Artists are storytellers. Some write their stories in ink; some spill them on canvas. Some shape it on clay, while others put bits and pieces together and create masterpieces.
We met two such storytellers as part of our initiative to find individuals who are #Twicestyled. For them, art is profound and therapeutic. It is home, both literally and figuratively.
As soon as you enter their premises, the mellow sound of bells is heard and you finally understand what Alice must have felt like in Wonderland. You are faced with a plethora of beautiful, rustic artwork. From the gate to the pathway to the walls to the verandah, every nook and cranny is utilized to accommodate a creation. And the story goes on inside the house. There is not a square inch of space that has been left bare. Everywhere you look, there is a masterpiece waiting to be admired.
What is even more beautiful is that most of these artworks are created from recycled material- pieces of scrap metal, broken pots, discarded pieces of wood, tires, pebbles…the list is endless.
Now that we are inside their home, let’s meet the protagonists of our story. Mr Pravin Kumar Chaudhary is a retired IAS officer. His lifelong affair with art started in the village where he was raised. It was all in the little details- from fashioning slingshots out of forked tree branches to taking pieces of stone and metal and transforming them into the statue of a woman. The daily diet of stories he grew up on- Ramayan, Mahabharata, Classical Sanskrit Literature like Kalidasa’s Shakuntala- is also a huge influence on his creations. The influence of these stories comes alive not just in his art, but in his conversations as well. It is difficult to decide what is more entertaining- watching Mr Chaudhary at work or listening to his accompanying monologue- laced with wit, metaphors, and a healthy topping of sarcasm.
The other protagonist is his daughter, Ms Rachana Chaudhary- a finance professional and senior executive in an MNC. She narrates the story of how, as a child, she carved a lotus on the headlight of their scooter with a stone- that she says, was the beginning of her personal journey as an artist.
This father and daughter team comes together every evening when Rachana comes back from office, to plan, execute, and create something new and astounding. Their latest favourite is tile murals. First, the vision of the artwork is discussed. Then Rachana makes the base drawing for the mural. According to Rachana, her father cannot draw at all, so he needs her to give him the framework on which he can play. Watching Mr Chaudhary pick the tiles, break them with a hammer and set them with cement, one is easily lulled into thinking that play is all there is to it. But the process is much more painstaking than that. Colours and contrasts have to be carefully chosen. Lines, curves and angle have to be accurate. Tiles have to be numbered and worked on individually. But while the process is almost mathematical and painstaking, the outcome, for all to see, is pure magic.
And to think that this is just a fraction of a lifetime of work! Think about it- isn’t it wonderful to retire from “work” but never feel irrelevant, because you are connected to your passion and creating something meaningful every day? Isn’t it rejuvenating to come back from a long day at the office, to find your partner in crime waiting eagerly to start on the next art project? To be surrounded by beauty that is not bought, but made with your own hands? Let’s all follow the example of this truly admirable father-daughter team, and get connected to our passion. And if you are looking for some inspiration to kick start your journey, then plan a visit to Chaudhary House!