Sitting on a crowded pavement of M G Road at the junction of Brigade Road that is already over shadowed by the Metro, one can easily overlook him as people rush hither and thither, lost in their thoughts. As his feet move at a lightning pace, you can’t help but be in awe of this determined 32-year-old differently abled artist. With dreams and hopes in his eyes, as Manju contemplates his life ahead, you realise how important it is to appreciate the simpler things in life. Seeking inspiration from everyday life for his artwork, Manju says, “I am the happiest when I am painting. Art is all I have. I find peace in art.”
Hailing from Hassan district, the artist has been painting for the past 15 years. From majestic landscapes to minimal art work, the artist has dabbled in all genres from the popular to unconventional. “My family is in Hassan. They have always been my guiding angels. I keep visiting them quite often. I normally paint from my imagination. But I also get quite a few orders. People often asked me if I can reproduce a photograph for them. Soon, I started taking orders and I am quite happy that people really like my work today. It is quite satisfying,” the artist explains.
Religiously following the same routine for the past five years, Manju comes to M G Road at 11 am and sits on the pavement lost in his paintings till 7 pm. In fact, the artist said that everyone including the cops and other roadside sellers have been quite supportive of him. “Not a single day goes by when people shower me with praises and words of encouragement. All this helps me going and gives me that extra edge to push myself. Someday, I would like to go to an art school and have painting exhibitions of my own. It is a dream I am willing to chase no matter what,” he added.
Armed with will and determination to excel in his endeavour to seek out a meaningful life, as the artist walks into the hazy sunset amidst the chaos and confusion on M G Road, it makes you wonder what life has in-store for this talented artist.