The story of Bhopal’s Anup Dey, 60, is that of a man determined to pursue his passions, surmounting all odds coming his way. He is an athlete who wished to represent India in sports but couldn’t do it when young.
So he took to his other passion — idol making, made money out of it, and now represents India in international athletics events for masters (veterans).
Dey’s Durga idols are popular not only in Bhopal but across the state during the Navratri festival.
From popular Durga Puja venues like TT Nagar, Vijay Market and Mata Madir in Bhopal to distant places like Guna, idols made by him have been installed at over 300 locations this season.
“I purchase Durga idol for our pandal in Nehru Nagar from Anupji only. Over the years, I have seen his idols growing more and more popular with orders pouring in from all over the state now,” said Rajesh Tripathi, who had come to Dey’s workshop in Habibganj for requisition of idol for Nehru Nagar pandal.
As Dey started spinning money with his art of idol-making some years ago, he hopped on to his unfulfilled dream of representing India in athletics championships. He had given up on athletics temporarily for want of funds.
But, now he has employed a personal coach Manu Sarkar, who trains him at BHEL sports ground every day. And, his efforts are bearing fruit.
Till now, Dey claims to have participated in seven national-level athletics events and four international events and is looking forward to participate in the upcoming National Masters’ Athletics Championship.
Dey participates in 200m, 400m and 800m races in various athletics events. He has also participated in various marathons. Till now, he has visited Malaysia, China, Brazil and Japan to participate in various international athletics events.
“Making Durga idols attracted me since childhood. A very popular idol maker Jaidev Pal used to live in our neighborhood. I learnt this art from him only. He used to get orders of Durga idols from various parts of the state during Navratri,” he said.
Dey started the idol making business with the help of two-three workers but now his team includes more than 30 workers and most of them come from Kolkata.