In the 45 day trip of Artologue, H.H.High school Brambe was our last stop. we spend two days painting with kids. The school is run by Shadab Hasan who has done his MBA and could have earn handsome money working in any Multinational but decided to stay and open a decent school where kids from tribal and underprivileged background can study by paying a little only and at times nothing. This blog is written Shadab Hasan.
15th April, 2015 – a usual morning at H. H. High School, Brambe (Jharkhand). Students super excited with their new set of books. Teachers busy scheduling classes. Everything was moving as it is expected in the first few days of a new academic session. I was in a class teaching the kids when suddenly Anand, a dear friend of mine called me to inform, that ‘THEY’ had almost reached the school.
I asked them to wait near the Central University of Jharkhand which was a few minutes away from our campus. I wrapped up the class and immediately rush to receive ‘them’. I had never seen them before.
At a moderate pace I drove around the Central University of Jharkhand trying to spot the ‘duo’ (as I was told they were two of them).
Suddenly I spotted a couple in bright coloured tee-shirts, self painted dungarees and glasses which none would wear except those truly in love with colours. Without a doubt I knew it was them. But they were not two – they were three them. Jey Sushil, Menakshi J. and Hari Bhari, a beaming, bright, green royal enfield.
Our eyes met. Smiles exchanged and within minutes they were in our campus.
The day began with a customary introduction cum ‘what would you like to become’ session. That was when I knew what magic the three could do.
The way they gelled with the students spoke volumes about the love they had for them. The session was followed by a quick hand-raising of kids who wanted to join us in painting the school wall. Few stood up. Many shied away.
All because they felt art was not their cup of tea. Jey did not force any of them to come along. The team was formed, colours unpacked, and brushes soaked in water. The team stood in front of the blank white wall wondering what to draw. All was set except what would come up on the wall.
Meenakshi and Jey turned to the kids. The kids came up with suggestions and for each of them the answer was – NO!
The idea was simple. We were not going to draw anything that existed. Instead we were to draw something that we had never seen.
So Jey along with his team set out on a quick tour of the campus and asked each of the members to note down everything that they saw as they moved around. The kids did.
This is a wonderful method practiced by Jey and Meenakshi to help children become aware of the surrounding they live in and also get an idea of what to include that gives a local essence to the painting.
The three walls were mutually agreed to be painted into LAND, WATER and AIR respectively, the idea propped up Jey and shaped by Meenakshi.
Once the theme was finalized then the sketching began. I was hoping Meenakshi, the only professional painter in the lot to come forward and do the sketching on the wall for the kids to paint. I was proved wrong! She neither sketched nor gave any hints that she would. Instead she encouraged the kids to come forward and do the sketching.
That was when I actually got to know what these two were.
It was simple. They were not there to sketch. They were not there to paint. Instead they were there to make the kids do it. Not only the ones who wanted to but anyone they came across.
Meenakshi and Jey came from the school of thought that art is something which is made for everybody and there are no good or bad artists in the world.
It is an expression of what you see and feel about it and can be expressed in any way deemed fit to the viewer.
The three walls that we had mutually agreed to was going to be worked on completely by the children with small inputs and guidance by our heroes.
Very soon, the land-themed wall started getting adorned with a pink monkey, a yellow-beaked cock with pink and blue feathers and beautiful colored ants who were crawling almost everywhere and anywhere they could go.
Jey is extremely fond of drawing and coloring cocks and this is why the colourful cock found its way on our walls and was found riding a motorcycle to its heart’s delight.
The water-themed ones saw a green octopus and a red tortoise out on a stroll while the yellow sword fish showed off his bright blue fins and startled the pink sea horse!
The air-themed wall what interested me the most as the children drew and colored dragonflies and butterflies on it.
In order to create an everlasting memory of Jey, Meenakshi and their beautiful Hari Bhari, they also drew and a similar green bullet on the wall and colored it as a constant reminder of the trio and what they had taught them on those two special days!
What really appealed to me was Jey Couple’s idea to give the walls a local feel as that is what Meenakshi does wherever she goes. They achieved this by picking up some red soil from our campus and making a thick paste with it which was then used by the children to create a border on the walls! Brilliant! This gave the walls an earthy and rural feel without any effort!
Meenakshi and Jey would keep a constant check on what the children were doing and according to him nothing was ‘wrong’ or ‘incorrect’ in the world of art!
According to Meenakshi, it was all perfect as each child expressed his feelings through art and was at full liberty to do it any way he wants to.
Meenakshi helped the children mix colors, choose the right paint brush and let them free! On the first day I was able to manage just about 15 children to participate in the drawing and coloring activity with Jey and Meenakshi as I sensed that the other children were a little apprehensive about coloring and felt that they were not perfect at the job.
The 15 confident ones worked for almost 2 hours after school with Jay and Meenakshi drawing their heart out and coloring as they felt like.
When the other children saw the painted and half-finished walls the next day, they suddenly realized that what Jey and Meenakshi were making the kids do was quite simple yet artistic and could be anyone’s cup of tea if he or she wanted it to be!
We had many more children joining us for the coloring session the next day and the numbers increased so much that we had to create batches so that everybody got a chance to color the the 2 days that Jey and Meenakshi spent with the children and helped them learn what art truly is, changed the way our children looked at art and they suddenly developed an inclination to this new found hobby!
Art enthusiastic from all classes started coming up to me and asked me to get all the other school walls whitewashed at the earliest so they could start painting them too! I think our school is going to get all colourful pretty soon.
Jey and Meenakshi are two individuals who touch hearts and change lives by introducing people to a whole new world of color and art.
Their interactive and friendly nature took away all the inhibitions that my children (and me!) had about art and gave us a new perspective to live life freely and enjoy everything around us. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we at HHHS Brambe never wish our children to experience a dull moment in their lives.