His dark complexion and the decrepit figure don’t go along with the depiction of an artist; though his agile hands and the lucidity of those topaz eyes contradict the view. His lips were half asunder, the slightly frayed t-shirt indicating a vestige of vulnerability. The hustle and bustle of the vast seething city couldn’t make him come back to the reality. He was there, enclosed in his own universe; a world of marbles.
When I approached him, he was embellishing his artwork with tiny pieces of marbles for the exhibition. Although we often meet artists outside the Academy of Fine Arts, he seemed to be the one with extraordinary profundity, which made me befriend him.
‘How long have you been doing this?’ I asked, curiously.
‘It’s been ages since my conscience led me to marbles. I’m from West Bengal, you know! But art is widely appreciated in Rajasthan. Foreigners come and go. Good money,’ he ejaculated with childish frivolity.
‘But what made you choose marbles? Why not something else?’
Thus, he unbolted the secret door to the prolonged passage of his dogged determination and unyielding persistence. A journey from the forlorn shack in Rajasthan to the city of Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, an expedition toward the proximity of infinity. I wonder how impetuously life takes a detour when the insipid monotony strangles our daily vocations. Sudden opportunities are likely to pave the way when we scrounge the worst of the strife.
For him, it came in disguise of a French gentleman who happened to stroll along the street and confronted the novice’s artworks. He straightaway asked him to come to Paris and assured him to provide all the rudimentary needs. After a month or two, he found himself on the boulevards of this picturesque city adorned with art, poetry and gastronomy. The French gentleman, who happened to be a reputed artist himself, bolstered the young man’s confidence by edifying him with requisite knowledge of a detailed carving of marbles.
Now he travels half the world, yet he comes back to his place, again and again, the place where it all started, Rajasthan.
Meeting him was an honour, indeed. It was also a reminder of how queer life is. It has its own way of playing its cards. The very moment you think everything is in shambles, life puts you at the apex of something gigantic, the spot you always thought you deserved.