After declaration of result, we all took a deep breath. Subodh, once again asked for tea. We all were smiling. Everyone got engaged in chit-chatting along with hot tea. But, I was restless in excitement. My mind was tingling. Thoughts were traveling from one corner to another. One side, I was very happy with this competition’s result. It was assuring me that I was right in my belief that talent is beyond the barricade of age, race, cat, creed etc. After all, a four year old child had competed with a 45 years old competitor and won the first prize! A jail inmate has won the coveted Judge’s special award! I am not wrong! I said in my mind.
Every work brings some more challenges. You cross one barrier, other will stand over there to welcome you. I had another challenge. Awarding winners of this world is not a big issue. How the winner, stay in the world of foru cornered wall would be awarded? I shared my worry to Subodh and Sarita. My daughter Vidha Saumya was also there. They thought for a while and said, “ First you inform them about the award and then ask the way out to reward him. They themselves will give you the way.”
“I am sure that they will not allow to him (winner) to come out to receive the award.”
“Then we will go there and give him the award.” Subodh said.
“That I wanted from you people.” I said. Secondly, I don’t want to travel such a long distance just for giving an award.” Subodh saw me with question mark. I said,” We must go for the day. We should organize some workshop for other inmates. Let them also have an opportunity to express themselves…..And this would not be possible without you people.”
“First you send your letter. Just wait for their response and we will decide accordingly.” Said Subodh.
And rest is history. The moment jail authority had received AVITOKO letter, they called us. Mr Karnik, Jailer of Thane Central Jail wished and thanked us. We also expressed our happiness and gratitude that they are keeping the welfare measure for inmates. Now I came to the point about rewarding the winner. As I expected, he simply said that it’s not possible to send inmate out. But better you talk to our Bada Saheb, means the Superintendent.
He connected line to the Superintendent. As I earlier said, it was Sri Rajendra Dhamne, the Superintendent of Thane Central Jail. He also expressed his gratitude towards us for giving a chance to his inmate to participate in the competition in open category. I came on the point. He also said with blank tone, “We cannot send our inmate out to receive the award…..Yes, There is procedure. But you have to follow the entire procedure and that also, I am not sure, you will get the permission. Why don’t you come here and reward him?”
“We don’t have any problem. But we don’t want to come just tp perform this ritual only. …We want to orgainise an art workshop for your inmates. Let some more people get an opportunity to express themselves through the art.”
That is not a problem. But, you must know that we don’t provide any NGO to any monetary support. We will just give you the permission, place and participants.
“Means 3 PPPs. I said jokingly. He laughed a loud.
“No problems. We will bring art material and our experts to run the show.” I said.
“Let’s meet first. We will jot down the program later on.” Phone was disconnected.
But I am not. Disconnection from one place had connected me to other space. Arranging art materials- papers, colors, brushes and above all, experts was my main look out. I had just enthusiasm, a passion. Rest of all, I don’t had any idea about the types of paper, quality of colors, number of brushes. I said to Vidha. She was at that time the student of JJ School of Art. She was in the same art field, so she was aware about these technical things. She assured me to bring the materials, but first the expert should be decided and his/her need to conduct the workshop should be explained. Then only, materials can be procured.
Now, the time was to hunt the experts. I asked Sarita very first, whether she would like to take this workshop. But due to some unavoidable circumstances, she showed her inability.
I asked Subodh with sinking heart. What will happen if he will also refuse? He asked, when do you want to do? Take a time for any Saturday and let me know.”
“That I will do. Will you please give me the details for workshop material so that I can tell Vidha to get them. Or you yourself talk to her. I think, this will more convenient.”
“Don’t worry. I will manage this part.”
I felt light. Now, I will have to go to jail and meet the Superintendent. How I met him, you had read in my earlier episode. (Contd…)