जेल के करतब और कलाकार होने का अनुभव

हमारी हरी बुलेट डासना जेल के गेट पर रुकने ही वाली थी कि सिपाही ने डपटा, ‘इधर किधर जाय रहे हो.’  हमने कहा जेलर साब ने बुलाया है.

पूछताछ हुई. बड़ा सा ताला खुला. मोबाइल फोन जब्त किए गए. बैग ले लिया गया और हाथों में लगाया गया स्टांप. जैसे डिस्को वगैरह में जाने पर लगता है.

जेल सुपरिटेंडेंट शिव प्रकाश यादव, बेहद मिलनसार. कहा, आप जैसा कहेंगे वैसी व्यवस्था हो जाएगी. बस मोबाइल, जेल परिसर में नहीं जाएगा. पेंटिंग्स की तस्वीरों के लिए कैमरा ले जा सकेंगे.

हमने कहा ज़रा हमारी हरी बुलेट प्रांगण में बढ़िया से पार्क हो जाती तो अच्छा रहता. अनुमति मिली तो वापस गए.

The Green One

The Green One

अब बाहर बैठे पुलिस वाले ने हमारे लंबे बालों…….हरी बुलेट और मिलिट्रीनुमा वर्दी को देखकर जो सवाल पूछा वो अभूतपूर्व था.

सिपाही साहब बोले- ‘इ करतब वाली बुलेट है न.’ इससे पहले कि हम कुछ कहते वो फिर बोले, ‘करतब यहीं दिखाओगे या जेल के भीतर.’

हमारी हंसी ऐसी छूटी कि बंद ही न हो. हमने कहा- अरे हम लोग पेंटिंग करने आए हैं……करतब दिखाने नहीं.

खैर अंदर डिप्टी जेलर हरबंस पांडे ने चक्कर लगवाया. किशोर अपराधियों के वार्ड से लेकर, महिलाओं की बैरक और मुख्य कैदियों की बैरक देखने के बाद हमने तय किया कि शुरुआत किशोरों के वार्ड से की जाए.

We reached the jail early in the morning

We reached the jail early in the morning

नूपुर तलवार से मिलना

हां बताना भूल गए..जेल सुपरिटेंडेंट के कमरे में एक महिला मिली. मुझे चेहरा जाना पहचाना सा लगा.

इससे पहले कि कुछ कहता, जेल सुपरिटेंडेंट बोले, ‘इनसे मिलिए… ये नुपुर तलवार हैं.’ मीनाक्षी ने चहकते हुए कहा, ‘आप पेंटिंग कीजिएगा हमारे साथ.’ नुपुर ने अंग्रेज़ी में जवाब दिया था, ‘नहीं नहीं….मैं आर्टिस्ट नहीं हूं.‘ उनके हाथ में किताब थी. पता चला वो जेल के प्रशासनिक कार्यों में मदद करती हैं कई अन्य कैदियों की तरह.

ठहरी हुई आंखे कहीं उदासी में घूम रही होंगी. जेल में दो चार बार उनसे सामना हुआ. महिलाओं के वार्ड में मीनाक्षी ने उनसे एक बार फिर कहा….ज्वाइन अस, लेकिन वो मुस्कुरा कर मना कर गईं. उस मुस्कुराहाट में उदासी घुली थी या उपेक्षा…हम समझ नहीं पाए.

जेल अधिकारियों ने बताया कि राजेश और नुपुर जेल में दांतों के डॉक्टर का काम भी करते हैं.

(जिन्हें नहीं मालूम उनके लिए…नुपुर और राजेश तलवार मृतक आरुषि के मां बाप हैं और डासना में सज़ा काट रहे हैं.)

the painting completed in few hours

the painting completed in few hours

नंबरदार और पीले कपड़े

हां एक बात और…कई लोग पीले कपड़ों में दिखे. हमने पूछताछ जारी रखी तो पता चला ये सजायाफ्ता कैदी हैं. मुख्यत आजीवन कारावास. पीले कपड़े एक ड्रेस है जो नंबरदार पहनते हैं. नंबरदार यानी जेल प्रशासन की मदद करने वाले, कैदियों को मैनेज करने में.

इनमें से कई गंभीर अपराधों में सज़ा काट रहे हैं और जेल प्रशासन इनके अच्छे रवैय्ये को देखते हुए इन्हें नंबरदार बनाता होगा क्योंकि ये अपराधी संभवत लंबी सज़ा के कारण जेल में कुछ काम करना चाहते होंगे.

इनके अलावा कुछ कैदी राइटर्स भी कहे जाते हैं जिनके जिम्मे लिखा पढ़ी में मदद करना होता है. आगंतुकों को चाय पिलाना, भोजन कराना आदि. इन नंबरदारों और राइटरों से विनम्र लोग मैंने अपने जीवन में बहुत कम देखे थे. दो दिनों में लगा ही नहीं कि हम अपराधियों के साथ हैं.

खैर किशोरों के वार्ड में वरली आर्ट के नाचने वाले फिगर्स बनाए गए जिनके बारे में यहां पढ़ा जा सकता है.

painting in the women cell was energy sapping for us.

painting in the women cell was energy sapping for us.

महिला वार्ड की दिक्कतें

दोपहर का खाना जेल में भी खाना था. हम डर रहे थे कि पता नहीं खाना कैसा होगा लेकिन शुद्ध शाकाहारी बेहतरीन भोजन. हां रह रह के बचपन का वो गीत ज़रुर याद आ रहा था…..’’अब तो जेल में जाना पड़ेगा जेल का रोटी खाना पड़ेगा.’’

दोपहर में पेंटिंग करने के लिए महिला वार्ड में गए. महिलाएं मुश्किल से तैयार हुईं और एक बार जो हुईं तो फिर दीवार पर जो मन आया उनका, वो बनाती चली गईं.

यहां काम अधिक मुश्किल था क्योंकि अठारह बच्चों को भी संभालना पड़ा. महिला कैदियों में अहं का टकराव अधिक था. शायद गुटबाजी भी थी.

सिमरन और उसके साथी एक दृश्य बना रहे थे तो बीच में एक और कैदी ने आकर बड़ा सा गुलाब का फूल बना दिया. झिक झिक होते बची. शाम के समय अंडे, पकौड़े, स्पेशल सब्जी बेचने के लिए लोग आए जो महिला कैदी खरीद सकते थे.

हम ये पूछना भूल गए कि इसके लिए पैसे कहां से मिलते हैं. शायद मुलाकात के दौरान परिवार वाले देते होंगे. हमने अनुमान ही लगाया.

Various design carved by prisoners.

Various design carved by prisoners.

रिहाई का परवाना

पेंटिंग करने के दौरान एक पुलिसवाला कोई चिट लेकर आया तो महिलाओं में खुशी की लहर दौड़ पड़ी…आवाज़ आई…तुम्हारा परवाना आ गया..परवाना आ गया…

परवाना मतलब रिहाई की सूचना. शाम तक संभवत रिहाई हो जानी थी उन महिला की.

शाम के समय डिप्टी जेलर के कमरे में कैदियों की रिहाई का नज़ारा ज़िंदगी का एक बड़ा सबक साबित हुआ.

हम कमरे में बैठे थे तभी एक नंबरदार आया और उसने फाइलें ठीक कर के मेज पर रखना शुरु किया. एकदम यंत्रवत, फाइलों के बाद कलम रखा गया और सफेद बोर्ड पर रिहा होने वाले कैदियों की संख्या लिखी गई.

डिप्टी जेलर आए. कुर्सी पर बैठे. फाइल से नाम पुकारा…नंबरदार एक पुरुष कैदी की बाईं कलाई पकड़ कर लाया. क़ैदी की शर्ट उतार दी गई थी.

फिर तो सवालों का झटपट सिलसिला शुरु हुआ…नाम…बाप का नाम..मां का नाम..कितने बच्चे हैं…बच्चों के नाम..पूरा पता बताओ….किस आरोप में थे..कौन से थाने से आए हो…और कोई मामला है या नहीं….किस तारीख को जेल में आए थे..

इन सवालों के जवाब कैदी को देने होते थे. ये सवाल खत्म होते ही जेलर आधे सवाल पूछता जिसका जवाब नंबरदार देते और वो सवाल होते कुछ यूं.

दाईं बांह…..नंबरदार कहता- तिल का निशान…

बाएं भुजदंड पर…नंबरदार कहता- ऊं गुदा हुआ.

बाईं गाल पर….नंबरदार कहता…दो मस्से एक साथ.

हाथों पर ….नंबरदार कहता….कटने के निशान.

ये पहचान के निशान थे जो रजिस्टर में दर्ज़ थे और जेलर, नंबरदार की मदद से पुष्ट कर रहे थे कि सही आदमी को ही रिहा किया जा रहा है या नहीं.

आखिरी सवाल होता, जेलर का- मोबाइल नंबर. कैदी को अपना मोबाइल नंबर बताना होता.

कोई चालीस पचास कैदी रिहा हुए होंगे उस शाम. हम दोनों की सांसे अटकी हुई थीं. अधिकतर कैदी जवान थे …20 से 26 साल के. झगड़ा, मारपीट, अपहरण जैसे मामलों में बंद थे. जमानत पर रिहा हो रहे थे. अधिकतर शादीशुदा थे..एक दो लड़के….लंबे समय के बाद रिहा हो रहे थे दो तीन साल बाद. उनके चेहरे पर हल्की सी खुशी थी.

रिहाई खत्म करने के बाद डिप्टी जेलर ने हम दोनों को देखा और पूछा, कैसा रहा ये अनुभव?

ये अनुभव हम दोनों को अंदर तक हिला देने वाला था. दोनों ही चुप रहे. डिप्टी जेलर मुस्कुराए और बोले ज्यादातर अपराधी हैं…कुछेक बेकसूर भी होंगे लेकिन हम क्या कर सकते हैं.

The long wall got geometrical designs by prisoners.

The long wall got geometrical designs by prisoners.

फेसबुक और साहित्य

कुछ क्षणों के लिए मौन पसरा रहा. फिर उन्होंने कहा, ‘चलिए सुपरिटेंडेट साहब घर पर आपका इंतज़ार कर रहे हैं.’

जेल से सटे हुए बंगले में खाने पर बातचीत हुई फेसबुक से लेकर हिंदी साहित्य के बारे में. शिव प्रकाश यादव जी की साहित्य में रुचि देखकर अच्छा लगा. घर में छोटी मोटी लाइब्रेरी बना रखी है उन्होंने.

दूसरे दिन पेंटिंग का काम जेल के मुख्य हिस्से में था जिसे सर्कल कहा जाता है. हमारी मदद के लिए अजय, कृष्णा और विवेक थे जो पहले से ही जेल में पेंटिंग कर रहे थे. उन्होंने कुछ दीवारों पर दृश्य भी बनाए थे.

अजय और कृष्णा ने बच्चों के वार्ड में पेंटिंग में हमारी मदद की ही थी. मुख्य वार्ड में लंबी दीवार पहले ही सफेद की जा चुकी थी.

हमने काम शुरु किया तो चारों तरफ से कैदियों ने घेर लिया. पेंटिंग के लिए तो कोई राज़ी नहीं था लेकिन सब देखने के लिए खड़े ज़रुर थे.

मीनाक्षी के बार बार आग्रह करने पर सबसे पहले अनुज ने ब्रश उठाया और एक आकृति बनाने लगा. फिर तो कैदियों को रोकना मुश्किल हो गया.

जिसे जहां मन हुआ वहीं अपनी कलाकारी दिखाने लगा. उनकी ये कलाकारी यहां पढ़ी और देखी जा सकती है.

Jey with the Jail superintendent Shiv prakash Yadav

Jey with the Jail superintendent Shiv prakash Yadav

जेल के पेंटर

हां अजय के बारे में बताना रह गया. अजय डकैती के आरोप में पांच साल से जेल काट रहा है. दुबला पतला सांवला अजय मिठुन चक्रवर्ती जैसा लगता है. मिठुन जवानी में ऐसा दिखता होगा. उससे खूब बातें हुई.

अजय 23 फरवरी को जेल से रिहा होगा. वो पेंटिंग करना चाहता है जेल से निकल कर. जेल लोगों को बदल देता है. अजय बदला है या नहीं मुझे मालूम नहीं लेकिन कई घंटों तक उसके साथ रहने के बाद हम ये कह सकते हैं कि उसने एक बार भी नज़र उठाकर बात नहीं की.

जेल के लोगों से उसे शिकायतें भी हो सकती हैं. मैंने बातों बातों में पूछा तो बोला अब क्या शिकायत. अब तो निकल जाएंगे तो कुछ अच्छा काम करेंगे.

All the painters of the jail. from left- Vivek, krishna, Ajay and Amit

All the painters of the jail. from left- Vivek, krishna, Ajay and Amit

कृष्णा अभी ट्रायल पर है. उस पर अपनी बीवी को मारने का आरोप है. इलेक्ट्रिक सामानों की दुकान बर्बाद हो गई. धीर गंभीर कृष्णा को नहीं पता जेल से कब छूटेगा लेकिन उम्मीद है उसे अभी तभी पेंटिंग करता है.

विवेक भी ऐसा ही एक है. एकदम चुप. तिहाड़ में पेंटिंग सीखी. अब डासना में है दूसरे मामले में. सधे हाथों वाले विवेक ने कहा, अगर छूट कर बाहर आया तो पेंटिंग का काम दिलवा दीजिएगा. हम इसी में करियर बनाना चाहते हैं.

अजय और विवेक आखिर में हमारे पास आए थे ये कहने कि उन्हें हम थोड़ा गाइड कर दें. हमने जो संभव था बता दिया कि हम लोग खुद भी अभी तक अपने आप को खोज रहे हैं.

थोड़ा सा ही कुछ बता पाए होंगे हुसैन, रज़ा और पिकासो, सुबोध गुप्ता के बारे में. हम इतना ही कह पाए कि तुम्हारे जैसा अनुभव दुनिया में किसी का नहीं होगा. उस अनुभव को अगर कैनवास पर उतार पाए तो तुम्हें बड़ा कलाकार होने से कोई रोक नहीं सकेगा.

Time for the group photo.

Time for the group photo.

Moments make you what you are…

The long wall got geometrical designs by prisoners.

The long wall got geometrical designs by prisoners.

Dasna jail broke all the myths we had about a jail. Actually till now, we had seen jails only in films. We expected the scenes of dreaded criminals, bad food, stern jailers beating the prisoners and barracks overflowing with shit.

Contrary to that, we found a very neat and clean jail campus where bad elements were guarded by the convicted ones in yellow dresses.

Food was off good quality and prisoners were given the jobs of their choice such as gardening, painting, stitching, legal help, making tea, helping jailers in other admin jobs.

We have been told that there are bad elements and everything is not perfect in any jail but Dasna jail authorities were trying hard to engage the prisoners in different activities.

We met Ajay, Krishna, Vivek and Amit here who were known as artists in the jail. They were to help us.

We chose an area known as circle in the jail. It’s literally a circle where deputy jailers sit and work. It’s hexagonal in shape. It is then circled by walls….as usual…Huge walls.

Various design carved by prisoners.

Various design carved by prisoners.

Probably those shapes inspired Meenakshi to make geometrical designs on the walls. Triangles, rectangles, circles and then prisoners were asked to improve and make their own designs.

The painters picked the brushes and colors. Others started watching it curiously. One of them was Anuj nicknamed Majnu Bhai by his friends. Meenakshi went to him and asked, ‘‘Why don’t you paint?’’

”No madam, Iam a powerlifter, never painted in life.”

”Try once.”

”No No..Iam fine.” Meenakshi pursued Majnu bhai relentlessly.

The power lifter’s hands were shaking when he dipped the brush in the color and started painting.

Anuj's hands were shaking when he painted

Anuj’s hands were shaking when he painted

Seeing him many others came forward to paint. Arun, Sanjeev, Amit….it was difficult to keep the track of names and their crimes.

By that time Ajay, Krishna and Vivek took the charge of guiding them with colors and Meenakshi decided to paint two fishes in the hexagonal structure.

Meenakshi's trademark signature.

Meenakshi’s trademark signature.

In between Jey was constantly talking to them and encouraging them. Many prisoners asked, ”Which NGO you work for and what is the message of these paintings.’’

We said, ‘We work on our own. The message is simple…you all are artist.’

One of the old prisoners looked at the paintings for a long time and said, ‘This is modern art……you can interpret them on your own way.’

We asked him, ‘Are you an artist?’ He smiled and walked away without saying a word.

In the male ward we painted a 50 ft wall with the help of prisoners.

In the male ward we painted a 50 ft wall with the help of prisoners.

When we finished, every prisoner wanted to get a photograph with us. The photo session went for 30 minutes and in between they told their stories.

Kidnapping, murder, fraud cases, dowry killings and what not..Mostly done in the heat of the moment, we felt. The agony, the regret was in their eyes.

Time for the group photo.

Time for the group photo.

It was time to leave. We packed our colors. Ajay who is finishing his five year jail on 23 February said, ‘I want to be an artist. Guide me please. ‘

The power lifter Anuj came with us to the main gate and said, ‘Take me with you. I will leave guns and paint with you guys.’

It was an emotional moment for all of us. They were emotional at that moment….maybe they were violent at some moment which landed them here.

We learnt an important lesson that day : Each moment is crucial in our lives. Moments are important in life. Moments make you what you are.

Goosebumps in the jail…

We reached the jail early in the morning

We reached the jail early in the morning

We were not exactly excited by the offer to paint in the Dasna jail with the prisoners. We were nervous, sceptical and worried about what is going to happen.

Jey was tense as he didn’t want this to happen like a media managed PR event where media gets a limited access to prisoners and all babus surround you all the time.

On a Saturday morning we started our 50 km journey to the jail via the crowded national highway 24, crisscrossing the over-crowded auto rickshaws and honking cars.

We were stopped at the gate of the jail and our bags were literally seized and our wrists stamped with the jail stamp. We were officially in the jail.

The wrist got stamped

The wrist got stamped

The superintendent of the jail Mr Shiv Prakas Yadav was a well read and friendly man who had invited us. He asked the deputy jailor Harbansh Pandey to give us a tour of the jail.

Painting started in the juvenile ward.

Painting started in the juvenile ward.

We started our first work in the juvenile ward of the jail. It was funny to wander in the jail premise. We have this image of jail where prisoners are beaten up, bad food and dreaded criminals.

Here we found nothing of that sort. Off course Meenakshi got few scary glances from some juveniles who were in the jail for heinous crimes such as murder and kidnapping.

Meenakshi decided to paint the dancing figures from the Warli art form. For the first time in the artologue project we had such enormous walls to paint; jails have walls….huge walls.

These are prisoners of the jail

These are prisoners of the jail

Jail authorities have provided us with two prisoners who have been painting in the jail Ajay and Krishna. Their job was to clean the walls and also involve other prisoners as initially we avoided the direct contact with the prisoners.

Once we made the outlines, many prisoners came forward and asked, ‘can we paint as well.’

Meenakshi replied, ‘Why not?’

The juvenile prisoners decided to increase the area of the painting and they started making figures with pencil. We stood and enjoyed the spectacle.

we did the sketch then prisoners filled the colors

we did the sketch then prisoners filled the colors

It was difficult to imagine that they were dreaded criminals.

With the juveniles, there was another barrack where some of the sensitive prisoners were staying.

One of them was a doctor named Vijay Verma. He came forward and explained, “Can we make something like a hand and butterflies?”

The guy in white is vijay verma the doctor

The guy in white is vijay verma the doctor

Vijay verma is a trained doctor who was in jail because of a medical scam in Uttar Pradesh. He has a four month old daughter. He wanted to paint something to stop the female foeticide. That’s why he gave the idea of butterflies and a pair hands.

the painting completed in few hours

the painting completed in few hours

We did the sketch and he filled the colors. I felt that he got emotional while painting. He asked about our Artologue project and said, ‘Please go to my house in lucknow. If I get bail in next few months, I will welcome you guys.’

While talking with him, we found out that many had picked the colours even the policemen who were there to protect us from the prisoners.

everyone contributed in the painting

everyone contributed in the painting

WOMEN CELL

Meenakshi thought that painting in the women cell would be easier which proved wrong.

It proved difficult to paint because there were 18 small kids along with 132 women to manage and one transgender too.

women in the jail

women in the jail

Simran was a transgender serving her life sentence. She was confident and readily agreed to paint on the designated wall. Few others came forward to paint with her.

She chose the design and started painting scenery on the wall. Meenakshi advised them on and off but that proved to be more difficult as different group of prisoners started painting their own different designs.

Jey had to manage the 18 kids living on the women cell. We wondered about these women, their crimes. We chatted with them about what they have done. Some talked…some avoided…but I remember Simran’s words.

18 small kids were in the jail with their mothers

18 small kids were in the jail with their mothers

I asked her, ‘you are so beautiful. What’s the charge on you?’

“Murder….” came the reply

“Whom did you murder?”

“Dusman tha” (He was an enemy)

The way she said those words….we had goose bumps. We really don’t know what is the truth and what is the lie…but we can say for sure we saw many different faces of humanity in the Dasna jail.

final painting in the women cell

final painting in the women cell

The group photo after the painting session.

The group photo

The group photo

(The experience of painting with the male prisoners was quite different. Next blog will be about them so wait for it.)

We laugh….We learn….We work….We dream…

Colors attract everyone

Colors attract everyone

They were quite……obedient…and sharp. They listened what we had to say in rapt attention. They were kids from very poor backgrounds.

Many of them have been rescued as child laborers. Many of them still work as laborers in small shops, factories and in their homes stitching clothes, making doormats, spinning threads and all those works which we don’t even think about.

They explained there work in vivid details. They talked about their pain, their problems, their work and their dreams. They painted the walls with steady hands. They laughed with their hearts out.

Meenakshi talking to kids and teachers in the school

Meenakshi talking to kids and teachers in the school

They were responsible kids who taught us to value small things in our life. It has been a learning experience for both of us.

We met these kids in a school run by an NGO in Panipat.

In this blog we will simply tell you their stories……and an alternate way of tackling the huge issue of child labors in India.

Kadir work as a doormat maker.

Kadir work as a doormat maker.

Abdul Kadir- age 13 years- I study in this school and learn to repair mobile. I go home in afternoon and then I make door mats. My job is to fold the corners of doormats and stitch them. My parents bring work from outside. I can stitch a whole doormat but I want to be a dancer when I grow up.

Asma works in a kirana shop after school

Asma works in a kirana shop after school

Ashma Mad- age 8 years- I learn computers here. I work in a grocery shop. I measure wheat, rice and other things in the shop and give it to people. I work for five-six hours in the evening but I want to open my own computer center.

Sanjeev separates threads at home.

Sanjeev separates threads at home.

Sanjeev- age- 7-8 years- I am small so I get the work of separating threads. I get small threads of different colors from the factory and my job is to separate the thread of each colour. I get three rupees per hour. I want to be a policemen and help people.

We work as benders

We work as benders

Saddam and Shadab- 11 years- We work as benders. Bender’s job is to join the small threads and make a long thread of the same color. we do it on a machine and also by hand. Its like this….sanjeev separates the threads and we join them. With those threads, factory workers make clothes.

Rakesh helped us with little kids. he was so responsible

Rakesh helped us with little kids. he was so responsible

Rakesh- 15 years- I came here from Patna. My father met an accident. I came to this school two years ago. Now I know computers and mobile repair work. I work in a power loom. Our work is to make quilt, shawls and bed sheets from the threads. I can work on all kinds of looms. I earn ten thousand rupees in a month and my parents depend on me.

Ramnivas made all intricate designs

Ramnivas made all intricate designs

Ramnivas- 14 years- I learn embroidery here. I have a tea stall where I work with my father in the evening. I feel good here as I learn something new. I want to open a computer center when I grow up.

artists with kids
Yasmin (in green)- 12-13 years- In the school I learn the work of a beautician. At home I stitch cushion covers and pillows. I want to work in a bank and learn computers.

Anjali (in red)- 14 years-I am learning computer here. I stitch the sofa covers, cushions and anything which comes in my way. my father can’t walk. I want to earn money so that I can get my father treated.

This is what we did in panipat

This is what we did in panipat

We enjoyed doing the paintings on the wall but since we have come home, we are looking at our bed sheets, shawls, sofa covers and what not….the moment we see these things…something gets stuck in our throats…don’t know why…

 

The kids wanted Meenakshi to paint something unique for them so she signed off in her own style

The kids wanted Meenakshi to paint something unique for them so she signed off in her own style

The poster painter and revolutionary lovers

collage2

Jey and Meenakshi used the block prints for the first time in their murals. It was  innovative and intriguing for art lovers to make imprints on the wall.

1

Priyamvad is a comrade who can sketch beautifully.The moment we entered their home, we saw Pash’s poems and sketches by Priyamvad. We asked and got to know that Priyamvad used to paint poster in his college days.

2

Nar and Mada or Man and Woman was our concept. we wanted to portray the love between Priyamvad and Vibhavari; the love which filled hearts of many including our’s.

3

Meet the  hosts: Vibhavari and Priyamvad deciding about what to feed Jey and Meenakshi. Quite an intense discussion…….YEAH……!

4

After Lunch, Meenakshi picked up the Neon shades to brighten the wall……She always choses bright colors like her headgear. ……oooops….and Jey’s Hair-threads….

5

NO….Its not Complete Yet..You have to scroll down…ha ha ha ha…The wall looked something like this in the evening. In the painting, woman’s hand is beneath that of man’s to signify that she forms the base of the family. The idea propagated by Priyamvad and consolidated by Meenakshi..Hmmmmm…Artistic Collaboration…

collage1

The Photo session in the evening: ”Smile please”….”I don’t want to see the camera”…”Oh I am sleepy”….”Oh I love Vibhavari”…..Priyam never said these things but Camera captured it.

6

This is Laughing time. All posing for camera with their teeth flashing and detective Photographer Jey is lying on the first floor taking this beautiful picture…….

7

”I made this….I made this….. I made this…take my picture…” The thousand watt smile flashed and our heart filled with joy..who says only painters can paint….everyone can paint and…off course ART IS FOR ALL….

8

The intense Priyamvad: Priyamvad painted the male with symbols of hard work…that was his way of showing his commitment to this ideals…He really sketches well…

9 Now the time  for group photo: Man-Woman and flowery designs……Woman filled with intricate pattern and Man filled with symbols of hard work. Jey trying to see the work and get the photograph clicked.

 

अंतहीन आकाश और सपनों के रंग

अक्सर ही कोई बुलाता है…अपने घर…याद नहींं प्रियंवद ने कैसे बुलाया था…पर इतना याद है कि फोन पर बात करते समय प्रियंवद संयत और अत्यंत मधुर लगे थे….बात कैसे बढ़ी ये भी याद नहींं..लेकिन पहुंच गए थे हम पेंटिंग करने…..हम अपना अनुभव इस ब्लॉग के बाद साझा करेंगे लेकिन पहले प्रियंंवद और विभावरी ने जो लिखा है वो पढ़ा जाए.

The hosts- Priyam and Vibhavari

The hosts- Priyam and Vibhavari

यह कहानी उन तीन लोगों की है जो आपस में बेइन्तेहाँ प्यार करते हैं. एक दूसरे के साथ हजारों मील की दूरी तय कर चुके ये तीन प्रेमी हैं- जे सुशील, मीनाक्षी झा और उनकी हरी बुलेट!

पिछले दिनों ‘प्रेमोत्सव 4’ के सिलसिले में इनका हमारे घर पर आना हुआ. इन तीनों की केमिस्ट्री गज़ब की है!!! दो घर के भीतर पेंट कर रहे होते हैं तो तीसरी घर के बाहर होकर भी दोनों की बातों में हर वक़्त इनके साथ होती है! हरी बुलेट के लिए जे और मीनाक्षी का प्यार यूँ ही नहीं है! वह उन दोनों की हमराह है…न जाने कितने दुर्गम इलाकों तक पहुँच को इसने मुमकिन बनाया है इन दोनों के लिए!

Preparing for the travel to south

Preparing for the travel to south

अब ज़रा जे और मीनाक्षी के बारे में भी बात कर लें. दोनों के बीच एक ऐसा तालमेल है जो दोनों की शख्सियत को बैलेंस करता है. जैसे-दोनों ही बातूनी हैं लेकिन अगर एक बोल रहा है तो दूसरा कम बोलने का प्रयास करेगा ताकी पहले की बात पर पूरा फोकस हो सके.

या फिर पेंटिंग करते वक्त पहला, दूसरे को उन बिंदुओं पर सहयोग करेगा जहाँ उसकी ज़रूरत है या फिर बात-चीत के दौरान किसी भी एक के आउट ऑफ कंट्रोल हो जाने से पहले ही दूसरा उसे टोक देगा.

दोनों के रिश्ते में यह समझदारी देखते ही बनती है. इस समझ का यह स्तर देख कर आप भरोसा नहीं कर पाते कि दोनों के बीच नौ साल का अंतर है! बड़ा या छोटा कौन ये तो भूल ही जाइए!

The two main sketches by priyamvad

The two main sketches by priyamvad

दोनों के बीच ये समझ कहीं न कहीं उन संघर्षों की बदौलत भी आई है जो इन्हें एक-दूसरे को पाने के लिए समाज और पितृसत्ता के साथ करनी पड़ी.

वे तकलीफें कहीं न कहीं इनके भीतर बाकी है अभी…वो गुस्सा…वो खलिश अभी भी सालती है इन्हें! लेकिन ये गुस्सा ये खलिश और ये तकलीफें इन्हें तोड़ नहीं पायीं हैं बल्कि कहीं न कहीं इनकी मजबूती का सबब ही बनी हैं! दोनों ने अपनी सृजनात्मक ऊर्जा को पेंटिंग में बखूबी इस्तेमाल किया है.

Jey filled the colours- his favorite work

Jey filled the colours- his favorite work

न सिर्फ खुद के लिए बल्कि उन सबके लिए जो रंगों से जुड़ा महसूस करते हैं…जिन्हें पेंटिंग से खुशी मिलती है! और मैं नहीं समझती कि दुनिया में कोई भी ऐसा सहृदय होगा या होगी जिसे रंग आकर्षित न करते हों. अपवादों पर यह बात लागू नहीं होती.

Meenakshi made delicate designs inside the women figure.

Meenakshi made delicate designs inside the women figure.

मीनाक्षी एक बेहतरीन मिमिक भी हैं तो जे यानी सुशील का सेन्स ऑफ ह्यूमर गज़ब का है! पूरी पेंटिंग के दौरान दोनों के साथ हंस-हंस कर हम दोनों पागल हो गए लगते थे.

Time for good wishes from the host.

Time for good wishes from the host.

हमें ऐसा महसूस ही नहीं हुआ कि हम इन दोनों से पहली बार मिल रहे हैं! बेहद मिलनसार और सृजनात्मक ऊर्जा से लबरेज़ यह जोड़ा तमाम जगहों तक यदि अपनी कला को विस्तार दे पा रहा है…हमारे घर की दीवार जैसी न जाने कितनी दीवारों पर सपनों के रंग भर पा रहा है तो उसके पीछे निश्चित रूप से उनका प्यार, आपसी समझ और अपने सपनों को पाने की ज़िद है!

Jey and Meenakshi posing for the camera.

Jey and Meenakshi posing for the camera.

ये ज़िद उन्हें नित नयी ऊचाईयां दे इन्हीं शुभकामनाओं के साथ…

प्रियंवद-विभावरी

Escape to the world of fantasy….

The work started with a chit chat where we asked them what they want to be

The work started with a chit chat where we asked them what they want to be

The message was simple, ‘I saw your work. its really good. Can you guys come and paint at our learning centre in Shahpur Jat.’

Jey replied, ‘If you guys work with kids, then why not, but let me ask Meenakshi first.’

Within three days of this conversation on Facebook we landed up in a flat in Shahpur Jat, which was a learning centre for kids. Here we met Avanti fellows and eleven kids who threw random strange maths problems for us to solve before allowing us to talk.

We fixed the color day and asked children to bring useless objects from their homes. We had plans of creating a collage with random stuff and colors for the learning center.

One side of the wall. a fantasy world of chocolates

One side of the wall. a fantasy world of chocolates

On the designated day we had a small chit chat session where we asked them what their dream jobs irrespective of their academic training are.

Fellows who were trained engineers revealed they wanted to be writers, businessmen, bakery owners, agriculturists and so on. While many students shared their dream of becoming cricketer, another singer and two girls wanted to travel four corners of India.

One fellow wanted to open a dhaba, another school. Few of them were already running their own small business and wanted to become entrepreneurs.

Soon we started working and all of us got divided in three groups.

One group was quite clear about what they want to make

One group was quite clear about what they want to make

A big wall which had a small window was selected. Taking window as their main inspiration the participants decided to paint window like frames as an escape door to their fantasy world that comprised of open nature on one side of the window and the ‘sweet’ world of chocolate and cookies on the other side.

Vani, Sanchi, Henna, Utpal, Vatsal, Nitin pitched in furiously to paint the trees and leaves.

It was a big group so forgive us to forget others’ names.

One side of the wall came alive with two big trees with strong orange and green colors. Third group was sad as they were not able to figure out how to go about creating their ‘sweet’ world and got stuck after making an orange frame.

The wall had different paintings on both sides

The wall had different paintings on both sides

Swarnima a fellow and Kajal a student looked sad. In between, Sanchi was worried that walls should not get messed as they used the space for official meetings.

We told her, ‘DO NOT WORRY’ but she didn’t seem convinced.

A student named Vishal came with the idea of painting Mario and he did a sketch. Mario is a cartoon character. Mario was painted by all the fellows.

While the first wall got more and more colorful the other wall looked empty and people working on that wall were sad.

Meenakshi adjusted the dragon

Meenakshi adjusted the dragon

It was then that the Master Artist intervened. Meenakshi had a serious look on both the walls and we decided to connect both of them in a way only Meenakshi could have imagined.

She with the help of other participants extended the branches of trees on to the other side of the wall. The branches looked like hands embracing the ‘sweet’ fantasy world on the other side of the window.

Most of the fellows wanted to put their hand prints on the wall so the leaves of the trees and hand prints merged signifying the desired harmony between nature, human and our fantasy world.

The world of mario

The world of mario

The fantasy world on the other wall came alive with the Red dragon which was actually a broken ironing machine. Yes broken ironing machine that was painted by a student.

Another Mario kind of a guy came up near the fantasy world. Actually it was a fellow whom kids missed.

We won’t name him.

Kids and fellows missed one of their friend so they drew him

Kids and fellows missed one of their friend so they drew him

Once both the murals got connected, everyone felt delighted. Even Swarnima, Vani and Kajal heaved a sigh of relief that their wall looked equally good as the other wall.

Sanchi smiled. “Walls look good.”

So the day ended with smiles on the faces once again.

All the fellow wanted their hand prints.

All the fellow wanted their hand prints.

Since we have completed this mural, we have been getting messages from the fellows almost every day saying how much they have enjoyed it.

Thanks guys. We also enjoyed creating the real and fantasy world with you all.

The Real Cake

The Real Cake

हरी बुलेट की डायरी

You can see ie Green Bullet and Jey and Meenakshi in background

You can see ie Green Bullet and Jey and Meenakshi in background

आप लोगों ने अक्सर जे सुशील और मीनाक्षी जे का लिखा हुआ ब्लॉग पढ़ा होगा. आज मैंने सोचा कि ये ब्लॉग मैं लिखूं….मैं…बोले तो वही हरी बुलेट. तो सुनिए राजस्थान की यात्रा मेरी जुबानी..भर्रभर्रर्रर्रर्रर्रर्र.

जाड़े की अनसुनी सी धूप…175 किलोमीटर की दूरी और ये दो पागल जने..जो पिछले कई दिनों से बेचैन थे कि कहीं दीवार रंगनी है.

अभिषेक कई महीनों से हमें बुला रहे थे खेतड़ी पेंटिंग करने के लिए लेकिन मीनाक्षी के शो..और जे की नौकरी.

Sometimes I need a push as well

Sometimes I need a push as well

तबीयत थोड़ी मेरी भी ख़राब सी थी. बैटरी में पानी कम था और कारबोरेटर में कचरा भी. जे दो बार अलग अलग मैकेनिक के पास ले जा चुका था. कारबोरेटर का कचरा साफ होने के बाद अच्छा महसूस कर रहा हूं.

खैर …सुबह रवाना हुए तो गुड़गांव तक लगा कि सांस नहीं ले पा रहा हूं. इतनी धूल की धूप

ज़मीन तक न पहुंचे. मीनाक्षी और जे का भी यही हाल था. मुंह बांधे दोनों धीरे धीरे मेरे साथ चल रहे थे.

रेवाड़ी पहुंचने के बाद थोड़ी सांस में सांस आई. थोड़े ऊबड़ खाबड़ रास्तों से होते हुए शाम तक पहुंचे तो पता चला कि यहां गांधी फेलोज़ के साथ रुकना है जिनमें सबके पास मोटरसाइकिल थी..हां उनकी मोटरसाइकिल मेरे जितनी सुंदर नहीं थी.

All Gandhi fellows and Me..with Jey and Meenakshi

All Gandhi fellows and Me..with Jey and Meenakshi

सबने मुझे प्यार से देखा और दुलार भी किया. दूसरे दिन सुबह किले की सवारी थी. सारी गाड़ियां हांफ गई लेकिन मुझे बहुत मज़ा आया.

फिर पहुंचे स्कूल भड भड भड करते हुए. वो रास्ता सुहाना था पहाड़ों के बीच से श्योलपुर गांव. बच्चों ने जो स्वागत किया वो तो आप पूछो मत. तस्वीरों में देख लो.

मैं तो छांव में खड़ा हो गया आराम करने…और जे-मीनाक्षी लग गए काम में.

बच्चों से रंग करवाने में….बच्चों को गाने सुनाने में…रेलगाडी बनाने में….खूब मस्ती हुई…मैं कोने से नीले हरे पीले रंग देखता रहा और अपने हरे रंग पर इतराता रहा.

Managing kids is tough but Gandhi fellows helped a lot

Managing kids is tough but Gandhi fellows helped a lot

हां बच्चों के साथ जे इतना मगन हो गया कि उसने मुझे दिन में एक बार भी दुलार नहीं किया तो शाम को मैंने भी सोचा कि स्टार्ट होने में मज़ा चखाऊंगा.

दोपहर से शाम कब हुई पता नहीं चला…बच्चों ने स्कूल का स्टेज भी रंग दिया था और लगभग सारी दीवारें भी..

चलने की बारी आई तो देखा जे और मीनाक्षी खुश थे…मैंने स्टार्ट होने में थोड़ी आनाकानी की लेकिन फिर शुरु हो गया क्योंकि वापसी का सुंदर सा रास्ता जो तय करना था.

स्कूल से बाहर निकले तो मैं अवाक रह गया…सामने की टंकी पर किसी बच्चे ने मेरी भी फोटू बना दी थी..हां जी बुलेट की….

The bike painted on the wall was our high point

The bike painted on the wall was our high point

बस एक गड़बड़ थी उस पर किसी कंपनी का नाम लिख दिया था.

कोई बात नहीं……बच्चे हैं बच्चों से क्या नाराज़गी….लेकिन एक बात है..

बच्चे सिर्फ जे और मीनाक्षी को ही नहीं मुझे भी प्यार करते हैं…..है न…और ज़ाहिर है आप लोग जो ये ब्लॉग पढ़ रहे हैं वो तो मुझे प्यार करते ही हैं.

कोलियान नगर का स्कूल 

ये वाला स्कूल तो शहर में ही था. स्कूल छोटा सा था और बच्चे भी कम.

जे थोड़ा तनाव में था कि आज क्या बनेगा. मीनाक्षी चिल्ड थी मेरी तरह कि कुछ न कुछ तो बन ही जाएगा.

Gandhi Fellow Richa singing the boogie boogie song with kids

Gandhi Fellow Richa singing the boogie boogie song with kids

ये जे सोचता बहुत है…लेकिन गजब गजब चीज़ सोच लेता है..बच्चे आए….गांधी फेलोज़ ने गाने सुनाए..सबमें ऊर्जा भरी गई..मुझे लगा अब बच्चों में इतनी ऊर्जा आ गई है तो वो कहीं मेरे साथ दौड़ न लगा लें.

लेकिन सब लाइन बनाकर दीवार के पास चले गए. फिर सब बतियाने लगे. मैं सुन नहीं पा रहा था फिर मैंने देखा कि सारे बच्चे अलग अलग बैठ गए ग्रुप बना कर.

मीनाक्षी ने कुछ रंग लिया और हरे रंग की रेखा बनने लगी…..वाह वाह ..हरा रंग मेरा भी और इस पेंटिंग का भी….अरे ये तो नाव जैसा कुछ बन रहा है…..

Meenakshi drawing the boat in the sea

Meenakshi drawing the boat in the sea

ओहो हरी नाव…बन रही है..अच्छा आइडिया है रेगिस्तान में नाव बनाने का..और वो भी हरी नाव..माने हरियाली वाली नाव.

जे से पूछूंगा आइडिया कैसे आया था नाव बनाने का…अब एक बार नाव बन गई उसके बाद देखा कि बच्चे भी कुछ बना रहे हैं कागज़ से.

अरे वो भी नाव बना रहे हैं. लाल, नीली, सतरंगी नाव..ये सारी नावें बड़े नाव पर लगेंगी….मैं समझ गया था…बहुत चतुर हूं मैं.

मतलब कोलियान नगर में मीनाक्षी ने कलाकारी दिखाई है बच्चों की मदद से. जे तो खेल रहा था बच्चों के साथ…उसका काम तो ब्लॉग लिखने का है जो बाद में लिखेगा….

It was out fun time too

It was out fun time too

कोलियान नगर का काम जल्दी खत्म हुआ तो हम लोग गए मरुस्थल देखने…छोटा मगर खूबसूरत रेगिस्तान है खेतड़ी में भी और हां एक वीरान पुरानी सी तांबे की खान भी देखी हमने.

बहुत सुंदर…राजस्थान…का सफर सुंदर रहा…फिर आना चाहेंगे हम तीनों…..जे सुशील…मीनाक्षी और मैं..आपकी हरी बुलेट.

I can not caption this photo

I can not caption this photo

Sea of colors in Desert

kids created various designs with papers

kids created various designs with papers

Another day, another school, another chance to create something new.

By now we had learnt a little more about the Gandhi Fellows and we decided to involve them in our madness along with the kids.

This school was smaller than the previous one with fewer students but equipped with separate learning rooms. I was excited and ready to try my hand on something big.

In the morning assembly we asked the children what is it that they want to paint on their school wall but nobody replied. Perhaps just like us they were also not very sure of what to paint. Then Jey blew his whistle as if to wake everybody from sleep and I asked what is it that is scarce in Rajasthan? Along with many mumbles came a faint voice- ‘water’.

“So can we paint river, or sea?” asked Jey.

“Yessss…” came the chorus answer.

Meenakshi decided to draw a boat in the sea

Meenakshi decided to draw a boat in the sea

And we marched on to the designated wall with Jey heading the group blowing his whistle.

I drew a line to demarcate sea level and a big ship on a 30×15 feet wall.

While I was busy discussing with Jey how to group kids and what jobs to assign them, Ashish, a very shy Gandhi fellow redid my whole drawing. It was good to see him participating in the creative process on his own.

Then I requested Richa, another fellow, to guide kids in making colourful paper boats and she happily agreed. She loves carving jail design on paper. Similarly every fellow was put on work according to their interest.

Richa and many other fellows helped kids

Richa and many other fellows helped kids

One group of kids made paper boats; one group cut fishes, shrimps, octopus, and many other imaginative sea creatures while the fellows along with Jey painted the sea with a long bunch of threads.

They made blue colour with indigo and fevicol and imprinted wave pattern with the threads on the wall.

It was out fun time too

It was out fun time too

All grown-ups including principle, teachers and of course the fellows and us dirtied their hands blue. Pradeep, one of the fellows, imprinted thread pattern on the outer walls of principle office.

It was real fun time.

When Jey announced that we will be sticking colourful boats on to the ship, every student who had made boats collected their boats and rushed to the wall.

kids had great fun drawing the sea

kids had great fun drawing the sea

It was little difficult to calm down excited kid but Jey worked magic with his whistle. All kids made a queue holding their colourful boats in their hand and waited for their turn.

Finally colourful boats were stuck on the big ship, fishes were stuck on the blue waves and the sun shone brightly on it. Later a child brought a paper cutting of Indian flag which we stuck on the front deck of the ship.

one of the fellows tried to sit on the boat

one of the fellows tried to sit on the boat

The painting was complete.

The traditional group photo with kids

The traditional group photo with kids

Oh Yes …….forgot to show you the picture of the mural…so here it is…Enjoy the boat of education in the sea of desert called Rajasthan.

One can interpret that its a boat of education which will take kids to their destination.

One can interpret that its a boat of education which will take kids to their destination.

The Blue Motorcycle…

Green Bullet arrived with a caravan of other bikes

Green Bullet arrived with a caravan of other bikes

It was a sunday and no government school is suppose to be opened, but Sheolpura village is unique. They decided to meet the Artologue team on a Sunday with full attendance of teachers and students.

We reached late and surprised to see that every student was present in the school and eager to paint. They have been told about the wanderers of green bullet.

After the assembly which was fully conducted by two girls named Chanda and Janta ( surprising for us because assemblies are normally conducted by teachers), we started our work. Later Janta took us to her home and showed us the things she had made.

The school principal asked us to plant a tree.

The school principal asked us to plant a tree.

Ah…yes, I forgot to mention. We planted a pair of banyan tree in the school campus. It was the idea of the lovely principal of the school Mr Shri Ram Sharma. A middle aged man open for any idea.

The school kids surprised us with their obedient manner. we divided them in three groups and started the work.

First group was assigned to work on the pillars of the school.

The kids from higher classes painted on the pillars

The kids from higher classes painted on the pillars

Second group decided to paint on the stage in the middle and third group of very small kids asked to be assigned.

and we assigned them to play with color and water.

The small ones loved to get their hands painted

The small ones loved to get their hands painted

The pillars were furiously painted with flowers, birds, elephants and other motifs whereas the small ones made a circle with their hand prints.

The second lot neither had colors nor brush. They waited patiently and one of them went to Meenakshi and asked, ‘Didi, we also want to paint.’

The stage was painted in blue

The stage was painted in blue

Then Meenakshi made blue color with indigo and brushes with dried sticks and threads from the discarded rug. They enjoyed making those brushes and then they painted the stage BLUE.

Time flew like anything and it was evening before we realized. The time came for the traditional group photos and to leave.

The Traditional group photo

The Traditional group photo

When we came out of the school we saw something and stopped.

One of the kids had painted a bike on the water tank. No one knows which kid painted that. We didn’t ask anyone to paint on the water tank but someone got some inspiration and did it on his/her own.

The bike painted on the wall was our high point

The bike painted on the wall was our high point

We were overwhelmed with the gesture……with the little fulfillment that we ignited the artist in those kids……

with that image in mind we bid goodbye to Sheolpura school.

Had to prepare for the next day…..next painting…

we painted our palms and gave prints

we painted our palms and gave prints