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The lesser known truck art of Chandigarh
They are simple, sober and subtle, yet not qualified much academically. But they have a unique art - their paintbrush works flawlessly. With a great sense of colours, they have a hidden artist within them - revealed through the colours they use.

WITHOUT ANY formal training in any school or college, their paintings on the trucks speak a lot. Within minutes they visualize and start preparing the ground for painting of the wooden panels on the back, sides and front of the truck.  They work with precision. But they are the lesser known artists and painters. 

I was always impressed and fascinated by their art while travelling at night on highways when you come across the mega trucks decorated with bright lights, streamers, charm lets, bright paint and interesting slogans and poetry. My curiosity further increased when I came to know from a driver of a giant truck that such wonderful artists are working in Motor Market of Manimajara near Chandigarh. The curiosity led me to find more about the truck painters of my beautiful city.

Motor market Manimajara is located in the northeast part of Chandigarh en route Kalka, Simla Highway. My first meeting with Madan, a truck painter in the Motor market increased my knowledge about their unique art. On my request he agreed to paint the back panels of the truck. He continued to talk about this wonderful art even while painting. I was watching his art minutely. He used thread and chalk to draw the outer boundary of the area. He prepared the ground of his canvas for painting with white, pink and blue paint. His hands worked so magically and beautifully that without dripping the paint anywhere the painting on the canvas started coming alive with different colors. He used black, red, orange, pink, green and blue colours for birds, trees, mountains, lake, small house, bridge and the rising sun. He gave the final touches to his wonderful art with a mix of different colours on one brush to complete the painting.

There are more than fifty such painters who work on the newly built long bodies of the trucks. There is a category of painters who are experts in their specified fields. Quite a few of them are known for their art of painting the front side while some of them are skilled in drawing deities (gods and goddesses) and beautiful damsels. While few others have attained mastery in writing slogans, painting of birds and flowers. They are gifted persons. Their art speaks through their hands, brushes and paints. They love their art and many of them are working here for more than 20 years now. The owners of the trucks and transport companies know their art when they visit and refer to them for such paintings. They charge approximately 8-10 thousands rupees per truck for the new work depending on quality and the type of work. Madan informed me that good quality paint adds life to the truck.

Smile of pride beamed from his face when he completed the painting and wrote the title of his work, “ Husan Paharon Ka” i.e. The Beauty of Mountains. I clicked the photograph, which he let me to click with grace.

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