Rainbow in Mountains

The Artologue journey reached mountains this time in the scenic land of Srinagar in Uttarakhand. Yes there is a Srinagar in Uttarakhand as well. We were invited by the Rainbow public school to work with their students.

The owners of the school were surprised about how we fund our endeavor and we explained that we love to get paid but we don’t fix any charges. You pay whatever you want to pay if you liked us and our work.

So having said that, this time we will take you on a visual journey of photographs rather than words. so here comes the Rainbow journey. Please do read the captions and if you want to invite us mail us on meejha@gmail.com

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Selected 52 pupils from the school who had interest in art. We asked what they wanted to become and half of the class raised hands to become either doctor or engineer. Then we explained about us and asked ” Tell us what is your dream profession, leave the parents desires and do not think of obstacles.” Surprisingly we got two Astronauts, one fashion designer, two singers, three cricketers, five army men, a forest officer,  one doctor and two engineers. Who says kids don’t dream.

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We asked each of them to draw a face and design it as they wish. The girl who wanted to be a doctor drew the most intricate pattern on the face she made.

IMG_2804We got a corridor to paint. Colors came out. The artist sat down with the teachers and the principal (in saree) to guide students on how to paint on the wall. They thought that workshop will end with the pencil-paper sketches but wall was the real fun, they realized later.

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We found this one quite intriguing. Two boys decided to work together while the rest  of then were working individually. In their drawing a pair of peacocks formed a face. This could stand for their friendship as well. The whole design was quite innovative. Kids can come up with anything. These two guys impressed us in the beginning.

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As usual girls were meticulous in their work. They drew the outlines with chalks and then used colors. later they removed the chalk lines with clothes. quite beautiful. Isn’t it?

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More faces came alive with time. Boys drew characters from video games but girls made faces with their imagination. They made beauties. Boys made beasts. Understandable.

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And Now the turn of teachers to fulfill their desire to paint. They worked on the sketches made by students to make them more beautiful.

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OH SO LOVELY……..Iam out of captions for this one.

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Second day – working with kinder garten kids..What do you think we are going to do with leaves and flowers………we will make colors out of it.

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WOOOO-HOO- look what we have made. Organic paintings……ha ha ha….all with organic colors.

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And now the time for some Kuccchhhhi-koooo…love….oh that’s kid language….Jey was mobbed by Nursery kids and he is loving it.

 

 

जे रंगों की बात है…

आर्टोलॉग की यात्रा के दौरान फेसबुक पर कई मित्र बने हैं जिनसे हम कभी नहीं मिले. फेसबुक के इनबॉक्स में बातें होती रहींं. वो पूछते रहे. हम बताते रहे अपने बारे में. ऐसा ही एक लड़का है विकास त्रिवेदी..वो कभी कभी कुछ पूछ लेता था और हमेशा कहता- आप लोग बहुत अच्छा काम कर रहे हैं. ये छोटी छोटी हौसला अफज़ाई बड़े काम की होती है. हम जब कश्मीर से लौटे तो इनबॉक्स में ये पड़ा था जो विकास ने लिख भेजा था..ये कहते हुए कि मेरा मन किया तो भेज दिया.. मैंने पढ़ा तो अच्छा लगा. आप सबसे शेयर कर रहा हूं विकास का ये लिखा हुआ.

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झा नहीं जे. जे रंगों की बात है….

रंग. मछली. सुशील-मीनाक्षी. रंग-बिरंगी मछली.

कुछ दीवारें…..दीवारों पर कुछ न समझ में आनेवाली पेंटिग्स, इन शॉर्ट मॉर्डन आर्ट, जिसकी समझ मुझे आज भी नहीं है. पर मुझे मछली और रंग समझ आते हैं तो इनकी डाली कुछ तस्वीरें समझ आ रही थीं.

Artolouge, मीनाक्षी और इस एक जैसी हाइट वाली कपल की तस्वीरें. अमूमन एफबी पर जो फोटू और पोस्ट मुझे सबसे ज्यादा अपने पास टिकाकर रखती हैं वो हैं प्रेमी जोड़े. और वो जोड़े जित्ते ज्यादा सावन देखे हुए होते हैं मेरी दिलचस्पी उन दोनों में उत्ती ही बढ़ती है.

किसी आर्ट गैलरी में एक-दूसरे को निहारते ये दो तोते मुझे लुभा गए. ज़्यादा घुसा तो आर्टोलॉग मिला…और घुसा तो रंग मिले..खूब सारे रंग..रंगों के साथ कुछ शब्द भी मिले…काले शब्द,जो कुछ कह रहे थे, ये शब्द और रंग एक दूसरे की बाहों में बाहें डाले अपने किस्से सुना रहे थे.

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प्यारे किस्से. मैंने यहां से आर्टोलॉग को पहचाना.

जेएनयू में ट्री (The Tree of life in JNU) बनाने वाले प्रोग्राम ने मुझे खींच लिया..लगा कि यार इन दोनों को किसी दिन मैग्सेसे अवॉर्ड मिलना चाहिए. कहा  भी था जे से.

इनबॉक्स-अलादीन का चिराग. जो पूछो..जो कहो.. जो गरियाओ..जो ढकेलो..जो मतलब…जो.

जे जवाब देंगे.

एक लंबी पोस्ट डाली समझ नहीं आई, प्रिंट लें या न लें. मैसेज चिपका दिया. इत्ती तेजी से किसी बाबा सीनियर ने आजतक रिप्लाई नहीं किया था. बाबा ने रिप्लाई  भी किया और हाल चाल लिया. अच्छा लगा था. पहली बात थी वो हमारी.

इसके बाद कई बार बात हुई थी. जे बाबा सीनियर श्रेणी के पहले ऐसे योद्धा थे जिनसे कुछ लिखकर कहने से मैं कभी डरा नहीं.

ए ट्रिप टू साउथ इंडिया विद हरी बुलैट एंड हिज़ फ्रेंड मीनाक्षी. मटरगश्ती कोई इस उम्र में आकर भी कर सकता है, ये हमने वाया फेसबुक जे की जर्नी में देखा. दावे से कह सकता हूं कि बहुतों की उस ट्रिप में जली होगी कि ये लोग इत्ते खुश कैसे हो सकते हैं,रह लेते हैं. हमई बात  अलग है हमें तो प्रेमी जोड़े ही सुकून पहुंचाते हैं.

रंग सिर्फ छुए नहीं जाते हैं देखकर चखे भी जाते हैं इन दोनों का प्यार और हरकतें (कलाबाजी) मुझ जैसे कई लोगों को रंग चखा रहे थे.

मुझे पेंटिंग बनाने में कोई दिलचस्पी नहीं है, पर देखने में है. चाहता हूं कि आर्टोलॉग फलता-फूलता रहे. चलता रहे. रंग की डिबिया बिखरती रहे. कुछ कोरा नहीं बचना चाहिए. कुछ भी नहीं क्योंकि रंग बेहद प्यारे लगते हैं मुझे.

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रंग जैसे रहना जे-मीनाक्षी. रंग जो जहां जाते हैं सबको अपने जैसा कर लेते हैं. खुशियों के रंगों को भी बिखेरते रहना. एक ख्वाहिश है. ख्वाहिश पढ़कर मुझे चाची-दादी-नानी ना समझ लेना. विकास ही समझना. ख्वाहिश है कि मैं वो दिन देखना चाहता हूं जब आप दोनों की बगिया में एक तीसरा जे आएगा.

मीनाक्षी जे. सुशील जे और क्यूटी पाई जे.

मैं इंतज़ार कर रहा हूं उस दिन का जब वो आएगा/ आएगी..और अपने नन्हे हाथों से मछलियों को बिगाड़ेगा, जब वो सुशील की दाढ़ी खींचेगा और मीनाक्षी उसकी फोटू खीचेंगी.

झोले में रंग की डिबिया बढ़ेंगी तो खुशियां भी बढ़ेंगी इसीलिए ये ख्वाहिश उपजी है. क्यूटी पाई जे के आने तक आप दोनों अपनी रंगों को डिबिया लिए भटकते रहो. तुम्हारा भटकना लोगों को रंग रहा है. उनके कोरेपन को दूर कर रहा है, खुशियां ला रहा है.

तो प्लीज़ आर्टोलॉग कैरी आन….रंग दो दुनिया. रंगना ऐसे कि जब अंतरिक्ष से नासा वाले देखें तो उन्हें सिर्फ रंग दिखे. सिर्फ रंग.

विद लव विकास.

Art from the Heart : Artologue in FEMINA

We never thought that the journey of Artologue will be covered by newspapers but it did. After The Hindu : Art for People’s Sake, It was the well known magazine FEMINA which did a five page photo essay on our Artologue journey.

These kind of coverage affirms our belief that Art is for all. Everyone can understand and they can be creative in their very own way. That was the motto of Artologue since beginning.

In last two years Artologue has traveled from the concept to execution. we traveled around Six thousand kilometers and made new friends. Though we never asked for money but some families paid us. The money helps us in financing the next journey so we feel good when get paid.

Ha Ha Ha….

Lets not bother you much with money talk. Here are the scanned coverage of the Femina magazine. If you want to read it in print then you have to buy Femina of 6 August.

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The kodak moment was in Pune after completing the Buddha with his Eight signs. As usual Mohanan Uncle said something which we couldn’t resist laughing out. Read the Pune blog here.

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This was the route we took in February 2014 to cover around 2200 km. Painted at six places and met eight families. Stayed with them and spread colors with them.


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GOA was a divine connection with Pari. Jey still wants to write a whole blog on Pari only. Since the trip we have met this family twice in last six months. Want to how we met?  then Click here to know.


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HOSUR was our biggest experiment on the level of scale. We had never painted with 200 kids but the outcome was inspirational. want to know more ……???   here is the blog from Hosur.

PG-5Before embarking on the journey we painted in JNU with kids of Construction laborers. The last picture is also from a family in Hosur (Femina got it wrong as Kundapur). The 80 year old grandmother was most excited to paint her favourite goat,  anandvalli. here is the Anandvalli experience from the pen of Sherly Ann George

कश्मीर तो खुद ही एक पेंटिंग है

artologue1अभी हम श्रीनगर पहुंचे नहीं थे. शहर के बाहर पहली रेड लाइट पर रुके थे. बगल में रुकी स्कूटी, मोटरसाइकिल वाले कभी हमें देखते…कभी हरी बुलेट को. बायीं तरफ स्कूटी पर बैठा आदमी मुस्कुरा रहा था. हम भी मुस्कुरा दिए. बत्ती हरी हुई और हम बढ़े.

स्कूटी पीछे पीछे आई…..कहां से आए हो दिल्ली से..हमने कहा हां….बुलेट पर ही. …हां..मस्त लाइफ है यार…

ऐसे ही घूमते हो…हां….मीनाक्षी पेंटिंग करती है और हम लोगों के घरों में रुकते हैं….अरे वाह तुम लोग तो बढ़िया आदमी हो..

बातें होते होते दसेक मिनट गुज़र गए. फिर स्कूटी वाले ने कहा- आप प्लीज़ मेरे साथ एक कॉफी पीजिए.

हमने हामी भरी क्योंकि शहर में आ चुके थे. पास के रेस्तरां में गए तो कॉफी के बदले उन्होंने लंच ऑर्डर कर दिया.

नाम नज़ीर मलिक…काम-कंस्ट्रक्शन का….हमने अपने बारे में बताया. बहुत खुश हुए बोले- मुझे आपके जैसे लोग बहुत पसंद हैं. एकदम बढ़िया लाइफ स्टाइल है. मेरा घर बन रहा है. वर्ना पेंटिंग भी करवाता. आपसे फिर मिलूंगा मैं.

खाते खाते बातें होने लगी तो बोले- मैं भी घूमना चाहता हूं लेकिन……वो रुक गए.

मैंने पूछा बोलिए क्या कहना चाहते हैं…..बोले- जब हम लोग बाहर जाते हैं और जैसे ही किसी को बताते हैं कि कश्मीर से हैं तो ……….उनको शक होता है कि हम लोग भी आतंकवादी न हों.

मैं चुप रहा……हामी भरी. मैं जानता था ये सच है. हम सभी लोगों के दिमाग में कश्मीर से आए किसी व्यक्ति की पहली छवि उग्रवादी की ही उभरती है.
वो जो राह चलते लोगों को बुलाकर लंच करवा देते हैं.. है न अजीब सी बात
………………………………….. ……………………………… ………………..

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हम जिनके यहां रुके थे उनसे हम चार साल पहले मिले थे. उनके पास गाड़ी है जो हमने किराए पर ली थी. ये 2010 की बात है. तब हमारी शादी हुई ही थी. हम हाउसबोट में रुके थे. तब भी वो हमें अपने घर ले गए थे और खूब खातिर की थी.

वो तब से कहते अब कभी भी श्रीनगर आओ तो हमारे यहां रुकना.

इस बार हम उनके यहां रुके. उनके बच्चे वसीम और इरम बड़े हो गए हैं…वसीम बारहवीं में है और इरम नवीं में.

दोनों को हनी सिंह के गाने पसंद हैं और वसीम बड़ा होकर सिंगर बनना चाहता है. वो गाता भी अच्छा है.

घाटी में भारतीय सीरियल्स खूब देखे जाते हैं. सास बहू वाले.

वसीम ने ही श्रीनगर घुमाया तीन चार दिन जब तक रहे.

वही खाया जो वो खाते…सुख दुख की बातें करते लेकिन जब पेंटिंग की बात आई तो उन्होंने मना कर दिया.
बोले- हमारा घर सफेद है और मुझे ऐसा ही अच्छा लगता है.

बच्चे शायद चाहते थे कि हम कुछ पेंट करें.

शायद…….कश्मीर में लोग आपको अपने मकानों में आने देते हैं .. घरों में नहीं…..वो आपको दिमाग में जगह देते हैं …दिलों में नहीं…ये रिश्ता कुछ कुछ वैसा ही है जैसा कश्मीर का भारत के साथ है……वो एक ही समय में भारत की आलोचना भी करते हैं लेकिन भारतीय टूरिस्टों के साथ उनके जैसा प्रेमपूर्ण बर्ताव शायद ही कहीं और किया जाता हो.
………………………………… ………………………………………… ………………………….

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कश्मीर में पेंटिंग के लिए परिवार मिलने में शुरु से ही दिक्कत हो रही थी. कई दोस्तों ने अपने कुछ और दोस्तों का नंबर दिया. उनसे बात भी हुई थी.

ये दिल्ली बंगलौर रहने वाले कश्मीरी थे. उन्होंने आगाह किया था कि कश्मीर में लोग उतने खुले नहीं हैं जितना आप समझ रहे हैं.

मुझे उम्मीद थी कि आशंकाओं के बावजूद पेंटिंग हो जाएगी. एक कश्मीरी ब्राह्ण का परिवार मिला भी जो द हिंदू में हमारे बारे में रिपोर्ट पढ़ चुका था.

वो निशात बाग के पास रहते हैं लेकिन जिस दिन हम श्रीनगर पहुंचे उसी दिन उनके दिल्ली के कारखाने में कोई दिक्कत आ गई.
उन्हें वापस आना पड़ा और हमारा काम रुक गया.

कुल मिलाकर पेंटिंग नहीं होनी थी कश्मीर में नहीं हुई…लेकिन ये भी अच्छा हुआ.

कश्मीर खुद ही एक पेंटिंग है जिसे हम मिस नहीं करना चाहते थे.

हमने सारी शामें डल झील पर बैठ कर बिताईं. शिकारे में घूमते रहे.परी महल, दाछीगाम, हरवन पार्क, शालीमार-निशात, हाउसबोट, उमर अब्दुल्ला का गोल्फ कोर्स …सब देख डाला.

हम खुश थे..पेंटिंग की आपाधापी में ये छूट जाता. कश्मीर में पेंटिंग नहीं हुई लेकिन कश्मीर नाम की पेंटिंग हम देख आए.

That Face on the wall smiles…

The first sketchh

The first sketchh

‘‘I wanted to marry the most beautiful women and I did marry the most beautiful one in the college.’’

Sudesh Gupta loves beauty and that was his only condition for marriage. It was 1978 when background of the family mattered the most in the matters of marriage. In those times marriages were said to be the beginning of relationship between two families than two individuals.

But for Sudesh only beauty mattered. Off course his wife is one of the most good looking women we came across in the area. She still radiates her happy smiles and watches Sudesh with a lovely gaze.

Sudesh Uncle and Sareshta aunty were our host in Udhampur, two really beautiful souls who help each other in all the domestic work and gelled with each other like friends. Sudesh Uncle is a lawyer who deals mostly in matrimonial cases and loves old songs.

He sings and oten whistles songs of Mukesh and Rafi. In past few years he has developed an interest in travelling.

We reached his home on 26th June and it was Uncle’s birthday. We thought the painting would be a gift to him. He knew about our painting project and he wanted to see meenakshi’s paintings.

He picked up a very fine painting from Meenakshi’s work and asked, ‘’Is it a women’s face?’’ It was indeed. He appreciated the painting for some time. He saw other paintings and then proposed a very different idea.

The work in progress

The work in progress

He wanted us to paint the story of ‘’Yudhishthira and his faithful dog’’ from Mahabharata.

The story is that when Yudhishthira reached heaven his faithful dog, who never left his side, accompanied him to heaven. But the Dhramaraja barred the dog from entering the heaven. Yudhishthira refuses to enter without his dog. Then Dharamaraj revealed that it was Dharmaraja himself in the form of dog and he was testing Yudhishthira’s dharma toward his faithful dog.

The idea was amazing and Meenakshi started working on it. She made some sketches which we liked. Sudesh Uncle also liked them but just before the painting was to start on the wall, he changed his mind.

I think he went with his intuition. He wanted the face of the women on his wall from the face series. The love for the beauty again revealed.

Meenakshi started working on the Face. It was a complicated painting with very fine detailing so no one could join Meenakshi in her work. Sushil suggested to use the corner of the walls that worked wonder for the Face.

The home we painted...and the family we lived with

The home we painted…and the family we lived with

While Meenakshi painted the wall, Jey was always there for all possible help. Uncle, every now and then, came in to observe the progress and frequently inquired about the designs.

The corner gave a mysterious look to the Face. If you see the Face from one side the eye and part of the lips on the other side will look bigger and vice versa. If someone sits below her level, she smiles. If you stand, she stares and if one raises above her level, she frowns. The face looks in balance only if you see it from the front side of the corner.

It was interesting.

In several chit-chat sessions Sudesh Uncle told us about his politically active father and how former Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani had visited his father in their ancestral house.

He is happy with his lawyer’s work, his old songs and new found love for travel. They travel twice in a year. They have been on a European and Singapore tour and visited many places in India.

After the painting was complete, he looked happy. We didn’t ask for his reaction. They giggled and smiled for the ceremonious photos we take after finishing each painting.

We felt that we  gave some beauty to the Lover of Beauty.

The customary one...artist with the family

The customary one…artist with the family

”I was beaten up for painting”

IMG_1943Thirteen year old Anil has big eyes and they are searching for something all the time. It sparked when he saw us opening the colour bag. “Aaap painting kartey ho?” (you guys paint?) he asked with glitters in his eyes.

He was asked by the family we were staying with, to assist us in the process of painting. For next many hours, Anil didn’t move an inch from there.

Helping us in moving the furniture, making the colors, lightening the bulb and ultimately he joined us in painting on the wall. Anil, in just a few minutes, made a relation with us through his interest in drawing.

Our stay in Udhampur was facilitated and mediated by a family member. He gave us the contact of Sindhuja.

Sindhuja who has worked with media for some years and now is a freelancer with United Nations and many other organizations, read our blogs and invited us to paint in her mother’s school.

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She wanted us to make something in the little angel’s school run by her family. Due to summer vacation, only the caretakers lived there.

The day we were suppose to paint, Meenakshi got severe dehydration and was almost bedridden. With all the sugar-salt syrup she recovered and decided to paint next day in the evening.

Sindhuja also loves to paint but with two babies ( a three year old and another eight months old) it was difficult for her to focus on art.

Since she couldn’t join us, she asked Anil and his brother to help us by providing water, lights etc.

We had no idea that Anil or his brother might be interested in painting but the colour bag did the trick for us.

Sindhuja and her family wanted us to paint something which has a social message and what else could have been better than Gandhi’s three monkey…..with a twist…

Gandhi’s fishes depicting see no evil, speak no evil and listen no evil.

Meenakshi spotted Anil’s interest in art and asked him if he would like to paint. He was reluctant, actually scared. But once Meenakshi made the outline and gave him a brush, he jumped on to it.

We watched him silently working on his fish. His hands were steady. He was learning with every stroke. Seeing and asking Meenakshi about colours and patterns, he flared.

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In the meantime he showed us his few paintings which he had done in his school but the heartbreaker came after a while.

When he felt comfortable enough, he apprised us that, ‘’you asked me to paint but in my village I used to get beaten up by my teachers whenever I painted.’’

Anil is glad that he is no more in that school and the government school he is studying appreciates his art.

After the painting finished, we clicked few pictures as we had to leave for Srinagar the next day. We promised Anil that on the way back to Delhi we will meet him and he promised that he will do some paintings for us.

After one week we met again and he complained- “you told me you will come on 26th and you came on 27th”. That was the love he must have felt for us. We saw his paintings and got the good news as well.

Sindhuja and her family has asked Anil to do some paintings in the other branch of the school in a distant village.

Anil was happy and so we were.

We cant measure what art gives us. The feeling can’t be explained. Anil doesn’t know about the big art market and money some artists make. He doesn’t know the politics of the big studios and the murky world of art politics.

He paints because he loves painting and that’s the prerequisite to become an artist. This is what we have understood in our little journey so far as artists and we are glad that we helped another one in continuing his interest in Art.

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”meeting people in this age is a great thing”

IMG_1822Amritsar was not on our painting itinerary but we painted there. The trip to Kashmir took unexpected twists and turns. We planned to do three paintings in two weeks- one in Jammu and two in Srinagar. Instead we painted one in Amritsar and two in Udhampur.

That’s what happens in Travels. Isn’t it?

The painting in Amritsar has an interesting story. The plan was to stay overnight in Amritsar with a family to whom we were introduced through Facebook and move on the next morning. When we met Ritu in Amritsar we were not even aware of her surname. It is Ritu Arora. We came to know her family name only when we needed to mention it in this blog. Interestingly she does not even know the person who gave us her reference.

Ritu had arranged our stay in her father’s house which gave us a glimpse of the whole family. Her father Manohar Lal welcomed us warmly and took keen interest in us. He asked, ‘’What is the theme of your journey?’’

We explained a little bit about artologue and he exclaimed, ‘’ You guys are doing a wonderful thing. In this age when people don’t have time to meet each other, you are meeting people and exchanging their knowledge with yours. It’s a great thing.’’

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And soon followed the flair of Punjab. Great food and lot of pressure to eat a little bit more. Ritu took us to her own house which was near by and showed us her paintings.

Oh I forgot to mention….Ritu teaches fine art in DAV college, Amritsar. She was quite interested in Artologue project and also invited a reporter from a Hindi daily to meet us.

The reporter came in the afternoon to talk to us. Actually he talked and we listened. At one point I asked him whether he is interviewing us or interrogating us?

Later he wanted me to paint something quickly…quickly means in five- ten minutes….which was impossible.

We asked the family if they wanted something in their house and they responded as if they were waiting for the offer. They gave us the freedom to draw anything near their puja room.

I started drawing a Ganesha that was to take time. Since the reporters and photographers were in hurry, we offered to send the photograph of painting once it was complete to which they readily agreed.

It took around four hours to complete and looked beautiful. Ritu, her daughter Bhavika and other kids in the family did their bit in the painting.

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At night when Manohar Lal ji came, He exclaimed with joy- ‘’ I wanted something like this near our puja room. It is beautiful. Thank you both for coming to my humble home. I am very happy.’’

With those words, we left Amritsar. Though the painting was started on the reporter’s insistence, it came out quite beautifully. It was an unexpected turn of fourth trip of Artologue.

We were happy for the family that we could do something for them in return of thier love and faith in our endeavor to spread smiles with our colors.

And yes, the report came after few days. strangely the report quoted us saying things which we never said.

We had a feeling that the report will be something like this but still we thank the reporter because of whom we painted in Amritsar.

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स्वर्ग है तो उसकी ब्रांच पंचकूला में है

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जून की गर्मी, बुलेट की सवारी और 274 किलोमीटर की दूरी….धूल भरी आंधियों के बीच आंखें मिचमिचाते…धूप सोखते….रुकते रुकाते…शाम ढले पहुंचे थे उस घनी छांव में जिसका नाम था वीरेंद्र और रेणु सांगवान.

घग्घर नदी के किनारा….डूबता हुआ सूरज और अंकल आंटी….एक आइडियाज़ से भरपूर दूसरी शांत…मुस्कुराती…ममत्व से लबरेज़.

सितारों से स्वागत और फिर चाय का गिलास…और बातें बातें बातें… बस बातें. पांच भाईयों का एक परिवार जहां दादा मिलिट्री में थे..पिता स्कूल में और पांच भाईयों में तीसरे नंबर पर वीरेंद्र अंकल जो दादा जी की इच्छानुसार मिलिट्री में गए.

दूसरी तरफ पांच बहनों वाली रेणु आंटी…वो भी तीसरे नंबर की…पिता की मौत के बाद छोटी होने के बावजूद ज़िम्मेदारियां निभाने में सबसे आगे..स्कूल की प्रिंसिपल से पदोन्नति मिली ही है उनको. उन्हें देखकर ही लगता था जितना प्यार करेंगी उतना ही अनुशासन में भी रखेंगी.

फिर पता चला सत्तर के दशक में जब शादी हुई तो अंकल ने कहा था अपने दादा से कि मैं लड़की नहीं देखूंगा जो आपने तय किया वो ठीक है लेकिन रेणु आंटी ने कहा- मैं लड़का देखे बगैर शादी नहीं करुंगी. दोनों परिवारों में कई लोग सेना में हैं.

आम तौर पर सेना को लोग क्रिएटिविटी से जोड़कर नहीं देखते हैं लेकिन अंकल ने जब अपने घर में सितारों वाली लाइट, शराब की बोतल से बनी लाइट और बालकनी में पक्षियों के घोंसले दिखाए तो हमारा विश्वास फिर से जमा कि हर आदमी क्रिएटिव होता है.

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आंटी का पारंपरिक कलाकारी से लगाव, उनकी खुद की एमसील से बनाई चीज़ें, रंगों से उनका लगाव और नानी के डिजाइन किए कुछ कपड़ों से उनका प्रेम हमें छू गया.

इन चीज़ों ने हमें दो बातें बताईं..एक तो ये कि हमें कुछ अनोखा बनाना होगा और दूसरा कि अगर हम कुछ बढ़िया बना पाए तो ये दोनों उसे आगे बढ़ाते रहेंगे. उनका नया फ्लैट देखने के बाद हमने पूछा था- आप क्या बनवाना चाहते हैं?

अंकल ने एक सांस में कई चीज़ें गिनवा दीं..आंटी ने ठहर कर कहा- मैं चाहती हूं कि आप एक बरगद का पेड़ बनाएं जो जानवरों, सांपों और कई जंतुओं को पनाह देता है. आंटी की ये बात इतनी खूबसूरत लगी हम सबको कि अंकल ने एकबारगी ही कहा- बरगद ही चाहिए मुझे भी.

फिर मीनाक्षी ने तय किया कि इस बार पेंटिंग नहीं कुछ अलग होगा. ब्रश का इस्तेमाल कम होगा. रस्सियों से पेड़ बनाने का आइडिया मीनाक्षी का था लेकिन उसे मज़बूत करने के लिए पीओपी, फेविकोल आदि का दिमाग कौन दे सकता था अंकल के सिवा. collage4 हमने इस कलाकृति में बस कुछ रंग जोड़े हैं. सारा काम अंकल आंटी ने ही किया है. रंग घोलने से लेकर दीवारों पर पुताई करने तक…..रस्सियों को मोड़ कर चिपकाने से लेकर उनमें हाथों से रंग भरने तक सारा काम मिलजुलकर पूरा हो रहा था. और वो भी तब जब बीच के एक दिन नए फ्लैट में हवन होना था. छोटा सा समारोह जिसमें हमें भी अपने बच्चों की तरह शामिल किया अंकल आंटी ने.

हां और ये बताना तो भूल ही गए कि ये बरगद मुख्य बेडरुम की बालकनी में बन रहा था जो बाहर से भी दिखता था. मुख्य सड़क से भी.

गर्मी में इसे पूरा करने के दौरान आंटी कब पुराने घर जाकर ठंडा पानी, चाय और उनके हाथ का बना लेमन स्कवॉश ले आती और पिला देती ये बताना मुश्किल है हमारे लिए.

वो पेंटिंग के पास न होकर भी मौजूद होती हमारे चारों ओर. फिर वो आंटी के परांठे और उस पर अंकल का मक्खन लगाना….स्वर्ग है तो पंचकूला में इसकी ब्रांच ज़रुर होगी. ये ही ख्याल आया था वहां. बरगद पूरा हो रहा था और अंकल चाह रहे थे कि कुछ और बन जाए. हमने दरवाज़े के सामने की जगह का सुझाव दिया तो अंकल ने कहा क्यों न सूरज बनाया जाए.

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फिर वो लाल पीला सूरज बनाया मीनाक्षी ने.

पंचकूला में जो हमने बनाया वो कहने को तो पूरा है लेकिन हमारे हिसाब से अधूरा है क्योंकि हम जानते हैं इसमें वीरेंद्र अंकल और रेणु आंटी अपनी क्रिएटिविटी से जान डालने वाले हैं.

यही हमारा काम था लोगों के भीतर के कलाकार को थोड़ा प्रोत्साहन देना और बदले में हमने पाया ढेर सारा प्यार, अपनापन और एक और परिवार इस दुनिया में अपना कहने को.

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The house with Stars….

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‘’Welcome to the house with stars …’’ announced a mid-aged man switching off all the lights the moment we entered his home. Next second the home was lit with stars and another figure appeared with an unforgettable warm smile.

They were Virendra and Renu Sangwan from Panchkula. An ex-army officer who is now working as a Cyber expert with a multinational company and a strict principal who is now promoted to take over new responsibility.

They invited us to paint at their new house where they are to shift soon. It is first time that we were invited to paint in a brand new house. The star lights was made by Virendra with the help of a pipe and a light. As he explained the secret of the light, we realized that we have to make something really interesting here because Virendra and Renu were quite creative in their own way.

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The wall hangings, another set of light bulbs (made with the liquor cases), traditional hukka, chakki (grain grinder) and a cot in bottle helped us notice their taste for traditional arts. Next morning they showed us an amazing thing that said volumes about them.

It was bunches of thorny Babool/ Kikar branches that they had hung in their balcony to provide nesting place for endangered house sparrows. Nearly hundred birds were nesting in those branches.

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On the first evening we had the feeling that uncle wanted us to paint on every wall of their new house. He was full of ideas. Renu aunty was patient and was busy feeding us delicious food and drinks. Her presence was serene.

After dinner when we went to see the new house and then we asked- “What would you like us to paint?” Aunty said- “I would like you to paint a Banyan tree which shelters hundreds of birds, animals, reptiles and humans alike.”

The sentence came so beautifully that uncle’s all ideas got side-lined and he said- “Yes we want a Banyan tree.”

They had already chosen the place; the balcony of master bedroom. The wall of the balcony is visible from other buildings and from the main road as well. It was a strategic choice. They wanted everyone to see their Tree.

Keeping their inclination for traditional arts in mind, next day Meenakshi decided to make a Banyan tree with ropes. Ropes were cut in different sizes and coloured accordingly. In the heat of June we started to make the tree that gives shadow to many.

With just few directions uncle and aunty picked up the work. We just did bits of the work. The tree was actually made by them.

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Next day a small house-warming ritual took place. We became part of their very private ceremony and felt happy with the love and care they showered on us.

The banyan tree took shape. While the unfinished work on the Tree was being completed by Sushil and aunty, Meenakshi made a smiling sun on the front door with uncle’s help.

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You may call it our finished work but we know it is unfinished. Virendra and Renu have many ideas to decorate the Banyan tree. We hope that in next few months the Tree will grow richer with the couples’ creativity.

And that is the whole purpose of Artologue: to awaken the artist in everyone. Virendra and Renu were already naturally creative, we just aired their interest. In return we got love, care and yet another family in this world to call our very own.

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I am Masked….

 

IMG_1512I am brave, I am strong, I am successful, I am Happy. I am Masked.

I don’t take off my mask. I face the world with my mask on my real face. I am scared to show my real self to the world because then the world will know that I fear death, disease, loneliness, I feel pain in my body and that in my loved ones’, I have endured several failures and that I am relentlessly trying to be happy despite all troubles big and small.

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I am masked all the time, even when I am in bed. I know, if the world will know my fear, it will use my fear to pull me down. If the world would know I fear loneliness, they will sideline me to demoralize me.

If the world will know I feel pain, they will try to hurt my sentiments, my morality, my friends and my self-respect.

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The world will try to drive away my loved ones from me by telling them that I am not strong and thus not capable of their love and company.

If I tell the world that I have endured failures, they will mock me. They will mock my humble past, my humble family and my humble heart. This will do no harm to me but to those who like me are willing to struggle their way up to the success.

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I conceal my troubles so that the world should not try to enervate my situation. Since the world believes in taking advantage of other’s rough time, there is no use sharing my problems with it.

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Even when I reveal my face to those who seem to have the courage to reveal their true face, the moment they step in public they put on their mask.

I am Masked because I have a pure face for GOD and many faces to face the world.

The Green One by the Master- Meenakshi Jha

The Green One by the Master- Meenakshi Jha