My tryst with the owl continues with an assurance that fortune is round the corner :). Sometime ago I saw them on a tree while I was traveling to Indore. Recently, I was walking around Kolkata when my gaze fell on a small kiosk which was selling tribal art from Nutangram, Burdwan located in the eastern state of West Bengal. The talented villagers carve owls from blocks of locally available wood and paint them using bright colors. The owl is associated with the Goddess of Wealth – Laxmi and having one around the house is a harbinger of material comfort. Traditionally found in village homes, wooden owls have now found their way into plush drawing rooms of city homes.
I quickly picked up a brightly painted one all for Rs 40 (70 cents in USD terms and 40pence in UK Pound terms). The price hardly justifies the effort of the artisan. Often faced with the choice between chic machine made ones and the not so perfectly crafted hand made ones, I always prefer the latter. Apart from encouraging the artisan, I also get to bring home a little bit of hard work, patience, love and concentration that they infuse in their creation. They are also adept at making idols of Lord Krishna holding the flute or the single stringed country instrument which is made from coconut shell. This instrument is a perfect accompaniment for the folk music of the region or baul sangeet.