Landscapes in Watercolours

The cleaning keeda really comes out in full force when I’m at my Pune home. With a full-time maid with me, I dive into cleaning every nook and cranny of my little hillside sanctuary. And this time was no different. After devouring a sumptuous lunch on a pleasant wintry afternoon, I summoned Vijaya, my ever-ready smiling helper, to bring down the boxes from the attic.

I sat there all excited as Vijaya brought down all the boxes, one by one, started dusting and arranging the contents as I would want. After being with me for three brief consecutive holidays, she knew the regime so well.

“OMG, did I paint these papers!” was the first thought that popped in my head when I looked at the quarter-century-old papers. Sounds really ancient, right? Yup, these are among the few sheets which I sketched and painted. This was just after my wedding and before I resumed work.

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Somehow I find it difficult to call these sheets of painted paper “Paintings.” I don’t see them as any good, leave alone to possess any great artistic brilliance. I just copied a few drawings from a drawing book and painted them. Nonetheless, these are precious to me for the sheer delight and happiness they provided when I did them.

I have always loved sketching and dabbling in colours—the only thing I have never pursued seriously or even as a hobby. My younger siblings and I were too busy tending to Gow Matas and a wide variety of canine Rakshaks amidst bountiful greenery of half an acre in the heart of Hyderabad, which we called home. In between these farmland activities, we were busy pursuing formal education. This left us with minimal inclination to try something of our choice. Oh!! Yes, that is an entirely different universe and calls for a separate story.

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I especially love landscapes in watercolors. I find them very soulful, romantic, poetic, telling stories drenched in emotions of beautiful faraway lands in soft tones. When even a dirty poodle in a rain-washed street looks so beautiful, then imagine how I feel about the gorgeous elements in any landscape painting. I can spend hours appreciating them. Sigh…

My regretful trance was disturbed when Vijaya brought down another box loaded with paint boxes of various types, brushes of different makes and kinds, not to talk about heaps of pencils of varying colour and graphite grade, collected over all these years. I just cannot resist them and end up buying at least a small item every time I am at a stationery store. Even now, the sight of any kind of stationery makes me go euphoric!! And, all these boxes are the result of that extreme craze for this art form.

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That way, I’m not a hoarder and give away things very quickly. I declutter periodically, giving away things that are not in use. But, these I have been collecting and hoarding greedily well over a quarter-century. Except for very old paint tubes and bottles which had dried up, other stuff was in good useable condition. I haven’t tried to sketch or paint in all these years and doubt if I would do it again. All this material has been lying unused and collecting dust.

So an hour later, very enthusiastically, I handed over packets filled with pencils, brushes, paints, drawing books, and the works to five kids who had come over honoring Vijaya’s telephonic invitation. I was expecting to see delighted faces brimming with happiness as I was giving away one of my dearest possessions. But they seem to be ‘okay, okay, happy’ receiving them. In fact, the youngest one of them blurted out his disappointment. yevadya sathi bolavala ka? (You called us for these?). Clearly, ‘One man’s treasure is another man’s trash!!’.

“Ayyo!! Now, what?” I was a bit taken aback by their reaction.

Thankfully, Sreedhar’s habit of stocking the pantry with snacks came to my good rescue. Chitale Mithai Bhandar did the trick and brought jubilant smiles to these little kiddos’ faces. Ab jake picture ka happiwala end hua.

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After handing over the remaining bag to Vijaya, I returned to give Yash his evening snack, feeling somewhat relieved and pleased as they left on a happy note. And most importantly, I was able to put the whole material to good use. As I tried to move over to my other daily chores, a bag on the table was seeking my attention. And then the quintessential anticlimax decided to show up in the form of yet another bag full of painting paraphernalia.

“Oh, No! Some more stuff!!” I almost screamed.

“Hey, Bhagawan! Kya, yah ek sanket hai??? The contents of the bag seem to tempt me to play with them again” Irrespective of my interpretation, the probability of me revisiting that exciting space filled with colours seems pretty low. But again, One never knows…hmm.

As of now, I will just be happy to get my simple creations framed and let them adorn the WALLS of my home as a reminiscence of my first love.

Kalyani Sreedhar Kakade

26, Vaishakha
Shukla Paksha, Ekadashi
2076 Paridhavi, Vikrama Samvata
Singapore, Singapore

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