Mumbiram was touched by watching how totally engrossed the two spinners of Bapu Kuti were in the simple act of spinning. They indeed had perceived through their practice the beauty in simplicity that Gandhiji so very much cherished. Mumbiram considered it a challenge to capture that utter simplicity of spinning that made the spinners grow inwardly and glow outwardly.
Jalandar and Mumbiram arrived at the Bapu Kuti at nearly the same time. Without saying a word both of them set up their wares. Mumbiram has spread out a newspaper underneath the board to catch the crumblings from the charcoal that he uses. Mumbiram is sitting nearly 15 feet away and facing at an angle away from Jalandar. He is taking utmost care not to be even remotely invasive. Notice the little boy sitting right behind Mumbiram’s board ! Mumbiram is drawing everybody’s attention to his ‘muse’– the spinner , not himself.
Mumbiram only makes a portrait of a person if he feels a bond of friendship with that person. That must be the reason why Mumbiram is incredibly rapid in his rendition. Yet his hand is not moving in a frenzy. Every line every turn is deliberate and purposeful, as if he already knew exactly how the finished picture is going to look, even before he began. It is entirely unbelaboured and effortless. It puts the viewer at ease, not insult his intelligence. He makes it appear so easy you feel, ‘Hey, I could have done it !’
Behold ! Some want to watch Jalandar’s spinning, some want to watch Mumbiram’s portrait-making and some want to watch both ! It is like a jugalbandi of two musicians. All are witnessing it with baited breath, very silently.
Looks like Mumbiram is done ! Both the spinners of Bapu Kuti are curious to see the outcome. Jinu has packed her Charkha and walked over to see Mumbiram at work. And now Jalandar himself walks over to see. There he sits on the side of the artist in ‘Veearaasana’. He has a gentle happy smile which speaks better than any words.
Have you noticed Hashu’s friend Rajkumari giving Mumbiram company silently and inconspicuously ? A great soul in a dog body.
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