Taking a stroll through Church Street on a Saturday evening can lead one to an array of sights. Families going shopping and youngsters gathering for a good night out are just a few of the crowd that throngs the area. There is intense chattering and laughter heard everywhere; people are getting into another festive spirit (given how many festivals there are in the first place). But for the past year, there has been a rather peculiar gathering in front of the old Blossom bookstore. Youngsters clicking swiftly on old school typewriters while others illustrate or hum a tune or two for the crowd gathered, there is a different kind of conversation and entertainment happening here.
Calling themselves “Buskers”, the group comprises of mainly five youngsters who basically have a conversation with anyone who approaches them, curious to know what they do. Towards the end of it, the busker gives you a poem or a note from a typewriter, based on the conversation they just had with you. They are also frequently accompanied by illustrators and musicians, all who come with the idea of having a good conversation.
Busking generally means a kind of street performance, which mainly involves music.
The idea was initiated by Rahul Kondi, who started busking sometime in December, 2017. “I tried busking a while back and liked the act of it. I have been doing it since then and never looked back”. He was quickly joined by Nisshtha Khattar, who bought her typewriter along with Rahul. The other members are Richa Pandey, Cipun Mishra and Arjun Baburajan. They are frequently accompanied by Thomas Joseph, an artist who sketches for them. Anyone is free to join them and there have been others who busk along with them occasionally.
The central highlight of their performance is the typewriters they use. At a time when it is a rare commodity, which is no longer being produced or in demand, it is fascinating to see it being used and explored. “All five of us have our own stories with our typewriters and we are very attached to them. We even have our own names for them and that has fostered a kind of connection for each of us”, says Nisshtha.
Though the members have their own reasons for pursuing this form of art, creativity is the central factor which drives all of them. The want to be mindful and creative when interacting with a stranger and writing something for them following it, is a challenge. And it is this challenge, along with their personal reasons that has banded the buskers, who comes from different walks of life. “I liked writing and it was always felt it to be a nice pastime. I also illustrate for others who are typing”, says Nisshtha.
The buskers aim to raise awareness about the concept of busking and get more artists to take to the street, where the everyday people are. “Art is made in collaboration and I wanted to create a platform where the artist and the subject collaborate to create something unique to the time and space they share”, says Rahul. In brief, they want to give more art to the public.
The group further stresses on the policy of “Pay as you like”, through which the people who approach them can decide how much they want to pay.
They share their activities on Instagram under #blrbusking and they plan to open an account soon and organize what they do