written by Rajeev Prakash Khare (Fontwala)
Last month was very hectic. Each weekend I was out of town but this particular visit to Uttarakhand was very special. My friend Nihar was going to visit his friend’s (also Rajeev) farmhouse in Uttarakhand and he asked me to come along. So we headed to the other Rajeev’s place. I generally go out of town with my sketch pad and an art kit. This place was beautiful. Pahadi river hills all around and reaching the farmhouse we had to cross the river on foot and the river current was very high. And then there was the caretaker’s family. He, his wife, and his two very very talkative and active sons, elder Dheer 10 yrs and Narendra 6 yrs. I trekked 6.5 km both wayss. It was a tiring hike. I attempted watercolor paintings during the trek but just could not do it. Partly because the fellow trekkers were not interested and I alone was not interested in sitting by myself for a long time on the way up. Also, there was fear of a certain leopard. Recently, a leopard had been sighted nearby that attacked a lady.
The next day I sat by a stone on the river with my all painting items and both of the kids Dheer and Narendra huddled around me and decided to help me paint their landscape as I indulged myself in the watercolors. They both were enjoying this activity a lot. I finished my painting, returned my art materials to my room, and got busy with my friends.
When we returned to the room I saw that both the kids had helped themselves to my colors and brushes. Except they did not have any art paper so they decided to tear up some paper boxes that had served as packaging for sweets and used them as a canvas to paint their beautiful art. They called upon the other neighborhood friends as well. All were there enjoying making art with my paints and brushes on the flimsy paper boxes.
I was happy to see this and at the same time full of sorrow. Here there were children keen to paint but did not have all the required art material. The next day I went to the market and bought art notebooks, colours, brushes, and other materials for all of them. I distributed art materials to the kids and asked them to paint whatever they wished. They made beautiful and impressive paintings.
They were happy and so was I.
These are the real painters, designers, futures of India. How much-hidden talent is present in India. I started to wonder what we can do for this talent in the remote parts of India.
In some ways, the realization was painful, perhaps a new idea will take shape because of this trip.