Mr. Nek Chand -a dreamer, a brilliant artist and a planet protector breathed his last on 12th June 2015. Last year, Thinkling had the privilege of meeting him at the beautiful Rock Garden of Chandigarh. We spent a wonderful hour with him, talking about things that were close to his heart.
Here’s an excerpt of the interview. We are full of gratitude for those wonderful moments that we spent with him and will always follow his mantra to make the best out of waste – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Sharing with you an excerpt of the interview.
We knocked and gently pushed the door open and suddenly we had entered a treasure chest, stepping in under a very low dome-shaped ceiling completely covered with beautiful white stone-like gems (it was so hard to resist jumping and touching all the jewels). A treasure chest also because of all the amazing things that were in there! There was so much to see.
We spotted an interesting looking rock that an admirer had sent from Antarctica, with a note saying this was a piece of a meteoroid! Right next to it was a fossil, numerous puppets both miniature to life-sized, some certificates were piled up on the table, just so many unusual things! There were also three chairs they looked really really old and did not look like they would hold anybody’s weight.
Right in the center of it all sat Mr. Nek Chand, lost in his own world and observing us, with a smile on his lips. He looked at us and said, “these chairs are about 150 years old, you know. I collected them from outside a museum about 70 years ago. They were supposed to be recycled.”
Chairs! So much older than any of us! Wonder what other interesting stories he had to share ….
Thinkling – Mr. Nek Chand, please tell us how it all started.
Nek Chand – For 18 years the government had no idea what I was doing! Chandigarh was a dream and I had come to help construct and plan the future with Le Corbusier. Once my morning shift (as a Roads Inspector) was over,I would cycle to the surrounding hills and collect rocks and bring them back here to this area. Hauling huge rocks was not easy. I would tie them to my cycle and bring them here.
Thinkling - What was so special about these rocks?
Nek Chand – For me, these rocks were the most beautiful I had ever seen. It’s almost as if God was dwelling in them and speaking to me. I could see gods and goddesses in different poses. They were almost like photographs but made in stone instead of on paper. I wanted to create a city of gods. Beauty is everywhere. We just need the right positive attitude when we look at things.
Thinkling - What would you like to say/tell the children of today?
Nek Chand- I would like to thank all the children. I continue to learn so much from all of you. I am truly amazed at your creativity. Continue to use your imagination to make this world a better place. If you imagine it today, you will make it tomorrow. Take out the time to follow your passions and your dreams. If you want to do something, you will always find the time to do it.
Born from the incredibly talented heart, hands and mind of Mr. Nek Chand, the Rock Garden is an 18-acre fantastical, whimsical world. The museum is an intricate complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals entirely made from recycled urban and industrial waste – materials like broken glass, crockery, auto parts, sacks and wires.
We covered the Rock Garden in our Summer 14 issue (Water) , in our travel section- Trailquest. Follow the fantastic pull-out map to discover a magical space created by Nek Chand.
You can order the magazine here -http://thinkling.in/buy/sub-single.php?id=4
In our Summer 2014 (Water) issues, Thinklings recommended many interesting websites that you can visit to know more about a particular topic. I decided to put it all together just for you. Now you can read and browse all in a jiffy!!
Here you go –
Summer 2014 (Water)
Read about the rivers of India, the Irrawaddy dolphins and the Sunderban forest that lie in the vast Delta of the Bay of Bengal between India and Bangladesh. Sunderbans were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. Read about the other UNESCO Heritage Sites in India at whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/IN/
Whizz bang pop-
This time look at the devastating effects of an oil spill. Lots of countries, including ours, import oil to meet some of society’s basic needs e.g. fuel, transportation, industry, consumer goods. In the process of transporting the oil, sometimes the oil spills in our oceans. The effects can last decades! And it does not end here. What about individual fishermen or even all the industries that depend on these amazing water bodies? There’s a lot to think about! If you have read the section in the magazine,
Read more about it at -http://www.epa.gov/oem/docs/oil/edu/oilspill_bokk/chap5.pdf
Boyan Slat, a 19 year old, wants to clean up all the plastic in our oceans in 5 years!! Learn about the work he is doing in this issue. And cheer him on at http://www.boyanslat.com/plastic5/
We love good illustrations – they really make a book sing. We spoke to our current favourite illustrator – our very own Priya Kuriyan whose illustrations brighten up Thinkling! Know about all that she loves and her special peace offering to the pigeons who visit her.
To see more of her work check out http://priyakuriyan.blogpot.in
Sticky Situations -
Think before you speak! Come re-word some Put-downs (mean or hurtful words) into Put-ups (positive, helpful words) And visit www.playfullearning.net to learn more about put-ups, put-downs and much more!
Green Room –
We met Anurupa Roy, a puppeteer par excellence and founder of the Katkatha puppetry group. Read more about the group and their events at www.katkatha.org