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Me with my niece Ishita posing at the sculpture department of J.J. School of Art.

On New Year eve Mumbai city was silent as never before. A curfew time was set by the Police and the ‘hotspots’ of Mumbai city like Marine Drive, beaches etc were marked as ‘NO PARKING’ zones and were under strict police surveillance to avoid not more than 4 people to roam around at midnight. Many celebrated the arrival of New Year indoors, on their apartment terraces, outskirts of Mumbai or at their native towns. I had my own unique plan to invite the New Year. Since long I wanted to get back to my painting hobby. Nostalgically speaking, at school I had opted for Drawing and Painting as one of the subject. I enjoyed experimenting with colours and designs and in my final year I managed to clear Maharashtra State Government Intermediate Drawing Exams. Another art and design related influence in my life was the J.J school of Art, which is one of India’s best Art School that stands bang opposite my home! As a kid me and my brother use to play in the art school premise and watch various students draw, sketch, paint and sculpt around. I use to be awestruck with the way their pencil and charcol use to form an image on the canvas from ‘nothingness’!

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Appreciating Art: Vasudeo Kamat’s Angry Elephant Buddha theme (Top Left), Manjiri Chandorkar’s art (top right), My mother’s rangoli (powder art) (Bottom right) and me with ‘The Buddha’ painting by an artist from West Bengal.

Though I didn’t pursue a career in Fine/Commercial Art I always had fascination for designs and colours. In my teenage I was a regular visitor to the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, which was very close to my college, and loved understanding the art of various painters who showcased their work at such a prestigious venue. As the years passed, the amateur painter in me pursued design and painting as mere hobby and loved watching television programs that had interior design, architecture and art-based themes. Since then, I believe ‘art appreciation’ is the least I can do even if I am not a professional ‘artist’.

 

Now as a Psychologist, I realise the value of art in creating ‘mindfulness’ in order to stabilize the mind. Very few people know that Art therapy is one tool in psychotherapy that is recommended to people who love some art form. Here’s a link for your awareness regarding Art Therapy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN2rTaFUlxs

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Transcending beyond self: Me with one of my clicked photograph.

Personally too, I am a staunch promoter of art in all forms (painting, drawing, designing, knitting, photography, sculpting, crafts, crochet, cooking, dance, music etc). I believe everyone should pursue some art form so that when they are stressed, their disturbed spirit/energy can temporarily dissociate from the stress source and thereby get healthily transcend into that art form, express themselves, feel rejuvenate and then get back to the flow of life in a fresh manner. It certainly is a ‘stress-buster’, if one effortfully conditions oneself in that way, over a period of time. For me its photography, writing and painting. The first two I usually do on a regular basis, but painting had taken a back seat since long. Thus, I decided to pull out some brushes and colours from my closet and invite the New Year with a mindful heart. As the clock struck 11 on 31st December 2020, I started painting a tree. The theme being- Autumn, where leaves are ripe and old and are falling on the ground. The theme matched the ambiance in which I was painting, as the year was coming to an end and soon it would fall off like an old leaf of a tree. As the clock struck 12, I finished my painting and wished the following- “May all paint their respective lives with colours of hope, prosperity and well-being! Just like the winter tree would soon get fresh ‘green’ leaves in the approaching summer, may dull ‘pain’ (of last years tough times) be replaced by fresh ‘paint’ (of hope, happiness & prosperity’) in everyone’s life! Happy New Year to All!”

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Inviting year 2021 with mindfulness.

Photo Courtesy: Shraddha C. Sankulkar