Saturday, August 11, 2012

Why Football Never Hurt....

In year 2011, I had been to Mahabalipuram village in Tamil Nadu - 80kms from Chennai - for my first international sculpture symposium. We would be provided with blocks of Black Granite - a specialty stone of the region - to carve and sculpt. 

While carving the hard granite,  sharp specs of stone would splinter from the main rock and hit the skin hard. I had carried along reasonable protection gear : thick cargo pants, hard shoes, gloves, eye-mask, ear-mask and another one covering the nose and face. On the other hand there were European sculptors - totally uncovered from head to toe barring a set of ear-plugs, a cigarette and a pair of shorts. And then there were the local village carvers who served us as assistants - clad in simple sattai and veshti folded up for comfort.

I'd begun feeling like a lesser man amongst these brave-hearts until Stephen Pepin, a Swiss sculptor, bled injuries on Day-2 of the symposium. All subsequent days saw the entire team turn up in full gear, not once complaining of the hot Indian sun. Then once towards the end of the event, I too hurt myself a bit trying to finish my work in a hurry. My assistant, Kalain - yet dressed in his sattai-veshti uniform - rushed to the spot and pressed a handful of stone-dust into the wound. For a moment, my reflexes were snubbed as Kalain was attempting to cure me with the very dust I would have otherwise attempted to wash off in the name of sanitizing. The cut was healed until the next morning as though it never existed.

Reminded me of childhood days..... How we happily survived bruised knees and bleeding elbows in the rain-showers of muddy monsoon grounds. In Football, only the game seemed infectious... although most of us have never been momma's good boys... never sanitizing ourselves clean with 60-seconds of handwash before every family meal.


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