It’s 9 after sundown. Traffic has thinned comparatively; this otherwise busy Mahim lane seems to be at peace. Except for the rhythmic chipping in Imran’s roadside shop of hand carved wooden goods. The smell of varnish and raw wood is hypnotic. I’m drawn in. Imran lets me flip through their catalogue of mandirs, bookshelves, mirrors and more. His eyes light up each time he speaks of every masterpiece sitting on display. Some are chipped from teak; some of rosewood. Rosewood ones are expensive, he says. The portfolio I’m looking at is awe-inspiring.
Every picture speaks volumes about the endless hours of dedication, persistence, focus and dexterity of its creator. Of countless efforts, strained eyes, sweat running down the brows and bruised palms, that must have gone into the intricate carving of even a single lace of few centimeters, every pillar, motif, ladder, that adorn and complete a piece. These articles, when sold in fancy shops cost more than twice what the likes of Imran sell in their roadside shops lit by just a hanging light- bulb, a half-torn sofa to sit and breeze of the road for cooling…
Mandir unfinished
Mandir finished

Artist in action
The machine
Orders ready for dispatch