THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Walking into the children’s ward at the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) is like walking straight into ‘Jungle Book’, with happy faces of Mowgli - the boy raised by the wolves, Baloo the bear, Chil the kite, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi mongoose and Sher Khan the tiger smiling at you.
Simba the Lion King and the mermaids too romp around the walls. The whole ward has no feel of a hospital with even the fans on the ceilings painted in myriad colours.
If the paint was given free of cost by Shanta Paints, the creative work was done by a group of students from the Fine Arts College. Saroop M V, Pavishanker, Sreejith, Suchindran, Sudheesh, Pratheesh and Kaladharan are the members of this group, which tries to earn while learning, by taking up such initiatives.
"Our idea was to form an art band like a music band, taking up all sorts of art-related jobs such as painting, sculpting and even designing. We have also done a couple of huge sand sculptures for public awareness,’’ says Saroop, referring to the huge Mullaperiyar Dam they built at Shangumugham beach and an accident scene created for traffic awareness.
The youngsters call themselves the ‘Wax Apple’. "It’s after the fruit we commonly refer to as ‘chambakka’; nice and pretty, pink and tasty. We thought it was a lovely name for the group,’’ says Pavishanker.
But their area of expertise is dressing up the walls of kiddie bedrooms in the brightest of colours. "All kids love Disney characters and depending on the age and nature of the child, we change our designs. Older kids prefer cartoon characters they are familiar with, such as the Ben 10. At RCC, we were specifically told not to depict any negative or scary characters,’’ says Pavishanker.
All in the final semester of painting and sculpture, the students have learnt to perfectly balance work and studies. "We generally get to work after college, mostly in the night. We try to finish doing one bedroom in one night. At RCC, we started work at 3 pm and had to complete the large ward by the next morning. The children obviously could not be kept away longer than that,’’ says Saroop.
Apart from painting and sculpting, the Wax Apple team is also involved in a number of poster designing and logo designing projects. "We are now thinking of doing a couple of projects for the government,’’ says Sreejith.
Now that they are in the final semester of their course, would the Wax Apple survive the tests of geographical distance once they leave college? "Of course, yes. We have no intentions of disbanding once we complete the course. In fact, even while we initiated this group a year ago, we had an idea of turning it into a company soon after studies. We intend to stick together for a long time,’’ they chorus.