Featured Image: Jey Sushil and Meenakshi Jey, the Artologue couple on their travels (Pic: Sumer Singh Rathore)
The Artologue couple travels in remote corners of India on their Royal Enfield bike Hari Bhari and Kesariya. They document their journey in their visually appealing blog called Artologue. Before you mistake them as just another couple on the loose, let me tell you why their journeys are extraordinary. Be it Bhagalpur (Bihar) or Shop Art Art Shop Festival (A Village Turned into open air art gallery) in Gunehar (Himachal) or the hitherto unknown village Lodarwa
Jey Sushil and Meenakshi with Shweta, posing against the new Artologue
near Jaiselmer (Rajasthan) and as far as Chennai, they leave a lasting impressions on the walls of their chosen destinations and the minds of the people who choose them. North, East, West or South, they have hopped on Kesariya and painted the town in rainbows colors. They paint the walls of schools, social support groups, orphanages, village homes and what nots. What makes the process interesting is that it is always a collaborative efforts. Locals help them complete the painting job making it a great excuse to bond with complete strangers and share good times over art. They had so many amazing stories to tell from their travels.
While Mr. Jey Sushil works full time as a journalist, Mrs. Meenakshi is a full time painter, artist. People fondly call Jey as Jazzy Jey. The couple likes to call themselves as Mee&Jey, yes no space. To quote them, their idea is “to bring art from art galleries to the homes and hearts of people.” Both are JNU pass outs. I found their chemistry infectious and their mere presence filled the room with energy.
Since a long time, me and Mrs. Alka Kaushik, a renowned Hindi journalist and travel blogger had been co-ordinating to fix an appointment with the couple and request them to paint a wall of Mrs. Kaushik’s study. Christened oddly by me as Hindon Café (Because ‘that room’ looks like a café and it’s near the Hindon river), it was a perfect place for artistic adventures. We had been connected for a long time on social media but never met in person. I instantly said yes when finally a date was fixed. (Me and Alka ji are to be blamed for this delay, thanks to our non-stop travels.)
On my personal agenda were: a) the sumptuous home cooked food (I am fed up of eating burnt food cooked by me) which I get to relish every time I visit Hindon café, b) endless conversations, and c) chilling under the winter sun with Sophie, the much pampered dog of the house (Because I miss my own pets).
The job began much before I could reach. Alka ji had called upon kids of construction laborers, local helps and house maids. Within minutes of instructions from the Artologue couple, they had turned a segment of the bland wall into a riot of colors. After devouring the pizzas, they left leaving behind the arduous task of painting the large wall. What lied ahead was scary for me. Fearing we would damage the wall, I and Dipanshu, a travel blogger dared not touch the brush until it was time to wrap. (I touched the brush only at the end to wash it)
Other non artistic guests gingerly painted the easier parts. I remember how Shweta, a sports blogger, put her hands down when she got the epiphany she was about to damage the wall. I teased her the entire day for this. On the other hand, Camy Thomas, a dentist silently painted along with poise as Sheelu ji took care of all the guests with her sunshine smile. Sheelu ji teaches Hindi to the expats. The hosts Alka ji and Mukesh ji painted diligently between jokes and sessions of green teas.Mukesh ji, a defense journalist kept every one’s spirits high with his crackling one liners. Mrs. Arti Jain, a journalist (formerly with NDTV) and her little daughter kept the spirits of everyone high. Mr. Deepesh, ex media person (Media Centre, USA Embassy) also remained away from the paint and brush for the same reason as Dipanshu’s and mine.
We didn’t realize when it turned dark. Even after spending all day, the task was far from over. Neither were we in any hurry. Blogging occupies all my time, including weekends. I needed this break to rejuvenate myself. The fun company made it all the more alluring. No wonder I cancelled my meeting on call and stayed back for more good food, banter and art sessions. Jazzy Jey educated us about the art of Meenakshi. We studied each of her artwork. It was so engrossing that I can’t wait to attend their next arts exhibition.
When finally the painting job was done, our jaws dropped on seeing the end result. 4 larger than life humanized ants went about their business (Drumming, reading, the works!) as snake and star shaped kites touched the sky. The human kids (Much shorter than the ants) on the left had the control of the kites. We stared at the lively wall which was just bland canvas a few hours ago. I understood in that moment why art needs space in people’s homes. What followed next were the endless sessions of laughter, red wine, coffee and food.
It was 11 p.m. when the Artologue couple left the home, decorated with a shawl that Alka ji presented thoughtfully as a parting gift. Yes, it takes passion and a certain kind of madness to spend the entire day painting the wall of someone’s house, remain energetic even at 11 p.m. and ride back home on a bike in Delhi’s winter. Kudos to the partners in crime who are spreading happiness across India, one wall at a time!
THE VIEW FROM MY #SoulWindow IS ARTISTIC!
Note: If you want them to come at your place (Village/Office/School/Hospital/Institutes/Organisation), paint a wall of yours and write about it then please mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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