Tulsi Patel, a drawing teacher working in a school in Surat, moved to his village in the neighbouring district during the lockdown. This is how the couple decorated their village home
Pathakwadi, a nondescript village in Tapi district, about 80 kms from Surat in Gujarat, is attracting a lot of visitors these days. The 400-500 families living in the village are amused and amazed by the presence of the local media in their small village.
Forty-seven-year-old Tulsi Patel’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing. The village came into the limelight recently when pictures of a home adorned with Warli paintings were shared on Facebook and circulated on WhatsApp. Patel, a drawing teacher by profession, and his wife Preeti, decided to make the most of the lockdown by decorating the walls of their home with Warli painting.
“I live in Surat with my family. I am a drawing teacher at the Jeevan Bharti School. We have a small house in the village. We came here just before the lockdown and got stuck here. We wanted to decorate our house, so we came up with this idea,” said Patel.
Look closely, and you will find a hint of coronavirus in the paintings. “For a very long time, I could not decide what to draw. Coronavirus was in the air. In Surat, the situation was bad. There were many positive cases. Also, in my village, the lockdown was being implemented very strictly. We couldn’t even step out. So, I thought why not draw something that’s happening around us,” he said.
The couple had to apply a layer of cow dung on the walls. It took them 20 days to paint the whole house. “I could have finished it in five days, but we had to think and then draw. More time went into planning than actually painting the walls. I had to get the expressions right. So, I would first draw on paper and then on the wall. My wife helped me in colouring. We worked for three hours in the morning.”
Their efforts haven’t got unnoticed. The Gujarat government has taken notice. His mobile hasn’t stopped buzzing. Friends, family friends, relatives, media, officials … all have been calling non-stop. He makes sure to talk to each and every one of them. “The villagers are happy too. They are coming to see the paintings. They are happy that the media people are coming to this village.”
When asked how does he feel about his new-found fame, he said: “I didn’t expect it would lead to this! But I am happy, that people are liking my work.”