“Birdcatcher” Pulindis of Nandagoan Ellora

Five years after Mumbiram arrived in India, the year 1985 proved to be a game changer for this artist who had chosen to make his atelier in the middle of the old historic town Pune, by the Mandai vegetable market. Mumbiram’s father Ramdas Paranjpe started his legal practice as a young lawyer in this first story spacious unit with a curving 40 ft balcony on the roadside. Ramdas Paranjpe had an open-minded cosmopolitan personality. His clients included Englishman, Anglo-Indians, Iraqi Jews, Maratha farmers, Brahman industrialists and last but not the least Phase Pardhi bird catcher tribals. Mumbiram used to be fascinated to watch Phase Pardhi men and women visiting his father’s offices.

When Mumbiram returned from America after his 12 year sojourn, these premises were lying abandoned, delapitated and forlorn. Mumbiram decided to make his atelier in those same premises even while he was part of the economics team at the Gokhle Institute. There his first ‘colleagues’ were Tarabai Thorat and her family and friends from the Lahuji Wastad talim in Ganj Peth. Soon these were joined by the rag-pickings girls from Yerawda. Then a chance meeting with Choklet Kanthya Pawar at Babu Genu Chowk started a series of exchange of visits with some Phase Pardhis of the Pune District who remembered their beloved lawyer “Parantya Wakil” and welcomed Mumbiram in their settlements as Parantya’s son. Mumbiram’s encounter with the Phase Pardhis from the remote Nandagoan Ellora region had something thrilling and exhilarating about it.

Here are some glimpses from that magical world