I reach the site early to beat the sun.
Maybe I was too early. The roads were being cleaned by a pourakarmika lady. She stopped to view my work and appreciate it. She said its very nice.
Heartwarming. Tried to thank her through the language barrier. Words i do know – Dhanyawada gulu- flew off like anything. She left with a smile saying thankyou.
As usual my pals raju and ajmer came up to chat. We shared berries and raju helped me for a while. He skips school today and upon asking, he replies just because..
Ajmer came up to chat on the way to his school, and wheedled 5rs out of me for a pen. I searched his pencil box first just to make sure its not candy cash he’s after. The 5 bucks for the pen were exchanged with a terse instruction of buying the pen only. He says he will show it to me upon purchase.
With the help of Raju we completed two more figures in the composition. Upon his request, gave him one of my stencils with which he wishes to paint in his house.
My offer to paint it for him was summarily rejected on the point that he wishes to do it himself. We had a small discussion on cutting stencils, which frankly i have no right to give gyan on as i myself am a novice at it.
And besides there was this huge lecture by me on not skipping school and how important it is to get good marks.
Maybe it was a little too much and he weared off for a while. Later Vyas took him along with himself to his Paint Site.
After a while i was alone, painting.
Strangers kept coming up to view the process on their way to wherever. Most of them were pleasant. A guy on a bike stopped to tell me he ‘appreciates my initiative’. (Which is not mine though. Amitabh, Start bangalore all the way through..) He did want to chat a bit, but left upon seeing one of my male companion Artist – fellow Student at CKP, Vyas come up behind him. Phew! That was helpful.
And then there was an elderly fellow who came up and kept viewing my work from different angles, for a few minutes. Frankly speaking i was a little spooked by his popping up behind me left- right- left. Later he came up to me and demanded my phone number. His reason was he wanted to contract me to paint for him.
I succinctly pointed him towards Vyas and told the fellow, go talk to our Sir. Upon that this guy grumbles a bit about not getting my number and then he leaves too. That was a relief.
Painting on the street is a lot of fun, it has its own hazards too. Maybe men feel a woman painting on the street is more approachable. I am sure none of these guys would have come up and spoken to me had i been just walking on the street. A bane/ a boon/ whatever. Working on the wall opens up dialogues unthinkable normally too. Sometime it paves way for pleasant experiences. At times not. Thanks Vyas for working near me. Although I shouldn’t have used his manly shoulders as a crutch to hide behind during these dialogues. Next time around, will try and find a more creative solution. Some of the artists i have come across use headphones for the “do not approach me, i’m busy ” Vibe..
But how far will it be successful in india where one and all men feel its their birthright to come up to a woman painting on the street and be able to talk to her if she is alone.
Right now, on the way home. Sitting on the raised floor of a bus. No seats and am too tired to stand. There is one more woman sitting next to me with her child. Moral support. The lady right next to me asks, India? And I nod Yes. Cos this definitely is India.