They say after the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box. Something similar I saw when I glanced upon this idol making workshop in a street at Jamnagar, Gujrat. What I saw burst open the gates of creative excitement in my visual mind. It was as if I had the backdoor entry to the “common room” for gods and goddesses, deities, freedom fighters and heroes, where these supernatural folks let their hair down. There were idols of many godly and humanly beings lying casually around, staring into nothingness, beneath a thick sheet of powder.
What caught my fancy was the juxtaposition with which the idols lived their lives at the artisan’s workshop. Normally in a temple we follow a zillion rules regarding minutest things. The direction which the idols face, the color of skin, the time of darshan, the permissible offerings, the aversion to photography, the apparent “peace” or “clarity” of mind when you are in a temple and so on;are all absent in the house of the sculptor. Here you can have lord Hanuman bowing to a pillar, or may be lord Rama lying beheaded, Shiva buried in a rubble, or gods of many faiths huddled together. Thoughts that would be blasphemous, as taught in the real world. It gave an eerie feeling to see idols of worship lying like everyday junk.
We take utmost care of our idols in the world outside. But here they lie beneath a thick sheet of powder and cobwebs. The same powder, the same dust that once made them a lifeless piece of rock now sticks to the eyes, chest, arms and feet of a hero.
I wonder if the idols came to life, would they be happy or sad. I can imagine them guffawing, joking, gossiping, singing and dancing in this little hideout from the regular world. I also think that they would pity humans for being such a rot or angry for the crimes man has committed in their name. But then, isn’t lack of feelings like revenge, humiliation, attachment and regret true sign of enlightenment? So would they even care? Or just smirk and let man walk on its path of destiny, to a new beginning.
I must thank the beautiful play of light at the golden hour. It completely set the mood for such an immersing time with my camera. And most importantly, the shy sculptor who allowed me complete access and after some cajoling also posed for a picture.