The craft of Impossible Bottle

Sandeep Singh

At times, new pieces of art catch fascination of people quickly, but at times it takes a pretty long time for people to shower appreciation.
It needs a discerning, critical eye to appreciate a new creation. This is what has happened with Kewal Krishan’s impossible bottle.
‘Impossible Bottle’ is a type of mechanical puzzle and contains an object that doesn`t pass through the bottle`s mouth. For example, is Ship inside the glass bottle. Impossible bottles are quite literally the unbelievable result of dedicated, focussed, and great deal of lateral thinking. There is no fakery involved in making Impossible Bottles. Everything that is in the bottle, has passed through the neck.
Kewal has put all manner of objects into the bottle, almost all bigger than the neck of the bottle .The bottles were always undamaged and everything went in through the neck of the bottle. No special tools were used by Kewal for making these impossible bottles, rather he makes his own tools as per the object which he wants to be placed inside the bottle. Sometimes, an object was created inside the bottle by assembling the smaller parts but usually smaller objects were slipped inside the glass bottle through it‘s neck and made to expand inside.
“Kewal`s famous creation inside the glass bottle includes bed , cricket bat and ball , Taj Mahal , cricket world cup , bulb , insignia of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao etc. Every new assignment is a challenge in itself and he has to push his own limits as far as difficulty level goes up, says Kewal. He further said that lack of encouragement and financial aid from any quarter were main hassles in pursuing this art as he has to support his wife and five children , two sons and three daughters. One of his sons is 100% handicap and is bed ridden whereas his daughters are pursuing with their graduation and the younger son is a student of class 12th.
Kewal Krishan is not able to make his both ends meet in village Khokhayal of tehsils Nagri Parole ,District Kathua; but he may well be the craft‘s last sentinel. Kewal belongs to the family of farmers and none of his family members neither learned this art nor they are ready to adopt this art form as his sons prefer to study and work in their own farms for a living. He started practicing this art form in the year 2003 and is the only known artist of Jammu and Kashmir who places objects of different shapes and sizes inside the glass bottle.
In the year 2004 Kewal Krishan went to Mumbai for exhibiting his art but there also he received cold response and nobody show any interest in his form of art. After much disappointment, he laments that time has played a cruel joke with him. He started making impossible bottles in 2003 but till date no body has awarded him. Kathua District Administration has conferred upon him one appreciation certificate and an artisans identity card. Due to non cooperation and lack of support Kewal has failed to pass onthis art to posterity.
“When you buy a product from an exhibition , not only do you get a unique hand crafted product, you actively participate in preserving Indian arts and crafts and in sustaining the livelihoods of the craft persons”, said Kewal Krishan.
One more impossible feat achieved by Kewal is, scribbling “India” on Rice grain and the only encouragement he got in recent time is , inclusion of his name in BPL category. He told that though he attained the age of seventy years but the craft of impossible bottles is completely ingrained in his mind and he will willingly teach this craft to anyone who is ready to learn this skill. He further added that, if the Government desires he is ready to accept the role of an instructor, provided some support is lent to him.