By Express Features
18th August 2012 11:26 AM
There are people who curiously glance at the many bows and arrows neatly arranged for display and some others are so eager to take them in hand and give it a try. The scene is from one of the stalls at Manjalikulam ground where the annual SARAS Mela is on. The man who made all those old-style weapons, Rathanlal from Rajasthan, tries his best to explain things in Hindi and itsy-bitsy English. At some other times, he makes a gesture to show how it works. He, along with his wife Dhawri has come all the way from Rajasthan for the expo. They were present at the previous edition of the mela too.
“We are part of a group which makes bows and arrows in Rajasthan. We usually make them for competitions,” says Rathanlal. The biggest of the bows exhibited here is almost as tall as five feet. He has fixed a price of Rs 1500 for it, along with three arrows that are sharp and pointed.
As it is difficult to separate the parts of the big bow, he has kept the simulations of its miniature on display. He explains in detail that the bow is an assemblage of bamboo, wood and steel, and can be dismantled into three pieces if need be.
Rathanlal proves that he is not only talented in craftsmanship but has the prowess to perform archery too. The moment we asked him to demonstrate his skill, he happily took the biggest among the bows and shot the pointed arrow right on the target.
There are reasons to cheer even if you do not know the basics of archery. Rathanlal also has in store a set of beautiful bows and arrows in vibrant colours that one could use as perfect home décor.
The bows made of bamboo are embellished with bird feather, which he says, are collected from the jungle. Preserved as a token of the past, he also has a traditional bow, which he claims , was used by the ‘adivasis’ for self-protection.
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