Mangalore: Pradeep and Indira - Creating wonders out of 'Kalpavriksha'

Florine Roche
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore

Mangalore, May 5: 'Kalpavriksha' as the coconut tree is known in India, is well-known for its multi-purpose uses and benefits. Every part of the tree is useful in one way or the other and there is nothing that can be discarded. This all abundant tree has slowly charmed its way into the creative sphere of humans and has fuelled the vivid imaginations of artists leading to the creation of mindboggling arts, craft, decorative items and household articles known as coconut craft. While it is common to find people using coconut tree and its products especially carved and decorated shells for commercial purposes, there are a few for whom making artifacts from discarded materials of the coconut tree or its fruit is a hobby and a great stress-buster. 

Pradeep Soori and his wife Indira J, is one such couple who have found great joy in creating a variety of products from discarded coconut tree materials as a leisure pursuit and not with a commercial intent. In other words their craft can termed as a hobby that converts waste into wealth. 

Pradeep Soori, a bank employee working in the Shedigudda branch of Canara Bank and his wife Dr Indira J, Associate Professor, Department of Physics at the University College, Mangalore, share the passion of coconut craft. They are amazed by the opportunities provided by the coconut tree to give vent to their creative impulses. They discovered the joy of creating artifacts about six years ago and since then have discovered the incredible things that can be made from different parts of the tree and its fruits and flowers. “For creating coconut arts and crafts deformed fruits, shells or spadix are better suited. So if we find a coconut which is difficult to peel due to disease infested or even a barren coconut (with no pulp inside) we can come out with eye-catching objects that can behold human attention, Soori avers. 

Zero Investment Hobby 

Indira adds that this is a wonderful hobby that comes with zero investment. We need to have coconut materials which are available in plenty. “Mostly we make use of discarded materials like the outer cover of the coconut fruit, the part of the branch that holds the fruits, the leaves or the shell or even fruits that has no pulp inside and is barren. We get ideas depending on the shape of the object we choose”, Indira points out. 

“The basic requirement is loads of interest and a creative streak of mind to keep on experimenting. Indira and I have found great joy not only in experimenting but also in sharpening our creativity in the process. If the end product shapes up to our expectations there is no boundary to our happiness”, Soori points out. 

In the last six years the couple has created myriad articles of showcase piece value of various shapes and sizes such as dolls, insects, snakes, birds, fish, animals, umbrellas, wrist watches, table clocks, various household articles, jewellery and even figures of humans and gods and goddesses, or items required for day-to-day poojas such as bell, diya, agarbatti stand or flower vase. If artifacts made of coconut shells are common and are commercially available, this couple has come out with creative and unique products using almost all parts of the coconut tree. There is nothing they have not used as far as the coconut tree is concerned. Even the tender fruits which fall off soon after flowering were used for balancing the doll that demonstrates gravity. 

Creative Spur 

Pradeep Soori, who is also an amateur magician, came across some artifacts made of coconut tree materials during a magic show by one G K Bhat in Udupi a few years ago. Once bitten by the creative prospects of coconut craft he began to experiment at home by creating some stunning masks and crafts. Indira, who saw an opportunity in the waste created by Pradeep, began to experiment by creating jewellery by utilizing what was a throw-away thing. The couple has accumulated an amazing array of showpieces of delicate and magnificent beauty. “We keep experimenting and come out with mind-boggling products. We have created Gandhi statue, Ganapathi statue, watches, umbrellas and other traditional items”, Indira points out. The couple has also created a balancing doll that works on the principle of gravity by using only coconut items. 

Eulogizing about this zero-investment hobby that can help cool a stressed mind and body, Indira says all that one need to have is a hacksaw blade and a file to smoothen the rough edges apart from different materials of the coconut tree which are available in abundance. “Using paint should be optional because when paint is used natural beauty will be lost. Whether to leave it natural or embellish it with carvings or use paint depends on the kind of products one creates”. 

Both Indira and Pradeep say that they have participated in many exhibitions in order to inspire children and youngsters and also to create awareness. Their creations have won them admiration from friends and neighbours and some even requested to create some crafts for them. 

But the couple politely declined saying they will teach them how to do it rather than gifting it to them. The couple says that coconut craft can be a good pastime and hobby for children to lure them away from television and computer games and provide an opportunity to bring out their creativity and hidden talent. They are willing to teach the children if there is a collective demand. “More than the children the parents are interested because they want their children to get into some harmless hobbies during holidays or their free time. Coconut craft is a very creative hobby that can augment creativity in children”. 

An advantage of coconut craft is that it is durable, is not easily breakable, it cannot get spoilt by coming into contact with salt or water. Being eco-friendly it can replace some of the plastic items we use regularly in our households. 

Now that the holidays are approaching coconut craft is something that children can indulge in rather than wasting their time lollygagging. They can always seek the guidance of Pradeep Soori and his wife Indira J who wish to see children and youngsters to get into hobbies that are ingenious and refreshing. 

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Comment on this article

  • thomas, india

    Sat, May 10 2014

    In fact this creative couple should conduct lessons on "creative art "in some college too and extend activities into Bamboo...Irvol palm.
    convert this hobby..passion into cottage industry...
    add more products ex: back scratch which i use brought from Thailand...
    Even shape/polish the coconut shell for serving ice creams...
    Bamboo : has wide applications main could be to make Toys for children ,in fact should visit Japanes e-taiwan.vietnam..thailand..vietnam and phillippine will find amzing house hold products and artefacts..very creative ..should introduce this in Mangalore and spread this culture as cottage industry with min hand tools.great scope.
    good luck

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Melita, Mangalore

    Thu, May 08 2014

    This couple is very creative and industrious. Both are totally in love with nature, be it birds, animals or plants. They have a kitchen garden which has made them self sufficient in their requirements round the year.Mr Soori is a fine photographer too, proved himself by winning prizes many times. Good luck and wish success to both of you in your tuning with nature.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Mon, May 05 2014

    That is too nice of you Florine... My quest was exactly that. Very kind of Mr. & Mrs. Soory too to have agreed to give their contact publicly.

    I will greatly benefit from this.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajkumar, Hosabettu

    Mon, May 05 2014

    I was fortunate enough to have a glance of their great work when I visited their house two months back. Indeed a God gift. What appears as 'nothing' appears to them as a piece of art. Their creative thinking had reflected in everything in their house, including a well maintained kitchen garden. Hats off to them. May the Almighty shower the best on them.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sundari Ashoknagar, Mangalore

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Eeth poora malthdera. Imagination creates wonders. Tippi, tarai,mini tarai,bondule,madal poora onjonji art athind. Aklena address korle daijimam yaan ora toope.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • florine roche, Mangalore

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Those interested can contact Pradeep on mobile number 94488 71231.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alva, mangalore

    Mon, May 05 2014

    What an innovative craft...!!!
    We appreciate and wish you all the best.Keep it up...!!!

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • tomcat, Mangalore

    Mon, May 05 2014

    When you grow old, you can't see pictures only dream of Once upon a time ......

    DisAgree [2] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Tom Cat, Mangalore

    Mon, May 05 2014

    When you grow old, you don't see much, as much as you imagine by looking at the coconut shells as roving eyes or some else.Early bird gets the worms (pictures) rest don't get. Great handicraft specially the cat on the table looking up at the old man dreaming.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Where are the pictures?

    DisAgree [2] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Now they have come!Around 5.P.M. The pictures I mean!Wonder what the earlier commentators, including a Stray Cat had seen! Cats in any case don't see much and purr most of the time.Right?

    DisAgree [5] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Purrr... eh ? How right is Tomcat ! I did locate the worms quite soon, very much when the article came up !

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Achhu, Mlore

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Waaw, creative Mind.
    stupendo fantabulously fantastic

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vasant Raj, Mangalore / Abudhabi

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Very very creative, we can also try..

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Could not control my amazement as I strolled down the pictures. This could be just as much as the camera could grab. Wonder how much more is there in your store !

    It's wonderful to know that we still have people around us who have not given up their spare time to TV serials or for going shopping to escape from house work.

    It will be happy news if they succeed in conducting camps for the young and teaching them the art of utilizing free for creativity such as you have done.

    My best wishes are with you, I will be keen to know how you progress. Believe me, if I succeed in my quest, I will be a frequent visitor to your collection.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

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