Don't discard useless household articles. Upcycle them!

Gurpreet Singh, who works as an engineer with Punjab Power Corporation in Mohali, has an interesting hobby. He transforms broken and reusable things into eye-catching showpieces by the process of upcycling – this simply means using these articles for a new purpose. In Gurpreet's home, flowers bloom in old shoes, plants thrive in old pipes and jars of ghee and refined oils. The whole house has been decked up with such curios

Arvind ShuklaArvind Shukla   24 Aug 2019 1:20 PM GMT

What do we do when something breaks or becomes useless in our homes? Well, most of us discard the useless articles, but Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Mohali in Punjab, creates wonders out of them. Nothing is useless as per him so an engineer by profession, Gurpreet Singh is an expert at making something out of nothing.

"If something in our household gets broken by our domestic help, she says: "No problem! Bhaiyya will make something out of it," Kanwaldeep Kaur tells smilingly of her husband's unique talent and the household's reaction to it.

Things that are deemed broken and waste are transformed into reusable, eye-catching showpieces by the process of upcycling. An alumnus of Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, and presently working as an engineer with Punjab Power Corporation, Gurpreet Singh is an expert at upcycling.

His home in Mohali bears a testament to his talent in its design and décor. Gurpreet showing a lampshade fashioned out of gourd added: "You see, there is no such thing called waste. If viewed from the angle of utility, everything has some use. Since childhood, I was attached to old things and could not bring myself to throw them. Now I fashion one thing or the other out of them. I feel spiritual satisfaction when I refashion and reuse old things."

Elaborated about his hobby, Gurpreet said: "One thing weird about my nature is that I get quickly bored out of things. I pursued photography for 5-7 years and then did cycling for a couple of years, but the real thrill I got through working with mixed media. It is quite challenging to make anything out of waste and stones -- it is not every time that something gets made. I rejoice if I am successful, if I fail, I try again."

In Gurpreet's home flowers bloom in old shoes and plants thrive in old pipes and jars of ghee and refined oils. The whole house has been decked up with such curios.

"I have bought nothing from stores. This lamp that you see is made from an old pail of paint. For eight years, the pail was used for mopping the house. When its base gave away, I converted it to the current use. This is all I do," said Gurpreet.

He added, "This art is called upcycling. Upcycling means using a thing for a new purpose while recycling would mean reusing the thing in its original way."

Besides refashioning old and broken things, Gurpreet also engages deeply with pebble art. With one full room filled with pebbles of all sorts, the walls of his home are the witness of his passion.

Showing the designs on the wall for various occasions, including Holi and Mother's Day, Gurpreet added with a twinkle in his eyes: "I have created all these designs with pebbles from the streets. I don't alter any pebble, but by adding more pebbles provide it a shape. For the past 2-3 years, I am doing this. It is with the help of these pebbles I seek to commemorate all events in our lives."

Gurpreet has converted the top story of his residence into his workshop. One room in the balcony is reserved for woodwork, and the inner room is full of stones. He calls it his place of worship.

"I allow only a selected few here for I address my spiritual side here. This is my peace haven. Putting on some Sufi songs I lose myself in work here and something or the other is made." He smiles on his own words.

How does he then strike a balance between the responsibilities of a government job and his passion? In answer to this, he said: "I get encouraged by people's support. My art pleases people. Their adulation inspires me to do better. But my biggest inspiration is my wife. Had it not been for her nothing of this would have been possible. Along with a job, she manages the entire household so I may dedicate my time to my hobby."

Hearing this Kanwalpreet Kaur said: "I understand that all this takes time, so I try to maintain a home atmosphere conducive to his pursuits. When, for example, he makes a video of a certain project, I help by holding the camera, I have also begun enjoying it all."

"As it is I have grown habitual of all this. While going to fetch milk and vegetable, he brings a bagful of stones instead. Many times he even places them in fridge mistakenly," she adds with mirth.

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