The moment he saw us, he came galloping to us like a horse. It was the moment of joy to see an old buddy. He was Tarun. We studied together in Class XI and XII. We were meeting after almost a gap of ten years.
After the school we went our own ways, not keeping any touch. My destiny took me to journalism. Tarun, studied hard, did his PhD and now teaches in BITS Pilani, Goa; a well reputed technical college.
We didn’t know much about each other’s families. Meenakshi was meeting Tarun and his family for the first time. It was like meeting strangers.
That’s why I told him that after painting the wall, we will move to a hotel in Goa. He replied, ‘stay with me. I will entertain you.’
Entertainer he was and still is.
We reached his home in goa. Nice, cosy campus well situated in a cup shaped plateau. An old structured house, spacious and well aired.
So many walls! Meenakshi said. It was her first impression.
Tarun’ wife Anupama teaches in a school. Their two lovely daughters-Apoorva aka Butu and Aditri aka Tutu were our companions in the house.
When Butu, who is 6 years old and Tutu, 4 years old, came back from school they were not surprised. Butu started watching TV and Tutu started making sketches on a piece of paper.
Tarun said, ‘this is the only thing Tutu does when she is home.’
Tutu is a wonder child. She doesn’t watch TV. She never disturbs anyone. She plays alone and makes sketches for hours.
If you want us to come and paint at your place. please mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meenakshi smiled, she knew the project is going to be engaging.
In the evening I showed some paintings of Meenakshi to the family. There were some fish motifs and other designs from her exhibitions in past years. ( I Will upload those pictures later on this blog).
Before dinner time, Tarun started cooking like an expert Chef, giving his witty one liner as well. We were surprised with his culinary efficiency and asked, do you cook often?
‘‘ Often! I cook everyday, lunch and dinner. I love to cook. It’s a kind of stress buster for me and I know I cook well so don’t say that you didn’t like the food. Cooking is also an art. I love good food especially when presented well.”
It’s a rarity in Indian homes that husband cooks everyday and feels good about it.
So what would you like to get on your wall? Meenakshi asked the family.
Tarun’s wife was busy with the kids helping them do the homework. She said- whatever the kids want. Tarun made his funny face serious and said- ‘I would like to get a fish with many fishes in it.’
Tutu and Butu echoed- Fish….Fish. We want fish. Then Tutu specified- I want a butterfly fish. Butu wanted a caterpillar fish. A kite fish, a ball fish. Blah blah blah.
And the process began. Meenakshi thought for a while (She figures out the shape in her mind and then puts it on paper for more clarity).
Once that is done we opened our pandora’s box- the bag of Colours and happiness started flowing in the air.
Within minutes there was a brush in everyone’s hands. Kids took papers and started painting whatever they wanted to. Meenakshi started her work on the wall and Tarun bought an oval cardboard and said- I want to paint this as well.
Meenakshi started painting on the wall. But it was not as per her plan on the paper. She seemed to make fishes of different shape in a circle but when she stopped it looked like a giant fish trying to catch its tail.
It had all the fishes of children’s wish- ball fish, kite fish, caterpillar fish, girl fish, baby fish, moustached fish and what not. Everybody cheered seeing the sketch as it was beautiful. It was a big fish that comprised of several small fishes.
Next was the task of decorating the fishes that took two days. Butu and Tutu made designs on the paper for their favourite fishes and asked Meenakshi to paint them on the wall.
The most surprising part was Tarun’s involvement. He took the colour and brush and made very intricate designs on two fishes. While painting he said- you know sushil, I had almost forgotten that I used to make good sketches in school.
It was true. Tarun had a very good handwriting. Meenakshi pointed out that Tarun’s hands are very steady even on the vertical surface. No spilling of colours, no complaints. Sheer pleasure of watching him paint was one of our high points painting the Big Fish.
Meenakshi finished the rest of the fishes with her perfect hand and complicated designs. I chipped in at some point just to try and hone my own skills. At some point even the children were involved in painting so that this experience should be registered on their tabula-rasa.
The project was complete. We were really happy with the experience and we could see the glint in the eyes of Tarun. He said, you know what, when you guys will leave. I will paint that oval cardboard. We will remember you whenever we will see this wall.
I looked at Meenakshi and she was saying- look at Tarun, one more artist we have discovered.