If you’re to choose to paint your life today. What will it be? Remember, you’re the artist, not the canvas.”
Back in first year, I remember waiting for a senior in the lobby of the PG hostel. It was the first time that I had mustered up the courage to enter that building, me being the fresh, naive junior and all. It was there that I saw a beautiful painting on the wall, one whose subject was very familiar to me – the character Pachha, from the ancient dance form Kathakali of Kerala. I remember musing in my head about who the painter might be. However, I hadn’t met the Malayali seniors of 2013 batch yet, and thus hadn’t been acquainted with the artist – Amal Mohandas.
The first time I saw him put his artistic talents to use was before NATCON, later that year. Many of us will remember the huge, vibrantly beautiful rangoli in the atrium of our college building. I was one of the few who had the opportunity of seeing him work on it. Sitting in that atrium for hours, with the coloured powders smeared across his hands and clothes, painstakingly filling in between the chalk outline he had drawn, surrounded by a few helpful juniors – I couldn’t help but feel respect for this man’s dedication.
However, he is quick to shut out any praise for himself. I am quite certainly sure I will hear from him after this piece is released and be chided for my effort. Instead, he credits his involvement and the resurrection of his interest in art to his teachers, specifically Dr. Saptarshi Mandal. It was Dr. Mandal who had initially encouraged him, when the faculty and students were discussing about setting up college clubs, to take up his interest and pursue it. The result – numerous paintings and rangolis, including one whose faint outlines can still be seen outside our OPD building.
He fondly remembers the days and nights he spent gently sprinkling colour over the cold granite floors of the college. There was a time when he had spent almost an entire day and a night, along with his juniors Abhishek and Kirti, making something for an event the next day. He also smiles as he remembers the faculties’ reaction on seeing his work. However, in passing, he also winces slightly when he recalls those who didn’t even stop to thank him once for his work.
There are some people you instantly warm up to; within minutes you find in them a kindred soul. To me, Amal Boss is one such person. Here’s hoping his legacy will continue to colour the lives of those on this campus !