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A man who keeps alive century-old art of spirography

A man who keeps alive   century-old art of spirography

NEW DELHI: In the age of the internet, web designing and many design software, Shyam Mehta, a 65-year old spirographer, sits at a pavement of Connaught Place. It is an ancient designing art which has become rare due to the modern age technologies but Mehta runs his family with the help of this art form by earning money.

"I learned this art from my father and then practised it for years," said Mehta. He sits every day at the G-Block pavement of the Connaught Place opposite to the Palika Parking area. The man has a bag full of drawing materials, paper and little warm clothes. "Life has changed now as people do not buy such materials anymore. But what should I do? I only know this art and I am an artist," the man said with a smile.

Mehta used to go to the Melas around Delhi and north India but then with his age the trouble of travelling increased hence, he settled to the Delhi pavements. "The business at the melas were good but now I can't do that anymore. My children have grown up and married too. I am a much free man now," said Mehta.

People who walk along the pavements sometimes stop at him and check his works. Children come and talk to him at times. With a smile on his face, the old man shows the children how to make the designs with the spirograph. Art does not come without the knowledge and whenever people wonder what spirography is, this 65-year-old man asks them to check the Google. "You can draw whatever you want in computer and mobile but these arts have a long history. People loved such arts I have fed my full family with the earning by this work," he said. Mehta wants to keep his art alive within the people and he believes like him there would be many people who love this art and will work to keep it alive. "New things are good and I accept new things but I can't kill my art for anything new," he said.

Spirograph is a geometric drawing toy that produces mathematical roulette curves of the variety technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids.

It was developed by British engineer Denys Fisher and first sold in 1965. The name has been a registered trademark of Hasbro Inc. since 1998 following purchase of the company that had acquired the Denys Fisher company. The Spirograph brand was relaunched worldwide with original product configurations in 2013 by Kahootz Toys.

Sayantan Ghosh

Sayantan Ghosh

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