Thursday, December 19, 2013

Art inside us...........skills of the modest.

                                       Art inside us...........skills of the modest. 

                                In my School days in the 1960’s , I used to love to draw
and I had an egotist’s opinion of myself being the best in my class as I used to secure first prize in all my drawings . Buoyed up and nurtured by the adulation of my chamchas  my aim in life was a become a world renowned artist .

          Sometime later there was a school competition for drawing with bifurcations made by the art teacher in the form of bunching of Classes... Classes 1 to 4, class 5 to 8 and finally class 9 to 11 ( this was before the advent of class 12 ). I turned in my drawing from the Class group 5 to 8 , secure in my arrogance of bagging the First prize . When the results were announced in the hall itself, it was extremely disconcerting to be brought down to earth by being declared Second for that group . When I questioned the art  teacher, he  sternly pointed to the drawing which had bagged the First prize, and which was displayed on the black board. Like everyone present I too stood in awe , riveted by  the drawing.  The pencil drawing with crayon colouring was out of this world . The scene described a propeller plane being serviced by overalls clad technician's inside an aeroplane hanger amongst a few more planes scattered around.  The artist’s eye for detail and clarity was as so great that it looked ‘live’  instead of just being just a drawing.  The modest artist was nowhere to be seen.       
A few days later during my family’s visit to their house in Pandara road , I given the wonderful opportunity of seeing the modest artist at work. He was engaged in building several types of miniature aero planes which were taking shape from his fingers , biplanes, triplanes and airliners made out of cardboard, shirt buttons, match sticks , u clips , oil paint , glue and scissors.  His perfection for detail showed itself in these to the extent that one could make out the tiny wire struts between the biplane and triplane wings . The colour and tiny markings were so accurate that it was astounding. Some looked like WW  I  planes ...  Sopwith Camel, Fokker Triplane, Spads etc.  From the ceiling a foot sized glider or plane was hanging. The artist’s ambition I learnt was to join the Indian Air Force.

Half a century later while searching my school’s alumni list I came across my artist friend’s name . The friendly  request  I sent was accepted by him and we reconnected.  Instead of joining the IAF  he migrated to the US and studied to became a Geologist . He is still draws and paints, but no mention was made of aero modelling.

As for myself, I switched from pencil to pen sketches and ultimately ended up drawing cartoons as I was restricted by poor eyesight and a mended index finger. 

In summing up from the events, our lives do not always take us to the paths we dream of, but can give us surprises along the way and a compromised ending. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Mutt called Goofy

God has given him three lines in his forehead which he capitalizes and turns it into a worried look. Dog’s don’t frown, but Goofy does. And when he frown’s he looks like us humans. The amount of human admirer’s he has is countless, they are all taken in by this frown and his good behavior . This mutt loves nothing better than to entwine himself round your knees. The hairs in his fur are all short, so when you rub his coat, whether it cheers him or not, you get a nice feeling. Decidedly positive energy flows from his fur into you.

Dogs, love to spend quality time under cars, buses, trucks i.e. anything which has four wheels or more . What great ideas flow into their brains when contemplating the underside of mechanical objects is not known to humankind. But while studying the objects of their interest they fall into deep slumber. Humans who understand this dog business appreciate and give time for the paws to vacate the premises by stamping their feet, slamming shut car doors, starting the car and keep the engine idle . Of course there are some humans and canines who are exceptions to this rule.

One afternoon, Goofy was enjoying quality time under a truck ,when the driver clambered in started it and drove away. Giving Goofy credit, he dragged away his leg in the nick of time from under the wheels but was badly bruised in the process . Being Goofy he told the whole world in his dog language what the truck driver had tried to do to him. Poor chap, that day to his bad luck very few people turned up to effectively ease his pain. The black sheep among us humans cheered and applauded and conversed why the only leg , the truck should have run over the whole of Goofy for a fitting finish.

When the collegian alighted from the bus, she was told by a shop keeper how the matters stood. So she went all over the neighborhood trying to trace Goofy. Once harmed twice shy, Goofy had literally vanished. Later in the evening after coming back from work, we joined the search to unearth Goofy by searching the entire neighborhood roads, lawns, staircases and found him sitting hidden under an electric junction box.We tried to coax him to leave this shelter and get up so that we could take him to the vet.No use, he refused to budge and now that he had his sympathizer’s with him sprawled out to his full length. When I tried to lift him, he filled the whole neighborhood with loud reasons as to why he couldn’t get up and tell this foolish human to desist as he was in deep pain.

The collegian hit upon an idea which solved part of our problems. Only now I have understood why we are told to educate our children . Those of you who have read novels written by the Vet , James Herriot would have come across a story where a women used a child’s squeaky toy to coax a dog to walk up to the vet’s clinic. The collegian told me to use our car horn. It worked. Every time I horned Goofy walked a few steps till we were able to get him near the car door. Btw Goofy is named after the Walt Disney comic character by the same name and both character’s are lovable but brainless.

The next obvious step was to encourage him to clamber into the back seat of the car. So easy one would say, but being Goofy , so difficult. The liquid medicine given to him had started to work, so the pain was less. Surrounded by a few people we tried to coax him, but ultimately fed up I just gathered him up and literally dumped him in the back seat. The rest was easy, but of course from time to time he complained to all and sundry of being cooped up , the car windows being dark, the amount of noise on the roads and his urgent need to pee. The confinement at the Vet’s place and the medical treatment did him a world of good .

Now he is back.The best present we had the other day was to watch him padding silently behind a human couple with bags hanging from in their hands and his nose buried inside one of the bags. The best part was , the couple were totally unaware of Goofy.

We hope and pray he will be more alert when he sleeps under a four wheeler.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Oriyan Odyssey

The call from Lord Jagannath of Puri can be very powerful is what we discovered. Until we left for our vacation we had never dreamt of Orissa, it was a last minute destination. Despite our pleas and preaching our daughter opted out of the trip. The balance two of us boarded our flight equipped with bit and pieces of information gathered from friends and the internet.

The normal flying time is about three hours 10 minutes via Raipur, but that day it took us 11 hours to reach our destination. Perhaps this was almighty’s ways of testing us and the airline’s determination to reach us to our destination in good faith and against all odds.

Nights are cooler at the state capital. The next day despite better options we roughed it out in a Private bus to Puri and that is the best way of travelling. A lot of information is imparted by the fellow traveller’s plus time passes with the cool breeze blowing in early in the morning and in being entertained by the antics of other travelers.

The hotel had a lovely view of Puri beach and despite camels and the ponies wandering about in the sands, the beach is one of the finest we have seen . The sea was cold and the air was cool despite the sun ‘s rays on us. The sea water was clean with varying shades of color from beach front till as far as our eyes could travel. Crabs taking a stroll in the sand as soon as a wave receded . Submerged knee deep in the sea and watching our antics , there was this dog.

Day three was a mad rush to reach our pick up point to wait for the Orissa tourism conducted tour bus before 6.30 am and till we got into the bus at 6.45 am I had bitten thru 3 finger nails in my left hand . The guide was a font of information plus he had practical tips to give us to avoid tourist traps. What beautiful names places in Orissa have….Ramachandi temple, river Kusabadra behind the temple. A little further on is the Chandrabagha beach and a little more inland is Konark sun temple.

Konark ….. kon i.e.angle in hindi and ark is the name of sun in sanskrit. We were advised to order our breakfast at the OTDC canteen and then go and visit the temple, so that by the time we came back to the canteen the breakfast would be hot and ready to eat at our table - very practical man, our guide. The temple was awesome, with giant stone wheels and the sculpture reminiscent of Khajuraho. At places there was erosion of the sculpture due to passage of time, and re-construction activity was in progress. It was worth every minute of the 45 minutes we spent there.

Udaigiri hill from where you can see the battle field in which Emperor Ashoka fought and then renounced all war and went the peaceful way. There is a huge buddhist shanti stupa built on top of this hill by Indo- Japanese collaboration . The monument towers over the hill. We also saw Dhaulagiri caves and adjacent across the road was the khandagiri hill. Both the hills have caves sculptured out of the rock face of the hill. Some lovely sleek skinned black faced monkeys were loping in between . We captured the beauty of these last two hills with our eyes and stayed put under a tree with cool breeze blowing on us, away from the dry heat.

It is said that one has to visit Lingaraj temple before visiting the Jagannath Puri temple, and it is amazing how this actually happened to us. Camera’s , shoes, leather belts, leather purses are not allowed inside the temple so we had to take turns in visiting the temple. Inside the temple I came across my namesake – seshnag.

The tourist bus was full of middle aged and elderly people and the thought of walking thru’ the Nandankanan zoo in the midday heat with temp at 42 degrees C was daunting prospect. Moreover most of the birds, animals in the zoo would be having an afternoon siesta deep inside their caves, shelters ; so we veoted the zoo and zeroed in on the Kalpana square shopping area.

Beware of restruants that advertise A/C ..the dining hall is a/c less as “the current has just gone off”. We fled back to Puri in our a/c bus via Pipili ( famous for its appliqué work ) and Sakhigopal temple promising ourselves lunch at Puri. As soon as the bus neared Pipili our guide announced with great fanfare ' Who wants to get down and shop at Pipili ?.... 11 pairs of eyes were fast asleep and only a few snores greeted him, but the 12th pair - a child's gaze was the only response he got for all his trouble.

Going in a cycle rickshaw, shopping at Swargadwar beach and visiting the Puri Jagannath temple while side stepping the pandas is a tale waiting to be told another time.