He stood out among the crowd. He was alone.
The other kids are having a field day in the park. They run, scream, yell, fall, bawl, and are picked up and soothed by their parents.
He simply stands alone on one side and looks at them with a wan smile on his face.
And then the announcements are made. Like clockwork, the rest of the kids assume their favorite positions. They open their dainty little satchels and lay out their pens, pencils, sketch-pens, paint bottle, paint-tubes – all the tools of the trade…
He doesn’t have anything…
Some of (relatively) richer-ones have drawing-boards. Those who don’t, sneak a look at the others with a gleam in their eyes. Now they know what they want for their birthday…
He probably doesn’t know when he was born…
To avoid their clothes getting soiled, the parents have arranged for old newspapers for their little kids to sit on. (Or is it to avoid the trouble of washing them again & again? I don’t really know…)
His clothes have cleaned the windshields of innumerable cars that regularly stop at the junction.
The competition starts. The kids works away at their drawings furiously. They race against time to put their thoughts on the paper.
Scrawl. Erase. Scrawl. Erase.
He looks at the sky. There’s a dreamy look in his eyes.
The judges are walking around. They point to this & that, him & her. They search the talent they are looking for. They find a few possibilities. Nothing definite, yet.
One of them spots him.
“Would you like to paint, too?”
His is shaken out of his reverie. Confused, he says the first thing that comes to his mind.
“Come.” The judge says.
The judge borrows a paper from one of the kids. A pencil from another. Some newspaper from a parent. He sits the kid down. Another kid offers to share his colors, on his own.
He is confused, “But what shall I paint?”
“Anything.” The judge smiles and walks away.
He puts pencil to the paper and starts…
This is a completely true story. On the 24th of January, 200-odd kids had descended on to Sambhaji Park (in Pune) for our event titled, “Paint My India.” The judges for the event were local Art Teachers and the Chief Guest for the occasion was Mr. Prabhakar Wadekar, of “Chintoo” fame.
He was the one who spotted Akshay and invited him to paint along with the other kids.
I am glad I met him. :)