A Forceful Life

  • Anita Jaswal
  • India
  • Aug 31, 2012
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When an army officer retires, after spending more than three decades in a job which offers adventure, honour, prestige, self respect—and to top it all a quality of life not found in any other service—what does he do? There is a sudden vacuum. It is filled by a round of golf or bridge, or tending to the garden, or merely leading a retired life.

Thus, it comes as a surprise when you meet someone like Col. Karan Kaura. He feels retirement is the respect given to your years of service. But if you do not want to sit and rest, then why not explore and live the life that you are worth. For him, age is clearly a state of mind. He says, “I think I have creative genes. Both my parents had an artistic streak. I decided to be true to myself, and do what fuels my passion.” So be it Decoupage, Painting, crafting driftwood, Ikebana or Bonsai – he has dabbled in them all. He is also a certified hypnotherapist!

He has been retired from active service for the last 15 years ago. He says, “Wasn’t there a time when you wanted to learn to paint, sing or dance? Cultivate a hobby that interests you? Fulfill all your desires? Use your creativity to put forth your ideas? Let not age make you surrender to its oddities. Soar and fly. Begin your life anew, in its own colours.”

For Col. Kaura, Decoupage is not just the art of decorating an object by gluing coloured paper cut-outs onto it – in combination with special paint effects,  and gold leaf. He says, “There’s a lot to love about decoupage and collage projects. They’re simple to make, and the possibilities are endless. “Creating a decoupage piece is like doing deep and prolonged meditation. Time ceases to exist. Be warned, decoupaging can become an addictive habit. Luckily, it is also an inexpensive one. Before long, you will have an array of objects, that can be used to decorate your home – and they make wonderfully personalised gifts too.” Col. Kaura takes 40 hours to make a simple piece – and up to 70 hours for a 3D creation.

Another interesting revelation of this interesting gentleman is his foray into the making of Papercrete. He explains, “In the wake of the green revolution, alternative building materials, have become very popular.”

Making a paper house? Sounds like something Dorothy might have seen in the Land of Oz. He elucidates painstakingly, “Papercrete is an incredible building material, that is environmentally friendly, light—but strong—and amazingly insulate. Even if the sun beats down on the papercrete wall all day, the heat will not transfer through to the interior. Innovative people across the globe are experimenting with ways of using paper and other recyclable materials to build houses. Also, since structures made with papercrete are 95 per cent recycled materials, the cost is very low.”

Four years ago he erected a papercrete room in Gurgaon, which has withstood the exposure to the weather without damage. It is being used for living purposes.

When asked how he manages time and energy for all these activities, he says with pride, “For this, I have to thank my wife Vani, my anchor.

We may be different in personalities, motivations, and interests, but it is our shared values and respect for each other’s interests which keeps us going. She has confidence in me, which is more than I have in myself – and I need to hear that too!”

The artist in Col. Kaura is like a moving wheel which cannot be stopped. His mantra is: Life, I am back – like a Phoenix.



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