Chandrashekhar Patil, toy curator

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As in 2022

Tushar Tere, June 26, 2021: The Times of India

Chandrashekhar Patil’s collection, 2022
From: Tushar Tere, June 26, 2021: The Times of India

VADODARA: He had no option but to stay confined within the four walls of his home when pandemic struck the city once again in March, but Chandrashekhar Patil saw an opportunity to develop himself in the forced ‘self lockdown’, rather than give into lethargy.

Amid the flurry of modern-day plastic toys, Patil decided to revive the magic of ancient eco-friendly toys and the toymaker picked up waste wooden pieces which he joined, carved and painted with fresh life. “It’s been a while that I had been mulling to make wooden toys that were once a regular in every household. When Covid cases began peaking in March, we all decided to be at home. It was then that I decided to make toys from the used wood pieces. This way, I could hone my toy-making skills and also make good use of the free time,” the city-based art curator said.

Patil began making toys of all shapes and sizes. “Most of the wooden toys used to be of animals and birds. So, I made similar toys of animals like giraffe, rats, cows, buffaloes and rabbit. Apart from that, my collection also includes cars and other vehicles like bullock carts complete with wheels,” he added.

The 46-year-old toymaker has made about 350 such wooden toys and painted them all within two months.

Patil has a collection of about 9,500 toys dating from Harappan civilization to Gupta period, Mughals and then the Maratha regime. “I had studied the science and technology of the toys of every era and learnt how they changed over the centuries. It came in handy while making these wooden toys,” Patil told TOI.

“The ancient toys were not just for fun but they also gave basic lessons of mechanism to kids. Like toys with wheels or a rope that, when pulled, made an animal’s tail or neck bob. The toys with jigsaw puzzles honed the thinking skills of kids,” he said.

“My aim was to make eco-friendly toys that don’t harm the kids as well as the environment. I plan to exhibit these toys in the coming months and would encourage parents to go for eco-friendly toys for their kids,” he added.

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