My mother was driving past the 80 ft road today, and I observed one of those “commonplace” sights of city living. A small tent which was put up next to an open drain, clumsy rubber sheets and utensils, and a family lives there! An old man sitting outside by the street dust and city smoke, and he has a small piece of wood in his hand. The man looks meek, his body bent, like a person who has lost all enthusiasm. But inside that battered body lies a master craftsmen….if you observe closely, you can see a small set of hand crafted wooden articles, “totems” arranged out neatly in front of the humble “home.” I think that man sits there, come rain or shine, all day long, to sell his wooden articles. But who would want to squeeze out of the choking city traffic, find a place to park the vehicle and then buy his articles? Sadly, there are no buyers. I could see the craftsmanship of a real master, a true talent in the hands of this old, haggard man. I could see that even this poor man who lives in a street side home, had a unique talent, a gift, but he was finding it difficult to survive.
There is amazing talent hiding in every one of us. But unfortunately, the “talented” these days are recognized as jazz singers, famous actors and dance troupes. Some fail to see the talent in these silent street-side dwellers…we are their silent killers because we do not support them. If someone takes art as a profession, usually, they come to nothing. I think a little more effort is needed to promote the talented villagers, our country abounds in such craftsmen, and a lot more of support is needed to uplift them. We spend crores of rupees to visit Venice, Rome, Florence, Paris, England to view the talent of the ancient sculptures and painters, we take pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower and say that such great builders cannot be seen anywhere, but I think we are wasting our money.
Talent is living just down the road, near an open drain, or even in the quiet, isolated villas and towns of northern Karnataka. If we only recognize and popularize the Indian Handicraft industry a little more, we could be exporting such stuff at exotic rates, and people from all over the world are willing to pay. Then, perhaps, that poor street side dweller could find a little more happiness in life, and could live a decent living instead of sweating it out on hot summer days, we could give him respect for his talent, and an admiration of the skill that lies in the hands of this old man, a little praise that he surely deserves.