Micro-gold Venkatesh comes from a humble background. His father is a painter, and mother Rajeswari is a home maker. The craftsman had pursued his schooling only till seventh grade from the Puliyakulam Anthoniyar School, Coimbatore. He could not study and began to work in a Nagai pattarai (Gold-smithy). The youngster learnt work little by little. After he gained some exposure, he quit the job and began working independently from R. S. Puram. Venkatesh has a wire drawing machine, and the apparatus is required for melting gold. He outsources the jobs connected with polishing and faceting. Venkatesh is not from the traditional jewelry manufacturing community but has excelled in his work as a craftsperson.
“I live with my parents, wife Meghala, daughter Pragati, along with my brother's family at Vellalore. We are happy to live together as a joint family. We own the house that we live in. I normally give my residential address to my clients as it builds confidence and security in the buyers of gold because it is an expensive material. Building trust and confidence is extremely important,” spoke Venkatesh convincingly.
He continued while showing some of the items made by him, “My teammate Ramesh works by my side. Our day begins at 10 am and we go on until 10 pm. I stay back in the smithy during the weekdays. This is done to safeguard the gold in the premises. It is too risky to take the stuff to Vellalore. My wife brings me food every morning. Home food includes breakfast and lunch. We buy our dinner from some place, and so life goes on. I am happy with my work and busy all the time.”
Venkatesh manufactures bracelets, chains and other items based on orders. His clients are mostly wholesale jewelers. Coimbatore is a big jewelry center and there are about 100,000 people in this vertical. Venkatesh is a committed manufacturer and has pioneered in the manufacture of tiny items made of gold. This has made him very popular.
The humble craftsman was happy to talk about his micro-work, “I did not study well. Therefore, I decided to make a mark with my skills and create something different. My colleague Ganesan encouraged me. I came to know that a 2-gram item was put in a book of records. This prompted me to make a cycle in 180 milligrams. The wheels and the handlebar will move in the piece made by me. I made a pair of Gandhi spectacles weighing 40 milligrams, which is functional. The temple car made by me weighs just 300 milligrams. Its wheels can move. I made all this by hand. A person would require a magnifying glass to see the items made by me. However, I made them without using a magnifying lens. My interest in my chosen field became my driving force."
People had written about the master craftsman, and he was even conferred with numerous awards. Venkatesh was happy to share the details. The pieces made by him were part of his personal collection and were not for sale. He had a glint in his eye while showing them. The items included a gun and couple of trophies. His latest was the FIFA world cup and it just weighed 40 milligrams. Documentaries and news items have recorded his achievements.
Venkatesh has gone places now and his achievements have made him busy. He is hoping to add more to his collection. Venkatesh may establish a miniatures museum with items made of gold. It will be the first of its kind in our country. The devotee of Vekkaliamman is sure to achieve more. His wife Meghala had done her BCA and makes artificial jewelry from home.
Coimbatorean S. A. Balasubramaniam is known for identifying unique and talented people like Venkatesh and he was happy to share his input, "I came across a simple and a humble person. It is a unique trait because excellence is ensconced in humility. One will surely feel happy and content after meeting Venkatesh. I pray for his tribe to grow. He is sure to etch his name in the hall of gold during the times to come.”
Micro-gold Venkatesh is an asset to Coimbatore - The City of Gold.
Mr. Rajesh Govindarajulu is one of the founding members of the Verandah Club Pvt. Ltd. He is a leading columnist, historian, jeweler, entrepreneur, and a heritage enthusiast who is earnestly working to revive the past in the light of the present. Experiential learning about the history of Coimbatore is his main course of interest and he is also a panel member of many colleges in the city.
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