I know I haven’t posted for a long time.
One, I am in India. That is reason enough since there is always so much to do in India.
Two, I am at my parents’ place and for a while was busy with my one year old niece who too had come down to visit her grandparents. If reason one wasn’t enough the fact that my one year old niece was with me should explain a lot. Kids have that effect on me.
Three, the kitchen at my parents place was under renovation and the make-do kitchen already had two cooks and two helpers occupying it. There was no place for lil ol me! But I did manage to revisit a few of my old recipes and make it when guests came visiting.
Four, I got sick. In fact I am still unwell and my mom thinks sitting on the computer is not the way to treat my cough. I need to rest and that means doing absolutely nothing. Of course, I am not following that advice. I have been on my feet most of the time. What’s keeping me on my feet besides the random baking/cooking for guests is a small place called Umeed.
Umeed is a school started by the air force’s welfare association for underprivileged children. Umeed means hope- a hope for a brighter future for children from less privileged background. The school is only till the third grade. Hopefully in the future it will grow up to accommodate older children as well. I have been going there for the last one week or so, and once I am back from Delhi plan to continue my interaction with the kids. I plan to teach them some crafts- so if you have any suggestions do comment below with a link or description of the crafts/art work. Do keep in mind funds are few, so the craft shouldn’t require too many supplies. My pinterest board is full of crafts ideas and have taught a few to the teachers there so that they can teach the kids some fun stuff while I am in Delhi.
Since we are talking about Umeed, I would also like to tell you about these two individuals Radhe Shyam Rajwadi and Santosh Kumar Yadav. Both are from the Sarguja district of Chhattisgarh and practice the art of Bhitti chitrakala a less known art form of traditional wall paintings of Chhattisgarh.
Different states like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have their own particular Bhitti art. Though the technique remains the same by and large, it is the theme, which differs from place to place. In Chhattisgarh, such paintings are commonly made during childbirth, marriage and other occasions of wish fulfillment. One of the most common symbol is drawing of a horse as this animal is considered auspicious in most communities in the state. The skill has been handed down from generation to generation and because of lack of patronage only a handful people know this chitrakala.
The duo that came to work on the walls of the school learnt this art from an old man in their village who used to make these drawings from cow dung and colored earth. So that this art doesn’t go extinct they have taken upon themselves to spread it to other parts of India. They have been working on the walls of the school and have made such a difference to make Umeed a brighter place. They have left their mark in the form of this art in places like the Bhillai steel plant, Bhopal Shyamola Hills, Manimajra kala gram near Chandigarh, Pragati maidan in Delhi, in Mysore and Panchkulla. They specialize in tribal art and not fine art. They are ready to travel anywhere to spread the art, so if you are interested in something like this please do not hesitate to call them. They are sincere and talented workers and have been working day and night to complete this work for the school. I am leaving there contact numbersand a few pictures for you to appreciate what I see everyday at Umeed.
- Radhe Shywam Rajwade: 9165631546
- Santosh Kumar Yadav: 9669347616
There is actually a story to the painting with the moral that strength lies in unity.
Once, an old man was very ill and lay dying in his bed. He had four sons who were always fighting with each other. To teach them a lesson and unite them the old man gave them a bundle of sticks and said, “Can you break these sticks?”
The first son tried to break the bundle but nothing happened. He tried very hard and finally gave up. The second one too tried his luck, but nothing happened. Then, the third son tried to break the bundle of sticks, but he couldn’t do anything either.
Meanwhile, the youngest son jeered at his brothers and thought they were very incompetent. He thought he was very clever and took one stick at a time and easily broke all of them.
The old father then smiled at his sons and said, “Children, do you understand what happened? It is always easy to break the sticks one by one. But when they are bundled together, none of you could break them. In the same way. you four brothers should always be together. No one will be able to hurt you then.” The four brothers realised what their father was trying to teach them and forgot all their enmity and learnt that unity is strength.
From that day onwards, they never fought with each other and lived together in peace and harmony.