‘’Welcome to the house with stars …’’ announced a mid-aged man switching off all the lights the moment we entered his home. Next second the home was lit with stars and another figure appeared with an unforgettable warm smile.
They were Virendra and Renu Sangwan from Panchkula. An ex-army officer who is now working as a Cyber expert with a multinational company and a strict principal who is now promoted to take over new responsibility.
They invited us to paint at their new house where they are to shift soon. It is first time that we were invited to paint in a brand new house. The star lights was made by Virendra with the help of a pipe and a light. As he explained the secret of the light, we realized that we have to make something really interesting here because Virendra and Renu were quite creative in their own way.
The wall hangings, another set of light bulbs (made with the liquor cases), traditional hukka, chakki (grain grinder) and a cot in bottle helped us notice their taste for traditional arts. Next morning they showed us an amazing thing that said volumes about them.
It was bunches of thorny Babool/ Kikar branches that they had hung in their balcony to provide nesting place for endangered house sparrows. Nearly hundred birds were nesting in those branches.
On the first evening we had the feeling that uncle wanted us to paint on every wall of their new house. He was full of ideas. Renu aunty was patient and was busy feeding us delicious food and drinks. Her presence was serene.
After dinner when we went to see the new house and then we asked- “What would you like us to paint?” Aunty said- “I would like you to paint a Banyan tree which shelters hundreds of birds, animals, reptiles and humans alike.”
The sentence came so beautifully that uncle’s all ideas got side-lined and he said- “Yes we want a Banyan tree.”
They had already chosen the place; the balcony of master bedroom. The wall of the balcony is visible from other buildings and from the main road as well. It was a strategic choice. They wanted everyone to see their Tree.
Keeping their inclination for traditional arts in mind, next day Meenakshi decided to make a Banyan tree with ropes. Ropes were cut in different sizes and coloured accordingly. In the heat of June we started to make the tree that gives shadow to many.
With just few directions uncle and aunty picked up the work. We just did bits of the work. The tree was actually made by them.
Next day a small house-warming ritual took place. We became part of their very private ceremony and felt happy with the love and care they showered on us.
The banyan tree took shape. While the unfinished work on the Tree was being completed by Sushil and aunty, Meenakshi made a smiling sun on the front door with uncle’s help.
You may call it our finished work but we know it is unfinished. Virendra and Renu have many ideas to decorate the Banyan tree. We hope that in next few months the Tree will grow richer with the couples’ creativity.
And that is the whole purpose of Artologue: to awaken the artist in everyone. Virendra and Renu were already naturally creative, we just aired their interest. In return we got love, care and yet another family in this world to call our very own.