Elephants are the majestic and gentle giants of the animal kingdom. While turning the pages of history- you will find how these magnificent beasts were adorned with jewels and fine fabrics and Maharajas rode on them. For years, men were in charge of the craft. But not anymore! This woman from Thrissur is crafting beautiful caparisons and shattering stereotypes around women through her work.
Well acquainted with the craft, this homemaker from the city of festivals, provides free training for children. For her, it is not a source to earn money but a craftwork that consists of a divine element. When she indulges in this craft, Rajani strictly follows vegetarian vow and charges a lesser amount than the market price.
In an interview with Matrubhumi, Rajani Sujith says, “The raw materials for making caparisons are brought from Puthanpalli in Thrissur. The golden colored decorative pieces bought from other places have a red shade on them. But the items from Thrissur have original golden color.”
A native of Vanjippura in Kaipamangalam of Thrissur, Rajani has been residing in Kodiyeri post marriage and is popular among locals because of the intricate and elegant caparisons she makes. After shifting to Kodiyeri with her husband Sujith Kumar, 13 years ago, she met with Prajisha Basanth of Thalassery JCI and learned caparison making from her.
A student of Vayalam Central UP School, Rajani’s son, Raja who is now in class 7, also assists his mother in her work and on his last birthday he made a caparison without any external help and gifted it to his school and makes himself useful in numerous caparison making related works.
Rajani makes caparisons of different sizes all by herself at her home. From miniature ones to the gigantic ones sized up to 4.5 feet- one can use them to decorate their homes, decorating hotels and malls, vehicles as well as gift it to someone in their house warming ceremonies. The price of these items are fixed according to their size and a 4.5 feet caparison is charged with Rs 15,000.
Items such as spheres, crescents, eyeballs, hangings, colorful threads etc are used in the making of caparison. At first, a golden-colored fabric is laid on the top of a canvas that is placed above a red colored velvet and the decorative items are glued on top of the fabric.
Known for her culinary talents as well in the area, she joined ‘Nakshatra’ Kudumbashree unit in Mulayilnada and started participating in fairs with the caparisons and because of her intricate and beautiful work, Ramani, a micro-entrepreneur of Kudumbashree District Mission also supported her.
A powerhouse of talent, Rajani is also an expert in doll and ornament making. Further, she is also an active member in Kannur’s ‘Jackfruit Lovers Forum’ that makes value-added products from jackfruit.