A photograph of the late Nek Chand, the creator of the Rock Garden, now adorns his office. His son Anuj Saini gently sorts out letters, papers, clippings, cards etc from his father’s desk.
“All his plans for the Rock Garden, sketches, drawings etc were done at this office and on this desk. He loved meeting people here, talking to visitors about his work and effort, and sharing many stories of his work and the challenges. This is a special place, for I would watch him work here, as I played in this space as a child and made thermocol models under his guidance,’’ said Anuj Saini, a landscaper and now a member of the Rock Garden Society.
Nek Chand used to spend the better part of his day in this office in the Rock Garden, and also kept some of his personal belongings here, including his clothes, gramophone, records, bicycle, letters of appreciation from around the world.
The Society for Maintenance and Development of Rock Garden is planning to celebrate the Rock Garden creator’s birthday, on December 15, as the Nek Chand Day. Chand’s office will be made open to the public from December 12 to 15. Entry will be free.
“A life-size silicone sculpture of my father, sculpted by Gurpreet Singh will be installed in the office. Gurpreet studied many photographs and videos of my father to get the expressions, contours of his face, physical attributes, hair etc for the sculpture, and he has done an exemplary job. It has to be seen to be believed,’’ shares Siani, who as been completely involved in every aspect of the Garden, and now the Festival, since his father’s death.
“The Festival,” shared Anurag Agarwal, Home Secretary and also Chairman of Rock Garden Society, “is a small effort to showcase Nek Chand’s contribution to the world, and will give people from all walks of life a chance to enjoy the Rock Garden.”
Exhibitions of murals and sculptures made out of waste, a photography showcase, sculpture workshop, music performances are some of the highlights of the Festival.
“All these four days, Phase 3 of the Garden will have night lighting, and there are plans to make it a permanent feature. Nek Chand wanted that the Rock Garden should be seen from as far as Kasauli,’’ said Agarwal.
Also, work on the Nek Chand Museum, is in full swing, as is the plan to modernise the aquarium, and also create a village scene with the rag dolls Nek Chand had made. “At the museum, we will display Nek Chand’s photographs, awards, things, letters and people can connect with his work, passion and philosophy,’’ summed up Agarwal.