Up on the rooftops da da da


Because I like to travel alone, I can be selfish with my creative needs. Creativity fills you when you least expect it as it did one morning. I am standing on a rooftop overlooking the hazy suburb somewhere in Jaipur. I am up there to drape my wet washing over a piece of old pipe which balances from one side of a wall to another. To my left is the concrete grey wall towering over this space from the building next door. Behind me is a plastered brick shelter which shelters the access to the rooftop, There is a circular window in the centre.

What can I do for this wonderful family I am staying with? what can I give them? Creating spaces come to mind and in my mind’s eye, I can visualize painted trees and birds, small tables with rugs and cushions for travelers to sit and share stories. Would they use this space I wonder? I rush down to ask if they will let me play with some paint on their rooftop.

Nitin my host agrees but wants to send a woman to sweep the roof. There is quite a bit of rubbish to move. I cannot wait to get started

My project is to be creative and do something with a rooftop. I hope when I am finished guests can sit and relax, do yoga or whatever. First job is to go and get some Indian paint. It’s cheap as chips but I had to laugh when I asked them to mix colors for me and this poor boy had to stand and shake the tin by hand. Out came a horrible Barbie pink so I took some terra-cotta colour to add to it. I can shake it all about too and what a success. Their Indian cleaning lady turned up to clean up the area I was working in, turns out she does Henna designs and is a great artist. Tomorrow she is going to make a border for me with proper Indian designs, not my made-up ones. It beats sweeping floors for her and I get to learn too, how lucky am I.

Nitins daughter wants to help so we start drawing some outlines of elephants on the wall. Soon the guests want to join in and now we have an artistic community all joining in.

I want to paint a tree, a peacock with stylistic designs. I am making my mark. Leaving a piece of me in India. There is colour everywhere and along with colour always come smiles.

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