Old habits die hard. For some, habits stay for a lifetime. For Sujan Kumar Doddi, a former chef who worked in various cruise liners in Europe and the Middle East, the art of fruit carving is something that he has inherited. The art, he learnt seven years ago before getting recruited as a chef on cruise ships, helped him to carve out some really good masterpieces on watermelons during the lockdown.
From the portraits of cricketers like Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, and Virat Kohli to political leaders like Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, KT Rama Rao, and K Kavitha, Sujan carves out images of people with ease. “As there is no business during the lockdown, we are left with no work. The idea of fruit-carving came to my mind. We had this in the Hotel Management curriculum to learn fruit carving if one wants to become a professional chef. Although I had never done this all my years as a chef, the classroom lessons were still fresh in my mind. So, I have tried it initially with watermelon and started sharing it on social media. And the response was massive,” says Sujan.
The artist says that slightest of error may damage the effort on the fruit as several intricacies are involved in bringing a proper shape to it. “Currently, I am making the image of comic icon Mr Bean and AP Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy,” he added.
Sujan’s artwork is winning hearts of the tweeple and Instagram users, of late. To his surprise, he even got a pat from former cricketer Yuvraj Singh when the latter sent out a selfie video appreciating his work a month ago on his Instagram account. In the Instagram video, Yuvraj appreciated Sujan for his great work on his birthday(s) — helping poor people, etc. “Very proud to have a fan like you. Hope you continue to do such work. Looking forward to meeting you one day,” the cricketer said in the video.
A former chef and body-building enthusiast, Sujan is also involved in charity after getting inspired by cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s YouWeCan foundation to fight cancer in the country. In memory of his mother Bharathi, who died of lung cancer, Sujan has been distributing school uniforms and stationery to needy children every year in Nizamabad district.
“As it is lockdown time, we now have another purpose to help the needy in whatever way possible. And art comes secondary, only if I find the time,” he smiles. Besides being involved in charity work, Sujan heads the consultancy firm UV Consultancy in his hometown for a living. The employment agency recruits workforce overseas in various crafts.