Kohima: At 9 years old, Nuve Tetseo, a resident of Seikhazou in Kohima, is mastering the art of making straw baskets. A craft that took three days for the young boy to learn in November last year, has not only refined over the months, but also empowered him to earn from his wonderful creations.

“I like making baskets,” the nine-year-old tells EastMojo.

Nuve was eight when he discovered his interest in making baskets. His father Vezoto Tetseo recalls how Nuve and his sisters would watch their maternal aunt make baskets with a lot of interest. Being a fast learner, Nuve quickly picked up on making baskets with help from his aunt.

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“Even though he knows just one technique, his constant practice helped him master the style within two months. Now he makes very good-quality baskets,” his father says.

Nuve has already made about 50 baskets in varied shapes and sizes. While the large-sized baskets sold for Rs 1,500, and the medium-sized ones got him Rs 1,000 each. Depending on the orders received, Nuve also makes regular-sized baskets that cost Rs 500-600. His father says people have been very supportive to the child.

Nuve’s eight-year-old sister also lends a helping hand by making floral designs with the straws to attach them to the baskets. His father says the children’s savings made from selling these baskets will be used to pay their school fees.

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As schools remain closed and students have switched back to online learning, he says the kids also want to purchase a good computer from their savings.

An entrepreneur himself, Nuve’s father is supportive of his son’s interest in basket making. He and his wife, a nurse at the Primary Health Centre in Phek district, buy straws for Nuve to weave on whenever he asks. Nuve made eight baskets over the past month since Nagaland went into lockdown under the second wave of COVID-19.

Nuve has already made about 50 baskets in varied shapes and sizes

“We respect the work he loves. But we are both concerned about his health, so we encourage him to spend no more than two hours a day weaving. We also try to make sure that this does not distract him from studying and doing other activities at home,” Vezoto told EastMojo.

The middle one among three siblings, Nuve spends his time attending online lessons, reading books, fetching water, and playing with his sisters when he is not making baskets. A student of Class V at the Baptist High School in Kohima, Nuve wishes to be a police officer when he grows up.

Nuve’s cousin Shothilu, a PhD scholar from Nagaland University, had first shared pictures of Nuve’s work and talent on Twitter, which was then shared widely and attracted a lot of appreciation from the locals.

“I was surprised that he [Nuve] was doing this at such a young age. As an adult, I am inspired by it myself,” she tells EastMojo.

Adviser to the chief minister, Abu Metha, had also shared Nuve’s story, saying: “Well done Nuve Tetseo. Though you are just 9 years old, you have succeeded in inspiring so many people. Your team work with your little sister deserves compliments from all of us. Keep it up.”

Nuve’s hand-woven baskets are now reaching places outside of Kohima district, with people from other districts also placing orders. 

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