Romance On Rails (Updated)

A Vignette

Thirupparaithurai, our village, flanked by an endless roll of lush rice fields on one side and by the river Cauvery on the other, is some miles (<10) from the town of Trichinopoly (Trichy) – a place we spent some part of our annual school vacation (the rest in nearby Srirangam).

At the back of the sprawling house, some 100 meters away, ran a single train track, straight as far as we could see, to/from Trichy from/to Kulithalai/Erode (for some reason the track is not doubled even today and the station, sadly, stands decommissioned, overrun by weeds and vines, for want of traffic).

The track served a few long-distance trains and a couple of local trains for office-goers from villages around.  Standing out among them, even today, is the Pilot that fetches the commuters to Trichy in the morning and returns in the evening.

In those days it was widely rumored how the powerful bus operators were pressing on the railways to schedule the Pilot in a way it did not draw the crowd away from them during the busy hours! It may not be out of place here to mention the state has excellent network of bus services – you could go from anywhere to anywhere any time of the day (of course, some restrictions apply!).

It was for us an eagerly awaited daily experience to hear the whistle of the Pilot in the distance. We ran through the back-door of the house , past the long and full cow-shed, huge hay-stacks, the water-well and the toilet – yes, in those days toilets were located far back outside the house – to reach the back-door of the property. Beyond, the ground dipped into a grassy ‘valley’ to rise on the other side bearing the track, all within about 15 feet.

Standing at a safe distance from the track, we kept our eyes peeled and hands free and ready. First it was the dadak-dadak rumble of the wheels on the rails, soon followed by the puff-puff smoke-belching steam loco, slowing down as it neared a road-crossing and then immediately the station. As the loco passed us, we would frantically wave and shout to the driver to get his attention; he always stood on the side and leaning out to look ahead for safe passage – there were always people footing it across the tracks in a hurry even when the gate at the crossing was down barring road traffic and the train was almost there.  

For a few seconds, he would take his eyes off and look at us, return our greeting with a wave of his hand, his coal-blackened face breaking into a smile – enough to get us thrilled high!

We wouldn’t move until the train, after a halt of a minute or so, whistled and slowly pulled out of the station. A sad moment it was for us as it slowly receded from our sight and we trotted back to the house wordless.

Of course it was all forgotten soon as other distractions kicked in…until the next morning.

**

For some reason, a railway train, particularly its steam, diesel or electric loco has been and is even now a sight that fascinates many, evoking awe at the machine and its brute power and speed. An enduring romance.

The Mumbai artist Biswas captures it on his canvas like it is!

From his profile:

Kishore Pratim Biswas lived near a locomotive workshop in Kolkata when he was a child. It was very easy for one to spot steam locomotives every now and then, and as an enthusiastic 5-year-old kid, he loved to run out and watch them go. He would then come back home and sketch what he saw. A giant locomotive surrounded by steam – the aura of that scene attracted him tremendously, and inspires him even today. The firemen and drivers at the workshop became his friends, and they would usually gather around to look at his sketches. He remembers listening to their stories and trying to sketch all their emotions on a piece of paper…

He graduated in Fine Arts from Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata, spent a few years in his hometown, and then moved to Mumbai in 2009.

Here we go:

Update

After Kannan’s idyllic description of the scene near IIT, Guwahati (see in Comments), I had requested him for a few snaps. He kindly obliged with the following:

Here’s the strange thing with Agthori, perhaps unique in the vast railways network: the lone platform – seen in the pic – is some 300 mts away from the main station and its entrance! It seems the Station Master’s office and the entrance would be moved nearer to the platform once the land needed nearby is acquired.

Also if the train were to stop in front the present Station Master’s office, it would be required to go back a good 200 mts at least before moving forward and picking up enough speed to go over the slope ahead.


A view of the Station Master’s office at the entrance 


A view of Agthori railway station from the road over the bridge near IIT entrance gate.
A view of IIT staff living quarters

The locals n and around prefer to commute the distance of 20 kms to the city by road and, yes, a ferry across the mighty Brahmaputra!

End

Source: thebetterindia.com/42929/locomotives-paintings-by-kishore-biswas/

Advertisements

Even Cityscapes Could Be Beautiful

Larung Gar in Tibet

Source: CockTale \ Prakash Vora

Venice, Italy (a painting?)

Source: Tirutoraipoondi

End

World’s Shortest Horror Picture-Story…

with world’s largest cast – in fact, everyone of us:-((

Here’s what 9-years old Kuzhali thought of the subject in a recent competition held in Chennai under the auspices of Bharath Scout And Guides:

It’s interesting how the surface features like trees, farms, factories…are shown on the spherical globe conveying the universality of the problem and the solution!

End


Source: Image from Science Lovers in FB. I found Kuzhali’s drawing in a FB post by her dad, the eminent author of children’s stories, Vizhiyan.

Raining Beauty

 

image_860310151954207544181

 

End

 

 

 

Source: Carmen Dragone’ carmendragone2@gmail.com [funonthenet] 

Unquiet Landscape Of A Different Kind

Anjolie Ela Menon

The painting is by the well-known contemporary artist Anjolie Ela Menon, titled as ‘Unquiet Landscape’, at this moment put up in an online auction by StoryLTD with bids starting at Rs 60,000+ and expected to finally fetch Rs 6,00,000 to 8,00,000!

I found it quite serendipitous-ly. Besides the quiet appeal of the ‘Unquiet’ in its muted hues, my eyes popped up seeing the going price. For I had with me carefully preserved this crayon drawing she had produced in school on the occasion of an Independence Day. One cannot fail to spot the early signs of a genius-to-come – must now be good for at least a couple of lakhs of filthy lucre?

4195CB6C-DCD0-4F5E-9FAF-B2EC04A5ED83

Quite an Unquiet Landscape of a different kind though – fireworks in the sky, music in the air and eats in a basket and kids – do slim kids draw slim kids? –  in colorful dresses with eyes to the right (at least most of them)! You may note how her perception over the years – in eighties now – of the ‘Unquiet’ has sobered up in terms of the participants and their vigor in her paintings.

Removed from Ms Menon by thousands of miles and about a decade in time, how did I land it?

Well…I didn’t. And those lakhs wont be making their way to my house any soon.

My apologies for the misleading attribution, prompted by some vague similarities perhaps more imagined than real. Or a wishful but pardonable exaggeration from a fond grandparent?  I mean I do have the painting with me – only it isn’t Anjolie’s.

But no less precious, it’s dear Ani’s (8 yo)!

And who knows…I’ve started collecting!

End

 

PS: To my question why the flag was not fluttering. the painting captured that moment precisely when it wasn’t, it was explained to me:-)

 

Pleasing Asymmetry

Kolam is an ubiquitous art form widely practiced in the south of drawing patterns of dots, lines and curves laid just outside the main door of the house, every morning, welcoming ‘gods’ and visitors to the house. Unlike the welcome-mat, the kolam is never stepped on. Usually simple, on festive occasions, it gets more flamboyant and even embellished with flowers.

Every morning the area is first cleaned by splashing water out of a bucket by the maid or the housewife marking the start of the day for the entire household. An energizing sound, not annoying in the least unlike the strident alarm clocks, announcing the arrival of a new dawn and all is well with the world. A sound that I wake up to even today when we visit my sister-in-law’s place in Chennai, to the accompaniment of an orchestra of bird-calls – it meant Thaayamma, an illiterate old lady and a ceaseless wonder, at work pulling off in a breeze a non-repeat elegant design on the wet floor with no shake or break in her kolam.

The white flour – no artificial colors – used to make the kolam up is intended to be food for ants, insects, etc. – unfortunately these days in many places powder from pulverized pebbles, by no means edible, is used for reasons not known to me yet. Infrequently, flour paste is used if the kolam is needed to last longer and not easily blown away.

The ‘canvas’ on the floor also lets the womenfolk to show off their artistry and creativity, with houses trying to outdo each other during festivals. The women learn it largely from their families when young though books are available these days.

In general, it may not be too wrong to say the kolam on the outside often reflects in some ways the state of well-being on the inside.

Kolam‘s are also drawn inside the house in the pooja room where gods are worshiped.

My wife’s doing today, more as a ‘welcome’ gesture than food for non-existing insects, a simple traditional flour kolam, with two leaves instead of the usual four, generating a pleasing asymmetry:

 

End

 

 

PS: In the north the art takes the form of Rangoli that is far more elaborate and filled with colors especially during festivals.

Van Gogh’s Come Alive!

 

Source: “Van Gogh”_3D animation by Luca Agnani Studio vide Arts&Emotions and  Ananth Mk.

There are many more on YouTube from the same source.

 

End