A woman keeping shoes at Nimtala ghat surprised everyone by drawing pictures. Sangbad Pratidin IG News

Subrata Biswas: Poverty can never stifle talent. Only if you have the mindset to develop it. Genius can flourish even in adversity. For forty-two years he was seen guarding the shoes of devotees just outside the Bhoothanath temple adjacent to the Nimtala Ghat. But for a few months, the images of the gods and goddesses living in the world take shape under the touch of his canvas. He casually paints Bholanath, the face of Goddess Durga, Goddess Saraswati, Ganesha, Kali, Mother Tara. After the pencil sketch, the goddesses come to life in watercolour. Pilgrims coming from beggars to Shabdah praise his image. Even many devotees who came to Bhoothnath temple wanted to buy the picture.

Losing the title of shoe keeper, he now acquires the identity of an artist. Name Shikha Ghosh. Everyone knows her as Shikha Masi. He is a resident of Shivtala at Jangipara Ghanshyam Bati of Hooghly. But for forty-two years most of the time was spent before Bhutnath. Small income by taking care of devotees’ shoes. He works all day and rests in the temple at night. Even if you go home every month or two, you don’t have to stay. In Shikhadevi’s words, even though she had a husband and a son, they weren’t what she wanted. Son quit work and tied. What he couldn’t accept from his heart. Coming to Bhutnath forty two years ago looking for income in dire straits. Lying at his feet for more than four decades. By handling devotees’ shoes, the income is two to two and a half hundred rupees per day. One way or another, the struggle for survival becomes even more difficult when the child degenerates. To forget the emotional pain, he started painting three to four months ago.

[আরও পড়ুন: ফিরল তিন বছর আগের দুঃসহ স্মৃতি, মাঝরাতে ফের বউবাজারে একাধিক বাড়িতে ফাটল]

In his words, “I immerse myself in painting to get rid of anxiety. A benefactor saw him draw pictures on dirty paper with a pencil and bought art paper notebooks, paints, pencils. Image after image all represent gods and goddesses. Many pilgrims coming to Devbhoomi have expressed their interest in buying photos. But he didn’t sell a single one. According to him, he will only start selling with the permission of the person who bought the paper and the paint. But who is the sudhijan? Where can you find it? don’t know that But don’t make money selling talent without taking his permission.

Take your eyes off the photo several times to look for this man. If you see a crowd of people admiring the photo, hopefully. He spent time painting while studying as a child. It emerges in effort even after a long half-century. To prove that lack cannot kill talent. Rather, it burns out and becomes more established. Maybe one day this image will go from the sidewalk to an art gallery. Who can say that it will not happen.

[আরও পড়ুন: বেলদায় দিলীপকে ‘গোব্যাক’ স্লোগান তৃণমূলের, ‘MP দেখেনি, তাই দেখতে এসেছে’, কটাক্ষ সাংসদের]

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