousands of kandeels had all been sold.I was very disappointed.There were a few shopkeepers left with about a dozen kandeels.With great difficulty I managed to take a few pictures.
Kandeel is a desi lantern.This Divali it seems to be the rage.The handcrafted cloth kandeels in bright colours.These are embellished with mirrorwork for which Gujerat and Rajasthan are famous.And embroidery.These are mainly manufactured in Maharashtra,Gujerat,Rajasthan and Orissa.Not only do they last long,after Divali they can be used as lampshades.The Gujerat and Rajasthan ones are more stylish to look at than the traditional Maharashtrian ones.I understand that the main idea of the exhibition was to reintroduce the traditional Maharashtrian type of 'aakash kandeel' that has bamboo as its basic framework with long paper strips attached to it.There are the folding and star shaped paper lanterns too.The papers are usually red,orange,yellow and blue.The lantern prices range from Rs 60-Rs 600.Besides Dadar,these are also available at Mahim,Parel,Lalbaug and Colaba Causeway.There are regular star and diamond shaped lanterns made out of plastic,gelatin paper and thermocole.Not eco friendly at all.Cartoon shaped lanterns priced at Rs 50 sold like hot cakes.
There were lanterns made from ice-cream sticks and costing about Rs 125. They were decorated with beads,colourful laces,cloth,gold paper wrapped plastic bells and hexagonal,pentagonal or octagonal balls.There is the 'lamandiva' whicch comes with electric bulbs.The smallest lantern is called car lantern.It is priced at rs 150 and there is big demand for these kandeels from corporate houses.The frame is made out of wooden matchsticks and has handmade paper.The lantern stand is also given alongwith the lantern.The largest size of the lantern is about 6 feet and it is made using cardboard and coloured paper.This mahotsav saw celebrities from the tv and cine industries.A UK based Maharashtrian client was so impressed with the eco-friendly Aakaash Kandeels that he ordered 30 lanterns to be taken back to UK.
Aamod Shetye,the organiser of this Mahotsav has big ideas.He also plans a 'kandeel at doorstep' where people could select kandeels from catalogues and have them delivered at their doorstep.Surely,the cotton lanterns and paper lamps have lit up the market this Divali.And Mumbai is shining.