Through his eyes – 15

= * = * Visitors * = * =

Each one of them created joy and excitement of different kinds, especially among children who used to circle them when they remained busy in their work.

The most important of them were the cobblers who used to visit throughout the year. Every one of them carried a special tool made of cast iron; it looked like the three adjacent arms of a solid object, meeting each other at right angle. Each open arm had a shape where the inside of a shoe small, medium or large could fit in. To draw the attention of people they used to make a sound “silauchi” and people used to call them by the same name. Almost all of them were from the neighboring state of Bihar.

Utensil sellers used to visit at a regular interval of about once in a month.  Utensils were made of brass and they looked absolutely stunning in sunlight. There used to be two types of trades, exchange and new purchase. People used to prefer buying from some vendor they knew rather than from some stranger.  Utensils like plates, tumblers, bowls, bells with handles which were used during prayer, ladles &C. were kept in a basket which was carried by a porter on his head and the vendor used to walk in front holding a brass plate and a solid piece of wood about four inches long, striking the plate with the wood and creating a pleasant ‘dong’ metallic sound and once in while throwing the brass plate in the sky, few feet above and striking it while catching, creating a pleasant sound which started with a high pitch and gradually faded away.

There was another variety of utensils called enamel which were made of cast iron coated with some special kind of glass which could withstand heat during cooking. Enamel utensils were much cheaper and were more commonly used by poorer people. Enamel utensils were available in different colors but the most popular ones were white inside and blue outside. The company, Bengal Enamel, which used to manufacture those utensils, was closed few years later due to labor unrest of the state.

[To be continued]


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