From open urinals to paint chipping off the walls, cow dung, and fruit flies everywhere — the sight of a railway station left Indore’s Nilesh Nagra appalled.

In 2017, the civil engineer thought about how he could beautify railway stations through paintings.

He and his friend approached the Division Railways Magistrate’s (DRM) office of Ratlam and proposed the 3D artwork that promoted the local art and culture.

The pitch was to experiment with just one railway platform and instead, they bagged five stations. The only condition was they had to self-fund the project.

Nilesh gathered five people studying fine arts, or those who had graduated in a similar field, and completed the project, leaving the officials and passengers impressed.

“Seeing the walls come alive with bright colours, tourist spots, festivals, we observed a change in people’s behaviour,” says Babar Qureshi, commercial manager of Ratlam Division.

“There was awareness and a reduction in garbage dumping activity. Now people think before spitting,” he adds.

What began with a small team of five people now has 145 artists and their company ‘Satrangi Creations’ is widely known in the railway circles.

“So far we have covered 48 stations. We have worked in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and MP. The idea is to encourage people to keep the stations clean,” says Nilesh.

Later, Nilesh quit his corporate job to engage completely in painting walls. His painting of Pashupatinath temple at Mansoor railway wall also got him government recognition.