Beg, Borrow, or Draw

BY PRATIMA MANANDHAR
Jul 25, 2010

Passionate and inspired by his environment, a young boy pushes against the grain of poverty for the right not to beg.

 

Aanand is a self taught artist. Due to financial hardships, Aanand has neither been to school, nor taken any art classes.

Aanand is a self taught artist. Due to financial hardships, Aanand has neither been to school, nor taken any art classes.

Photo credit: Pratima Manandhar


A boy crouches by a wall, smiling at the sea of people passing him by. Most of them give him the cold shoulder, some scurry past him. Some take a second, then a third glance and then move on, completely forgetting this boy who is about to do something magical, to witness colours, shapes and lines come to life.

Aanand Paswan takes in the crowd, his glance sweeping the eager faces encircling him. Quite a lot of them have turned up today, he muses, I hope they will like my work. Like an applicant late for his first job interview, he fumbles around in his bag and brings out the tools of his trade: various shades of colour pencils, wax crayons and packed with utmost care: sheets of A4 size papers, shiny as the sheen on a pearl. What should I draw then? Tough one, he thinks, let’s settle for the gods of god, Shiva. I'll make him more colourful; who said he always had to be painted in blue anyway?

Aanand works in front of the tempo park at Sundhara, painting and sketching his next masterpiece all day. Although physically challenged, Aanand doesn't resort to begging, like most do. Instead he chose the path less travelled. “I believe in hard work and dedication,” he says.

I don’t feel I am challenged in any way. Instead of complaining about my physical condition, I went ahead and did something about it.

“I don’t feel I am challenged in any way. Instead of complaining about my physical condition, I went ahead and did something about it.”

Aanand is perfectly capable of doing everyday tasks: cleaning, taking care of himself, drawing, eating; he does it all by himself, while his family members are there to assist him when he really needs it. He smiles when he says, “I have tons of friends in the bahal where I live. After work, we get together and play all kinds of games. We love it.”

Watch TV? “Why not!” he says. “A few years back, I saved up and bought a TV. The day I presented it to my family was the proudest day of my life.” Day in, day out, he sits in front of the tempo station, watching the mad dash of the people around him. He has become receptive of what is going on around him. Time and again, he picks up on the resonating vibes in the air before he starts to draw. He chews on the back of the pen on his hands, thinks for a moment and begins to draw.

Huh, the crowd of gathering people think out aloud. An extremely colourful Shiva? Whoever has heard of such thing?

He is aware of what they are saying, but of course. He smiles, with a grin so big that his ears might fall into it. “A very hopeful Shiva, this one,” he says. “I need bright colours to make him look so, hoina ra?”

 

*This photostory was a part of a documentary photography workshop organized by V.E.N.T! Magazine. The workshop by Photojournalist Liz Lance was held on 6th and 13th June 2009. This photostory was part of the student assignment.

 

Pratima Manandhar is a student of Business Administration and also an aspiring photographer. Inspired by her teacher Mr. Dipak Shakya, she started learning photography as a medium of expressing herself. She feels that photography is the best way to portray human expression and conditions. She hopes to weave many stories through photography. Pratima Manandhar also blogs at V.E.N.T! Magazine.

 

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