Most artists are more or less approaching the final stages of their work.

They have to. 🙂 The festival starts from 7th and ends on 14th (June 2016).

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Eeint – an artist from Delhi, repairs his bottle work after heavy winds left many of them broken.  A drunk guy came soon afterwards and left behind his empty whiskey bottle. “You guys are in need of empty bottles I can see”, he remarked before leaving. So very helpful!
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Terra prepares to carry her clay houses from her shop to burn them in a locally made brick furnace.

Bluehair met with an accident day before yesterday. That left her with a crushed big toe. The injury is so serious that the toe might even get amputated. 🙁

But we all are hoping for the best. I was told her toe has already shown some signs of recovery. And that means she could end up keeping it, if nothing goes wrong. She is admitted to a hospital in Palampur and some of us plan to visit her in the evening. She would most likely return home once she is discharged from the hospital. All of us are slightly disturbed and sad about this, but then, such is life.

I have three stories ready + 1 jingle that is a story in itself. 😀 I think I have enough extra footage to create few more as the festival starts (I am thinking may be two more). Pretty proud of myself! The stories are not online yet. I would slowly release them once the festival starts. Or may be after 14th, when it’s over.

Biwi showed up and stayed for few days before leaving for her trek that started in Manali.

She even brought with her, our projector from Goa. It’s being of much use here.

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Villagers enjoy screening of few stories in my “ArtShop”.

Biwi also helped me make my shop look better (painting, sticking papers and all such things). The work is not yet complete but should hopefully look much neater in the next few days. Biwi also took few dance classes for the village girls, for a possible performance during the festival. I look forward to her returning on 10th.

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Biwi interacting with the village kids.
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A village girl poses for my camera in my shop. I have a big print of this (and few more faces) now, that I plan to stick to one of the columns.
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A poster that I have gotten printed in a huge 3X5 feet size. There are couple of more – will try using them in a way that they give a village multiplex feel to my shop!

Life in the village is going on as usual in the meantime. My interactions with villagers declined somewhat over the last few days because of all the editing and shop beautification tasks that I was upto (still am). But I did go out once in a while to capture some of what I saw.

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A girl waits for her turn to get Kerosene from Ram’s ration shop.
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A villager takes cover during a short spell of rain. I almost never see anyone carrying rain-coats here, even when it rains every few days (albeit for short duration).

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I ended up meeting Vishnu again (had mentioned him in diary#3; a guy who works in a perfume factory in Chandigarh, misses his village when working in the city, but also gets bored when he comes to village for short duration). I shot him working with bullocks in one of his fields. Often, his nephew and niece would take over. Later he took me to his house and made me see parts of the village I had never been to. He returned to Chandigarh the next day.

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Vishnu’s nephew works with bullocks as his niece observes her brother. Sister in laws help remove weed to prepare the field for rice plantation.

A funny thing happened. Pinkhair who is an author and is an integral part of the Shop Art team, (blogging regularly about artists and the development of the festival) is from New Zealand. So I shared my New Zealand Holioke with her. She loved it, showed it to Eeint and then slowly everyone ended up seeing it, one by one. It was proposed that I show them to the villagers too, when I screen my movies. And guess what, I did so. Since then, both that and the Italy holioke are like hot favorites here in this village. In fact, they care more about those videos than their own stories! 😀

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While I screen inside a dark room during day time, the screenings shift outdoors during the evening – for half an hour.
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Villagers – mostly kids, absorb the beauty of Italy via the Holioke that Biwi and I made last year.

In less than ten days, it would be time to leave this village and I have this feeling, I might miss this place for quite some time.

Alright, let me go now and decorate my shop. The huge posters that I have, need to be framed so that they can be put up on the wall. And then there is always some editing to do. Villagers want more and more stories and I don’t want to let them down.

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