Monday, March 23, 2009


I am standing in a room full of newspapers with a mug full of black paint in one hand and a wall painting brush in another. There is a headless body standing in the corner, leaning against the wall. I walk around the room, careful not to step on Bunty the camel ( courtesy Shipra di) or the Pyramids of Giza. Propped against the wall are a huge colourful hand and an equally huge palette. A smell of distemper reeks in the room. Strewn across the floor is a cartoon of Emperor Akbar and the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven, among other things like newspapers, paintbrushes, colours, pencils, scissors, cloth, more colours, more newspapers and newspapers. Sakshi di calls- it is time. I walk towards a stand holding a rotating plywood board which is covered with guess what- newspapers. I dip my brush into the mug as we take our positions in front of three such identical boards. Akhil waits for us to get ready, then puts on 'Diablo ro jo' by Rodrigo Gabriela on the laptop, starts the timer and yells GO!
We attack the boards. Its nothing but confusion. Each rotating board looks like a colourful blur as new splashes of paint spread, merge and drip with each other. 'Thirty seconds!'- calls out Akhil. People run around from painting to painting, unsheathing their brushes from the mugs and swiping the paper fiercely. Red, green, yellow, blue and black mix and mingle to form new shades and tinge. The acoustic percussion guitaring gets louder and faster. And each of us calculate the amount of work done with the amount of song finished. I streak the paper with black as I hear Sammy shout 'I'm done!'. Seconds later, I'm done. Akhil stops the timer and looks at it. All eyes on him. He waits, smiles, and says-' 3 minutes 43 seconds. We're on!' and gives me a high five.
We are Kala, the fine arts club of BITS Pilani Goa Campus, and the above is the story of the first truly successful practice of our speed painting performance at the inaugaration of WAVES summer 09, our culfest. This was,incidentally, the last one we ever had, at ten in the morning of the performance (which was at 12), after literally being traumatised by the prospect of facing a huge crowd like a bunch of yellow bellied monkeys holding paintbrushes having completely no idea what to do. Of all the backup plans we had, the most sensible were either to throw all the paint in the crowd and run away, or to solemnly go onstage and write SO on the first board, RR on the second and Y on the third( and then, again, run away.) Indeed of the three paintings we did onstage, the main centrepiece was decided at seven that morning, choreographed, practiced and finally presented onstage by the members, with our finest timing, 3mins 23 seconds.
All this and more was possible not because we were all good artists or because we worked hard or we were good as a team. It was possible because we wanted it to happen. In Kala it is not only about how good you are. It is about what you want. And so is true with every artist. One stroke can change the whole painting. Yellow warmth can be converted into ice cold with one splash of blue- yellow and blue mingle to make this cool green and the whole artwork transforms. You can do anything on a canvas. A true artist is the one who knows what he wants to do.
Anyway, this was supposed to be an introductory post of the Kala blog. We have some of the most incredible artists, origamists, caricaturists, computer graphics artists on board. This blog will consist of all the work which we do and the events we organise on campus. Keep watching this space for sketches and artworks by the members.
Well, it is five thirty in the morning and I have my workshop practicals at nine. So I am off to watch another episode of himym. This post was fuelled with coffee, insomnia, test 2 tension and a bit of boredom. So, most probably, a more formal introductory post will follow. ( I hope they don't fire me, though...)
PS- We used to practice our speed paintings on newspapers, so that we would'nt waste the costly cloth. So there was a sea of newspapers in the kala room at that time( which, by the way, by Divesh's relentless efforts of cleaning up the room, has been transformed into a colourful mountain in a desolate corner.) And all the memories I have of Kala, Waves and more or less anything around those few days, consist of newspapers. Hence, the title.


Divesh said...

couldn't have described the experience better..

RaSh said...

Must say it was a really nice experience!
Too bad I couldn't devote more time to Kala :(

RaSh said...

PS: You forgot to mention: Sakshi di's trademark line - li8 lo! :D

shipra said...

It was a memorable experience.. m gonna remember it always! :) thnx kaushal for puttin it so nicely! :)

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