Sib Kumar Das
BERHAMPUR: For the last three decades the walls of a two-wheeler repair shop in the city have been acquiring a new look with collages depicting current issues and trends during Diwali.
This unique motorcycle repair shop which is trying to unite finesse of art with the tiring job of mechanics is owned by Lalu Patro. According to him he had begun the effort thirty years back on a whim when his friend, Raju Padhi, a noted theatre personality of Orissa commented that his walls were looking drab during Diwali although they were painted before Dushera. This prompted Mr Patro to persuade Mr. Padhi, who also knows stage designing to decorate the wall with his collages if he had the time.
Mr. Padhi agreed to the proposal and with the encouragement from customers and well wishers, the tradition of having new collages on the walls during Diwali festival has lived on for thirty years. “My customers wait for Diwali to see what issue in the form of collages will don the walls of the shop and for people getting their vehicles repaired, these collages become points of discussion and art appreciation time for months,” Mr Patro said.
Pintu Patro, senior mechanic of the workshop said all workers get involved in the collage making process during the night, when Mr. Padhi visit the shop to make the collages even after the tiring day.
The rough hands that wield hammers and spanners during the day help Mr. Padhi to cut out intricate designs from paper and other mediums on the instruction of Mr. Padhi.
Some of the collages, this year, depict burning issues of female foeticide in Orissa and fake drugs racket. One of the collages represents the binding factor of cricket, the game which has overcome the boundaries of religious and cultural differences. Another one depicts the mother’s loving heart as homage to goddess Kali and another collage tries to discover the simile between Rathyatra of Lord Jagannath and life’s journey. In the past three decades the walls of this workshop have always depicted human issues that ranged from killer AIDS to survivors of super cyclone.