Pradeep Pattanayak

Many of us have one or two hobbies. While some love to dance, some others like to paint, and yet some others have a liking for gardening. 

But a few take up ‘chalk carving’ as a hobby, because besides creativity, it also requires a pair of skilled hands.

K Vijay Kumar Reddy, a third year electrical engineering student of Parala Maharaja Engineering College (PMEC) in Berhampur, is the odd one.

His passion for miniature chalk carvings has won him laurels and made him stand out in the crowd. He has etched his name in the prestigious India Book of Records and has also been bestowed with the ‘Grandmaster’ title by the Asia Book of Records. 

It’s been said ‘Seeing is Believing’, and one can’t believe how Vijay’s chalk carvings are unique unless one sees those by own eyes. He has craved miniature replicas, starting from the Puri Jagannath Temple to Late General Bipin Rawat who along with 13 others, including his wife, was killed in a chopper crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu recently. 

As the nation is celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Vijay sculpted 20 famous monuments of India including Taj Mahal, Char Minar and Statue of Unity as a fitting salute to the colossal national event. Each of his works is carved out of a single piece of ‘fragile’ writing chalk. 

After completing the range of edifices, Vijay had applied for a place in the India Book of Records and the Asia Book of Records. 
“I recently received the confirmation mail from the India Book of Records, stating that I have been selected and conferred upon ‘Maximum Monuments In Individual Chalk Carvings’ title,” claimed Vijay adding that the Asia Book of Records has conferred ‘Grandmaster’ title upon him. 

Asked how the passion for such a difficult pastime grew in him, Vijay said, “My creativity was noticed in my childhood days. By the time I was in Class 8, I had already started drawing and creating images on paper. My skill was honed when I joined the Parala Maharaja Engineering College.”

Mincing no words, he said it was Sagar Kumar Murmu, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, who inspired him to give a whirl at chalk craving. “Thereafter, I focused my entire creativity on chalk carvings. My first creation was a Ganesh idol,” Vijay said.

Thereafter, he went on creating the miniatures of India and Pakistan Cricket Team captains during the T20 World Cup and also a replica of the T20 World Cup Trophy measuring 1 cm. 
“The 20 monuments I have sculpted out of chalks are of minimum 0.5mm to a maximum 3 cm high. To be precise, the miniature replica of Puri Jagannath Temple measures just one centimetre. Similarly, the heights of Taj Mahal and Statue of Unity are of one centimetre and three centimetre, respectively,” Vijay boasted. 

The artist said he paid his homage to departed General Bipin Rawat by carving a miniature image of the great Army man. He has a wish to donate the chalk sculpture to the Chief of Army Air Defense College. 
Vijay’s father K Krishna Reddy said his son’s creativity blossomed when he was just five years old. “The Sub-Collector had tasked him with a miniature theme on elections. He later felicitated him for the work. I feel proud for him,” said Krishna.

His teachers and friends are all of high praise for Vijay’s achievements. Assistant Professor Sagar Kumar Murmu said the College has a hub where the students spend leisure time by working on their hobby. “I spotted Vijay’s talent there and encouraged him to take up chalk carving. He is a proud of Ganjam district,” Murmu said. 

Similarly, one of Vijay’s friends, Suman Sourav Nayak, said Vijay has become an inspiration to many students. “Following Vijay’s suit we are also trying our hands at chalk carving these days. He has inspired us all,” Suman said matter-of-factly.