Monday, 13 December 2010

The Santa Lady


This is a story I did four years earlier.
Visit Kamala Dutta's house if you want to meet Santa Claus. He is there in all shapes and sizes. Lovely photographs too. Will upload in some time.

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Where does the Santa Claus stay?
North Pole? Not really. More than 1,200 Santa Claus’s of varied shapes and sizes jostle for space in Kamal Dutta’s house. Santas made from tooth pick, sand, rangoli, wool, wax, ceramic plates, bottles, keys, pots, mugs, tiles, egg shell, coconut, pencils…whew. You name it and she has it!
Every Santa, Dutta has bought or made, is proudly displayed in her showcase’s, while others are neatly packed away into cartons and boxes. Pulling them out for inspection and putting them away is such a difficult task that 76-year-old Dutta just showed us a ‘glimpse’ of her collection.
Ask her how many Santas she has in her collection and Dutta says, “I stopped counting after I reached the total of 1,200. It’s not a numbers game for me.”
A librarian by profession, Dutta made her first Santa Claus some 10-12 years earlier. “My daughter, Bohagee, was eight-years-old, when she insisted that I make a Santa for her. That was the first one I made, then the second followed and then the third…” Dutta says.
“Earlier, I was reluctant to buy expensive raw material. Then I started saving money I got from giving tuitions. I did not want to be a burden on anyone while nurturing my hobby,” she says.
Making Santa Claus’s gives her creative satisfaction and Dutta does not believe in selling them. She has also held only one exhibition so far.
Despite her old age, Dutta continues to be mesmerised with Santa Claus. “Every November-December I go into a trance. I don’t like to go anywhere. I am busy making Santas. Even if I am travelling, I am armed with my knitting and stitching paraphernalia. I manage to make about 100 Santas in a year,” she says.
With her daughter now grown-up, Dutta lavishes all her love on Santa Claus. “They are my kids,” she says, posing for the photographs.

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