The first action point was to have the outline drawn on the second wall. The artist came a day earlier to have that done. It took her quite a lot of time due to the unevenness in the ground ! All I could help her with was to pour thinner into the 200 ml tin of black enamel paint. Once the outline sketch was ready, dad, the artist with the help of the painter who worked for Bal Bhavan had the paints mixed and kept ready in the park’s store room. The main colours such as red, blue, green, yellow, pink, brown and violet were prepared. Now all that was needed the next day was to fill them with bright colours.
The D-day arrived. Dad, mom and me took the cartons of extra paints and brushes, thermocol plates, cut pieces of rough cloth to the Bal Bhavan in an auto. One can enter through the exit gates only as the entry gates open at 10:30 am. The activity was to begin at 9 and so the three of us reached the venue by 8:15 am. A bench near the walls was chosen to keep the painting items read. A bucket of water and mug were placed close by. Now we just waited for the volunteers to come in.
The first volunteer for the day was my mother. She was a school teacher and had not touched a brush for many years. She was eager to paint the clouds on the walls with blue. As she began painting the other volunteers slowly started coming it. The plan was simple the early comers would get the choice of choosing what they wanted to paint. Must thank my father for suggesting it ! There were clouds, grasses, butterflies, trees and innocent children faces playing hide and seek in the rain. As the volunteers came in Dad and me took turns to individually oriented them to take a look at the finished wall to get an idea what they wanted to paint and with what colour. Once they made up their minds they walked up to the bench which had the painting items, received the colours along with a brush from my dad and the painter and happily proceeded to try their artistic shots at the wall. For instance when a volunteer wanted to paint the clouds s/he was given some blue paint along with a flat brush.
Almost all the volunteers who walked in had the chance of choosing what picture they wanted to paint on the wall. A few creatively coloured the hairs of the children on the wall with red, and calling them the red-headed little folks. While some enjoyed brightening the flowers and painting the grass. In a couple of hours the wall was completely filled with colours of red, blue, green, yellow, violet, pink and brown.
The event on the whole went smoothly. The main reason being the preparedness of keeping the paints ready for the volunteers to immediately dive into the painting activity without making them wait. Dad, the artist and the painter mixed all the main colours required for most of the pictures the evening before the activity. This was not done when the first wall was being painted a week earlier. That had made the volunteers spend some time waiting while the artist drew the sketch on the wall and then receive the paints. However I had learnt the lesson and with the help of Dad and the artist improved and geared for up for painting the second wall.
It felt wonderful to have seen my father volunteer and use his professional experience post retirement. Without his expertise it would have been very challenging for me to coordinate the event. Neither I had any knowledge of paints, or thinner or even that a wall requires a coating of primer before anything else can be done on it! It felt wonderful to volunteer with family and share the same spirit. I must say we all try this sometime. It feels more meaningful and makes one look forward for more as the end result looks more bright and colourful.