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B’luru Artist Brings Alive Stories of Strangers On Vintage Love Letters & Bills. Check Out Pics!

The very first illustration that Bakula Nayak made was upon a letter that was exchanged between her parents during the early days of their marriage.

Letters belonging to strangers, bills, and worn, old diaries from the bygone era—these are of little value to most people. However, for those who nurse an affinity for anything vintage, these are priceless possessions and hold more value than age-old heirlooms.

For Bengaluru-based artist Bakula Nayak, collecting old pieces of paper started at an early age but converting them into nostalgic and unforgettable pieces of art has been a recent journey.

Through vibrant illustrations upon old love letters, grocery bills, diaries, official records and even pieces of sheet music, she is breathing life into the otherwise forgotten lives of unknown people and giving us all a slice of history, along the way.

It was her father’s passing that led her to this unusual path, and the very first illustration she made was upon a letter that was exchanged between her parents during the early days of their marriage.

The artist, Bakula Nayak.

“My parents had rarely stayed apart from each other except on very rare occasions, so during that brief separation, he had written a letter to my mother every single day. I came across these letters after his demise, and it triggered something in me,” says Bakula to The Better India.

For the rest of the world, these may be a collection of papers, but for Bakula, within these letters, there existed an exchange of words, emotions, life stories, and a world that encompassed all of them.

She somehow felt responsible for these faded and forgotten letters as well as every single piece of paper that she had collected from across the world. The need to bring these stories back is what paved the way for these works.

“These might not carry the value of heirlooms that people have handed down through generations, but these fading pieces of paper from another time—these are slices of history that open a window into their forgotten lives,” she adds.

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Get ready to lose yourself in the stories of strangers from the past with these touching and colourfully illustrated vintage pieces of art by Bakula.

Bakula’s first painting that is on a letter by her father to her mother from the sixties.
‘When I found house tax papers from 1947 in an old shop in Delhi, I started my series on what home means to me. This is one of them.’
Hook, Line & Sinker: ‘Drawn on a vintage legal paper I go back to the first flush of love.’
Two to Tango – him, coffee…me, tea…. enough said!
Inspired by Raas Leela – the union of the individual with divinity.
This painting is inspired by Bakula’s relationship with Krishna and by Ritusamhara – an epic poem by Kalidasa that sets the lovers against a backdrop of nature.
On a flash card used to teach English in America during the fifties.
Outside the Bowl: The canvas is the back of a page from a book of wallpaper samples (1931).
Home Tonite – drawn on house tax papers from 1947-1951, Delhi.
LIVE.LIVE.EAT – A grocery bill from 1933 – not a record of any earth shattering event but a slice of history nevertheless.
Making Memories- isn’t that what we do in our homes? Drawn on a postcard from the Delhi Municipality from 1948 – a reminder to pay house taxes on time.
Drawn on a music sheet for a funny song on hens.
On a traveling couple’s postcard to a another couple in Delhi from 1971.
Featuring an account out of Emperor Babur’s memoir, Baburnama.
In a jam – need I say more?
‘I found this book of vintage music sheets with children’s songs. How fun is this one – Hello Mr.Toothbrush.’
Reminiscing about old Bangalore- the profusion of reds with the Gulmohar trees and Copper Smith Barbets in them.
In a Nutshell – drawn on a vintage legal paper that summarises a case.
Perhaps one of the oldest papers that Bakula has ever possessed – a railway waybill from 1882 for Buckwheat.

You can check more of Bakula Nayak’s work on her Instagram handle here.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.