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The lamp of passion

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

‘What are you hiding among your books?’ His father wanted to inspect the entire content of the schoolbag. He was panicked hunting for an excuse to vanish from the spot in a blink.

His aunt came forward, ‘Oh! He had been taking notes. You saw that white notebook, right?’

His father nodded, still suspecting of some contraband like a love-note or something even worse, like a casual sketch of some tree or hut or some damned bird.

His aunt assured with a broad smile, ‘I bought him that notebook. His notes are scattered here and there.’

‘I see.’ Anxiety lifted off from his father’s face. Brows relaxed. He eyed his boy for a few moments and left.

Aunt led him to the door. He was to head for the school. At the doorway, his aunt whispered, ‘Did you sketch anything new?’

He looked at her with eyes twinkling in mischief. ‘Yes!’

Jyotirmay was not expected to study art. From a middleclass perspective, like any other parents, his parents too wanted him to take up a profession that promised a secured future. The idea of their loving and brilliant boy ending up at 1Kumartuli making clay idols of Durga and living in the ramshackle shanties, petrified them. No! Art had no prospect beyond that.

But their young boy could not overcome his true calling. Playing with mud, making figures of animals and people as well as machinery, was his game. He loved drawing too. Being a very bright student, he earned his freedom to engage in his pastime of sculpting as well as painting. As long as it was a leisurely fun, it was alright. But when he expressed his desire to go to art college after school, his parents did not buzz.

‘No way! You are going to take up Bengali honors for graduation. We can not gamble your career away! Painting may be a good hobby but not enough to earn a living.’

As it happens, destiny has its way. A man possessed by the passion of art can not be subdued by compulsions of life. Jyotirmay emerged from the graduate course with flying colors with a first-class degree but never gave up his dream of taking a formal training in art. He was preparing secretly to join Calcutta Art College. In the meantime, his art was gaining recognition from wherever he could reach them. His interest was growing in nature and eco system.

Once again, his aunt came to his rescue. And one more uncle. They convinced his father about the promising young artist. He took admission in Calcutta art college for his Masters. After all, several awards and accolades stood testimony to his worth.

As an artist with a fair experience of both, village as well as the life in a metro, his demeanor attracted appreciation rather than threats. With a die-hard positive attitude, he could distill the constructive essence of all criticisms. A national award in 2015 and recognition from around the world jacked up the motivation. He surged ahead.

Today, printmaking as well as painting are his forte. Surrealism is his way. Nature and ecosystem never fail to captivate him.

As an artist, he believes in order. He follows a routine. And, slightly out of convention, he is a teetotaler and does not indulge in smoking. He feels life is good enough already.

These days he teaches in Chitrakala Parishad, an Art college in Bangalore. The lifelong dedication of his parents to the noble service of teaching has not gone in vain. Their son is a lecturer too. He does not teach Bengali but teaches art. They are proud today.

Jyoti means glow. And the little lamp lit by the Uluberia couple three decades ago never refused to blink even under savage blows of wind. Drawing spirit from the storms of life, it evolved brighter by every passing day. Today it lightens up a thousand other lamps for future.

Jyotirmay turned into the Dalapati that he had always been!

1.Kumartuli happens to be the capital of idol making in Kolkata for all the Bengali pujas that one can think of, including of course Durga Puja festival.

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