the month gone by was not much different from what i had expected at the time of my previous post, with other things taking precedence over the blog. i think this is how things are going to be for the rest of the year, with so much stuff having my mind preoccupied. just doing what is absolutely necessary seems to be a big deal by itself.
today, however, i quickly grabbed my camera on a sudden whim. i happened to be catching up with some school friends after many years over whatsapp, and i was telling one of them that her family's native town was the same one in which my parents & aunts had spent their childhood - karaikudi, in tamilnadu, south india. (one of my aunts still lives there, while my dad moved out after he graduated and got a job.)
karaikudi is best known for the community of 'nagarathars' or 'nattukottai chettiars' who have made the region their home for centuries. traditionally traders and businessmen, their huge family homes and the antique treasures brought back from their travels that fill them, are sure to keep any vintage enthusiast happy for a lifetime. their unique customs and traditions, weddings, jewellery, food, hand-made tiles, architecture in their sprawling homes & temples, are all extremely fascinating.
in recent times, the smaller nuclear families moving all over the world have resulted in many of the huge homes left empty for most of the year, and many of the heirlooms are sold away in antique shops. from palm leaf baskets to wood, glass, enamel, tin, brass, and lacquer - the variety of materials and the amount of stuff made out of them are simply mind boggling - some made closer to home by master craftsmen, others collected and brought home by the menfolk who travelled the world. chettinad antiques are a league of their own.
so - to cut short what could be an endless preamble, and come to today's picture - it is a small glass jar which i picked up in one of the antique stores in karaikudi some years back, during a visit. i generally dont pick up very huge pieces since we move a lot. (a lot, as in every year.) so this was just one of those perfect little knick-knacks which i could take wherever i wanted to. its an orange-amber coloured glass jar, just about 3 inches wide and almost similar in height. right now i use it hold some petroleum jelly on my nightstand (which i scoop out from the bigger container it came in) .
one of the most unique characteristics about chettinad antiques is that they would have the family initials engraved on it - whether its their most expensive item of silverware or the smallest item in daily use. so you can see the initials, in tamil script on this one too - (it says "mu. mu. thu")
if you are in the mood for a visual treat, click on the image search result for "chettinad antiques" and prepared to be spell bound :)