The pavement opposite Kalamandira has a new lure. For those who are familiar with this area know that the vendors on this footpath have been here almost forever, exhibiting a wide range of matkas (clay pots), ceramic pots and statues of Indian Gods and Goddesses for sale.
On any given day, it’s quite common to see people alighting from their vehicles and haggling with these vendors to get a good price on their goods. The purchased goods are usually colourful pots and gardening knick-knacks.
But in the last three months, there has been a new commodity that has been capturing the interest of pedestrians, motorists and other road users. The new addition is that of a stunning stuffed goat and deer-lookalikes.
Now before dismissing this story on account of boring you with stories of stuffed toys, take a look at the pictures. These stuffed items look like real animals grazing happily on a footpath.
From a distance, these stuffed artefacts look like the real creatures with their piercing eyes and shiny skin. It is no wonder that they have been selling like hot cakes. The head-vendor, Krishna, who sells these stuffed animals, is a feisty seventeen-year-old entrepreneur.
He visited Andhra Pradesh three months ago and saw how customers were lapping up these stuffed animals.
The quick sale of these stuffed animals there prompted him to purchase these artefacts in wholesale market and get them to Mysuru for sale. “Most of my customers are from Madikeri. People from Mysuru are apprehensive that the goat skin might give off an unpleasant odour given that the outer layer of these items is real goat skins,” he says.
The teenager who has a quiet confidence in him further says that these stuffed goats are priced slightly on the higher side because the manufacturing process is an exhaustive and lengthy one. “The goat skin is washed thoroughly, dried out and treated with medicine so that it is safe for children and there is no foul smell. It is only after this thorough cleaning process that the goat skin is stitched-in as an outer layer for the artefact. In spite of being slightly expensive, customers are buying these stuffed animals because of their good quality. In fact, they don’t like cheap imitations of animals. These look like real creatures themselves,” Krishna added.
Customers who were buying these stuffed goats are a mix of children and adults and when asked about the adults’ interest in these creatures, he says, “Well, these stuffed products are not only children’s toys, but they can also be used to adorn and embellish gardens, porticos and bungalows.”
Among the other things on sale at this footpath are sturdy clay pots from Andhra Pradesh, stunning Pingani (ceramic) flower pots from Gujarat and porcelain statues of popular Indian Gods and Goddesses.
Krishna and his team are now into sale of Diwali specials like decorative diyas (lamps) and puja thalis (decorative trays).
The self-assured teenager and entrepreneur, when asked why he wasn’t at school, quickly retorted, “Who is going to look after my aging parents if I am at school, the financial situation at home is tough and if I don’t work, who is going to support my parents?”
This correspondent couldn’t answer the young lad’s question and had to walk away quietly. Here is a hard-working teenager, who will give you a fair price on his consumer goods. That is if you can manage a negotiation discussion with him. So, brush up your haggling skills and get to the footpath opposite Kalamandira. There are some goods worth your time at his makeshift stall.