Rivers that nurtured the Rasa Artist

Mumbiram was born and raised in Pune, which is a historical town situated on the confluence of two rivers that originate in the Western Ghats, the Mula and the Mutha. Mumbiram had a seamless symbiotic connect with the rivers of his town. That is entirely befitting his mood of a an artist who rose out of the classical culture of India. Many great events and personalities of India manifested along rivers that played important part in the cultural mood of those places.

The event that left the biggest impact on the young artist’s mind was the deluge that inundated much of Pune when two dams on the rivers broke in the monsoon of 1961. Mumbiram’s artist-grandfather lived on land that was less than a hundred metres from the Mula river and his house was submerged under several feet of water and mud. 15 year old Mumbiram along with his mother Anjanibai undertook the operation to rescue as much of his grandfather’s life’s creativity as was possible. It certainly was an event that created great impact and made a lifelong bonding of young Mumbiram with his grandfather.

Two years later Mumbiram was a student at the engineering college that was created right at the confluence of the Mula and Mutha rivers. Mumbiram has written elsewhere how he would spend hours sitting at the boat club on the river bank dreaming about everything except engineering. Many years later when Mumbiram came back from America the riverside was his favourite haunt away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city.

Ragas and Rasas of the River

Mumbiram’s favourite Visions

of his Beloved Rivers in Spate

Mumbiram’s beloved Rivers after the first torrential Rains of the Monsoon

The big orange flood comes to Pune usually in the month of July after continued rains for a week or more. It always comes as a surprise and it is like a day of festivities for lovers of the rivers like Mumbiram.
Mumbiram had great curiosity about how the floods look at different points up and down the river.
The churning waters of the flood were a challenge to the brave lads of Pune. They would jump into the river at the Lakdi Pool bridge and come ashore half a mile downstream near the Omkareshvar temple. Anjanibai’s cousin Gopal Godbole was one of these foot-loose-and-fancy-free fellows. It was mighty hazardous.
Mumbiram’s familiarity with the interesting cultural and historical details about Pune makes these floodscapes informative and enlightening. They are glimpses of a spectacular natural event as seen through the eyes of a connoisseur rasik and manifested by the paintbrush of a consummate virtuoso. They are delightful and fulfilling every time you look at them !

Mumbiram’s brush work is a picture of austerity. There is nary a flourish of ostentatious brush strokes. That is how he brings out the very essence of the ambiance which otherwise would be obliterated by the artist’s egoistic posturing.
In all these riverscapes the sky is absolutely unworked. Mumbiram’s amazing wit is seen in the choice of the glimpses he shares with us. His rapport with his native rivers is first-hand and the authenticity of the presentation is disarming.
These floodscapes were made in the monsoon of 1994.