The story always begins here
22 July 2017, Day 1 of the shoot
Today was the day when shooting for IITKGP En Plein Air project was planned to begin. And it did begin today, but not as planned.
At least that’s what I thought.
(Please read the Prologue to this story first!)
The shoot was supposed to begin at Jnan Ghosh Stadium at 6:00 in the morning. With butterflies in my stomach, all I could do last night was to keep turning sides in bed. Trying to check the time every now and then also did not help my cause. And then, around 5 in the morning, I heard the first drops of rain. Soon, it had turned into a relentless downpour; and all I could do was to stand against the large glass window of Technology guest house and look at the skies in desperation. There were no signs of the rains letting up.
It was 9 in the morning and the rain was still coming down, albeit much weaker. I checked the weather report for the day. The weather man’s prediction was not good at all. It was supposed to rain the whole day. Then I checked the weather report for the next seven days. And if I were to believe the report, the only time when we can shoot would be only after six days. KGP is supposed to have continuous rains for the next six days. At that point devastated would have been an understatement to describe how I felt.
It took about an hour to gather myself and I started looking for possible solutions. A sudden passing image of chemical department came to my mind, which I had visited yesterday to find a possible aerial viewing point for Nehru museum. The cycle-stand of chemical department was covered and it had an open view of the Nehru museum. And hence I could paint from there even in rain. Suddenly energized with this new possibility, I packed my painting kit and started off. Soon the film crew joined me; and according to them the light was perfect for the shoot. But that was not the only thing that was perfect that day.
The cycle shed of chemical dept turned out to be one of the best spots from where I could paint Nehru Museum. It was drizzling and the wet roads and moist air created one of the most perfect romantic rainy moods for painting. As clichéd as it may sound, the atmosphere was magical. Hijli detention camp stood there nonchalantly like a graceful danseuse bathed in the rain and glowing in the faint warm sunlight trying to break through the cover of clouds. While it was difficult for anyone to miss her beauty, she made no airs about it. She just stood there today(as she had been doing all these years), watching rickshaw puller dada go about his job as usual while students came and went. She had stood there watching generations come and go. She had seen history being made and repeated. She stood there when IIT was born in her. And she stood watching even today as the IITKGP En Plein Air project took off.
Back in 1951 the story had begun here. And for IITKGPEPA it had to begin here.
Just as planned by the universe.
Next - Find out about my struggle while painting Azad Hall