STANDING tall and stately, a chowkidaar guards J J House in Sector 4, MDC. He is a mosaic man, like many other sculptures created by Nek Chand. And he is the pride of Gobind Thukral’s home. The journalist received it as a gift from the Rock Garden creator more than 25 years ago. Thukral first met Nek Chand as part of his job, and after only a few interactions, the two became friends.
“It was a bond of affection for Nek Chand was an extremely friendly and generous person, with a simple heart, for whom his work and art, was everything. Everyone who met him established a friendship that lasted forever. He would often come to visit me in my office and carry something special and thoughtful with him every time,” recalled Thukral.
He then showed the rest of his Nek Chand collection: a bird, a small boy, and hand-made bead necklaces, bracelets and earrings. In his typical style, Nek Chand had made the sculptures with broken tiles and cement. While the chowkidaar stands as the guard of the house, the other two sculptures adorn the garden inside the house.
“After so many years, whoever visits our home appreciates these unique gifts. Many of our relatives have taken some of the beautiful and delicate clay bead necklaces with them, taking his work to different cities,” said the lady of the house, adding that these mementos are very precious and kept with utmost care.
“These artistic gifts always remind us of our dear friend and helpful guide. Every time we met Nek Chand, be it at home, party or a public gathering, we had something new to learn from him, as he had so many facets. He was a charming man who used to make friends with people easily and loved to be around them,” said Thukral.