The road is chalk-a-block

The road is chalk-a-block

Sketching life

The road is chalk-a-block

It is fascinating and at the same time, saddening to see what some people do for a living. One among those is Jogi Nagappa, an artist who draws on the sides of roads to make a livelihood.

Unable to complete his studies, he sold groundnuts and bananas on the street as a 12-year-old boy. He then came across a man from Chennai who taught him the art of dr­a­wing. Jogi who is 56-years-old now, has been drawing on the roads for the past 35 years now. “I started off drawing on the roads of Malleswaram near Sampige Theatre. I drew pictures of God using chalk pieces in Chandrappa Circle, Jayanagar 9th Block and Ha­nu­m­anthnagar,” says Nagappa.

When he hears about the annual temple festivals in and around the City, he gets ready with his box of chalk pieces and goes on a sketching mode. He draws images of the celebrated god for the day and sits besides his sketch waiting for onlookers to donate money. “I make sketches of Lord Hanuman, Ganesha, Venkateshwara, Raghavendra, Vishnu.... I make these drawings keeping in mind the occasion. For instance, I make Lord Hanuman’s sketch on the occasion of ‘Hanuman Jayanthi’ and so on,” he says.

While he spends Rs 50 on the chalk pieces for one drawing, he earns an amount of Rs 100 to Rs 400 on each sketch. “People appreciate my efforts and contribute Rs 10 or Rs 20. There are a few who also drop coins of Re 1. Whatever the amount, I thank them for helping me,” he says.

He also writes the request ‘Please Help me’ below his sketches in Kannada and English. “I don’t know how to read and write. I was taught to write the requests by one of the supporters,” he says. He adds that he does these sketches for three days a week. “I draw near Subramanya Temple on Tuesday, near Raghavendra Temple on Thursday and Lord Shani’s Temple on Saturdays in and around Basavanagudi,” he says. He also goes to houses as a jogi and begs for alms. A father of three, he says, “My two daughters are studying in 1st year BA and ninth grade. My son is in fourth grade. I go to different houses as a jogi and the people who know me give some money for my children’s education. My wife works in a garment shop and that is how we manage our family,” he explains.

This hard-working man, who sits under the sun all day long, laments about the misfortunes he faces. “There are times when I do two sketches at a time in two different places. At this time, people see the sketches and drop some money knowing that I am not around. But there are these miscreants who steal that money and run away and I am unable do anything at that time. There was this one time where an onlooker stopped the miscreant. But it is not the situation all the time,” he laments.

Along with these miscreants, the seasonal rain also causes some trouble to his job. “I usually go to houses as a jogi during rainy season as it is tough to protect my sketches from the rain. But I am really content that god has given me this talent and I am happy and thankful to him for this,” wraps up Nagappa.

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