Miniature musings

Miniature musings

There is something about miniatures that is spectacular, ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ will tell you that. Suffice to say, scaled-down versions of objects and people had captured the attention of writers of yore.

The grandeur, perhaps, lies in the dimensions. A good miniature model takes a pair of skilled hands. But what makes N Lakshmikanth’s models singularly different is that they are created from trash.

As it turns out, discarded empty injection vials don’t end up in the bin but find a pride of place in this paediatrician’s home. Lakshmikanth traces the birth of such an interest to his past.

“My mother had made a mantap from discarded penicillin injection vials that she had collected. It was a lovely piece and she had given it to me. Years later, when I started practising, I wanted to dispose off used injection vials. It was then that I remembered my mother’s gift and decided to make something similar to that,” he says.

The doctor admits that he was always interested in creative arts. Which is also why he decided to work on small empty injection vials discarded after vaccinating children. “The discarded ones are first cleaned, then I start working on them,” he says.

The mystery of these marvels makes one look down at them in respect. His creations include replicas of the Taj Mahal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a chariot and a mantapam to mention a few.

Much attention is paid to detail so that they remain close to the original. But, as they say, Rome was not built in a day. He spents hours, days and even months on these models to perfect them. “As a doctor, I lead a busy life. I work on these models whenever I get time. It  took me 15 days to make the mantap. The longest time was taken to construct the Taj Mahal — six months,” he informs.

There is a surgical precision to his work. “Taj Mahal,” he says, “was the most difficult one to make. I had a bought a model of Taj in marble from Agra. Based on that, I did my calculations, doubling it three or four times, to make the miniature.”

“The symmetry is absolutely important. The base is made on a cardboard and then I begin working on it. For the dome, I bought some scrap from a shop in Shivajinagar. For the finishing touch, I used glass, beads, bangles and some decoration materials for the pillars. It is also important to use a strong adhesive,” he informs.

The mathematics apart, the creations have to be rated highly when it comes to finesse. “The chariot that I have is the one I made for my mother. I had gifted it to her five years back. She passed away two years back,” he says.

These edifices in imagination and technique need much room. “Space constraints made me give away a lot of my collections to my friends,” he says. He has now plans to build the Charminar. “This is not an expensive hobby. But a lot of time is required. I usually start working after 10 pm, which is when I am relatively free. I don’t watch much TV but enjoy pursuing an active hobby,” says Lakshmikanth, who is also a veena exponent.

Well, these towering models are no less a lesson in architecture. The best things do come in petite packages!

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