Yatin Pimpale sits behind a desk on the third floor of the administrative wing of Anik Depot at Sion, which is open to the public as the BEST Transport Museum. The place is a treasure trove of paper models of all modes of public transport, few even dating back to the 19th century — from horse-driven trams and roofless double-decker buses to the modern day’s A/C buses and trains. And the artist behind these fascinating creations is 49-year-old Pimpale.
Enclosed within a small glass box are nearly 40 miniature models, displaying delicate and exquisite details, inside the museum. Pimpale’s fascination for vehicles kick-started from his childhood as he would see wealthier relatives line up their die-cast model cars at their homes. “I knew we could not afford such cars. So, I devised my own by using card-stock paper,” says Pimpale.
An alumnus of JJ School of Arts, he possesses part-time degrees in photography, interior design and music. He has been making these models for the last 11 years. “My first model was that of a BEST bus. When I saw the finished product, I just knew that this was only the beginning. I wanted to showcase my art to all. So, with the help of my family and friends, I put up an exhibition called ‘All The BEST’, that displayed 134 models. I always wanted to do something unconventional in art, this was it.”
He has worked as an assistant foreman with BEST for the last 27 years and derives his inspiration from his years of service to the undertaking. “I’m very passionate about my job. Our services are essential to millions in this city daily. It is one of the reasons I chose to make these models,” he says. He adds that through this, he is also attempting to preserve the history of transportation in the city.
“A lot of historic museums for transport are there in London and across the world. Unfortunately, India does not have one. So, I took up the task of recreating them.” He adds that precise measurements are important for making these bus models, for which he relies on photos. It takes him around four days to draw the sketches of the buses and another two weeks to do the railway designs on his computer using a software.
Pimpale sources his materials from almost anywhere. “I find materials sometimes from trash around the house, on the floor or even from hardware store.” “These models are eco-friendly and children are very intrigued by these. It’s a good tool to help encourage children and adults to avail of the BEST services and put our history and relevance in the forefront,” says Pimpale.