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Carving a painting

ARTISTRY If Patnaik is devoted to art, so is Sandhya , says RAMESH SUSARLA


I was thrilled to be with the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi


It is not the money that an artist craves for, but the recognition of his/her works that leave an indelible mark on the contemporary society and become part of history. If all this happens and as a bonus his work is chosen to become a historical exhibit in the edifice of country's capital, it is really something to be proud of.

Spending his childhood in Guntur and keeping his roots intact, C. Ravi Shankar Patnaik, spoke at length on how he not only chisels idols, but also literally shapes the careers of hundreds of Fine Arts students at the Andhra University. Sandhya, his better half, an artist of national repute, not only splashes colours on canvas, but also makes their life extra colourful with that essential personal touch in caring for the family members.

Sweet home

Savouring chicken-65, Chicken sizzler, and veg-soft noodles and Hotel Vajram residency in Guntur, the couple talked about their experiences through their artistic journey. Together they have created a cozy dwelling in the first floor -- sandwiched between two professional studios. It is a temple of fine arts with Sandhya, a BFA degree-holder and English literature background, converting their home into one of the warmest places to be with her creative instinct in comfortable interior decoration.

United in the wedlock a decade ago, Sandhya hailing from Kakinada took interest in painting inspired by the atmosphere at her in-laws' house. Daughter-in-law of one of the best sculptors of national reputation, C.S.N. Patnaik, she got encouragement from all possible circles and now conducts exhibition of her works all over the country.

The artist in her had been growing in tune with her phase of life and she proudly declares Uday and Sunith -- their sons -- never missed a single moment of mother's love. She is obsessed with changing the interiors of the house as often as possible with the cheapest and appealing material available.

Uday never misses a chance to watch his favourite cartoon shows on all channels. Possessive about his two-year-old brother Sunith, whom the family calls Littu, Uday devours Chicken 65 with soft vegetable noodles. That is his usual choice at the numerous outings the family loves to go on holidays.

Gandhi statue

Statue of `Father of the Nation' was to be installed under the canopy on the India Gate-Rashtrapathi Bhavan Road in New Delhi and from among several sculptors all over the country; the Ministry of Urban Development chose the work of Ravi Shankar. In 1995, coinciding with their marriage he got the most prestigious project of carving a 17.5 feet bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi based on the 3-foot Macket he had presented.

The former Prime Minsiter, Lal Bahadur Shastri's statue sculpted by Ravi now adorns the foreyard of prestigious academy at Massorie by the same name for the IAS trainees. This was what Ravi contributed nationally, but his international repute spreads far and wide. The lessons Ravi had learnt from his father had brought perfection to Mother Teresa statues in El-Salvador, Panama City, and Rome.

Their excellent work fetched them a chance to host family members of Lal Bhadur Shastri and Mahatma Gandhi at their beachside house in Visakhapatnam, which they never dreamt of. "I was thrilled to find myself amongst the company of grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Rajmohan Gandhi, and relatives of Lal Bahadur Shastri within days of my marriage. I never dreamt of ever meeting any one of them," said Sandhya.

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