Yup. You read that right. The funny thing about some people (read as me!) and hobbies is that they develop various interests throughout their life – art, music, writing poems, reading, surfing, running, swimming, etc etc. and just can’t seem to concentrate all their energy and focus on one single task! In a way, it’s good! You get to experience a dash of various facets of creativity. On the other hand, however, you remain a jack of all trades. And if anyone knows me, I am the biggest Jack you could find.
Growing up, I seemed to have a natural flair for art. I guess, I was a chip off the old block – my mom. She’s a natural artist, who has never attended a single art class and yet, is a bundle of artistic talents. It just comes naturally to her. Guess, she’s one of those who was born with a paint brush in her hand. Art was one of my favorite classes in school. I won several art competitions and always got an ‘A’ in art. I guess the thirst for art and colors was always there. I never pursued it seriously. Just took art lessons at school during ‘hobby classes’. A dip and dash here and there. Nothing formal! Then came college – life was all fun and I eventually “lost” interest in art. I say “lost” because I don’t think creativity can ever be lost, it was silenced by other hobbies (such as poetry) that enthused me at that point in life. Then came Grad school (Hopkins!) and the new place (USA!), new system of education, living on my own, cooking, cleaning, etc etc (you know, those lame excuses) kept me busy from pursuing my art. Then came work – my first ever ‘real’ job in the ‘real’ world and working hard and smart became my priority #1. I wouldn’t blame work for coming in the way of my art. At times in life, certain aspects deserve the highest priority! And life went on….!
In September of 2015, I had an opportunity to attend a clay modeling workshop. Just a 2 hour session where they would peruse over the basics. So, the ‘Jack’ in me wanted to try out something new. On that particular day, I remember being extremely stressed out because of work I guess or may be something else. I came home only at 6 15 pm after a long tiring day. Clearly, all I wanted to do was kick back on the couch, was some TV, eat some good food and call it a day. But, this other voice in me kept prodding me – “Madhuri, shut up and go! Stop giving excuses“. And so, I went. Lo and behold, what did I find there?!?! I was literally the oldest person there. All freshmen kids from undergrad. I quickly wanted to escape! I guess, the good free indian food made me stay back. We were eventually divided into groups and then began the workshop. Words won’t suffice to describe the calm I felt that day. After a couple of days of being super stressed out, my “return” to art was exactly what my soul needed. 2 hours flew by! I never knew I had ‘good’ hands to make something look so beautiful at first attempt. The piece I was working on came out really well. The instructor praised my maiden attempt! In the end, I was happy with my work. And even, forgot all about that free food. That was the day, in retrospect, I believe, made me realize that in life, I was someone who needed different flavors of everything. A single sweet or spicy flavor wasn’t sufficient to satiate my soul.
Another 3 months passed. How many art pieces did I work on – one? two? three? Na kiddos. It was zero! Life went on and I forgot about art. There’s a saying I’ve heard before – you tend to forget pain and happiness! You remember the situation well, but forget the actual feeling. No wonder, moms tend to give birth to second kids. I had in fact forgotten how much bliss I felt at the clay modeling workshop. But, life gave me another opportunity. This time, it was at work. My lab recently moved to a bigger space and we had a nice pretty bulletin board. Huge I must say – 72″ in length. That was enough to make my heart pound. There was that itch to get my artsy hands to work. My first look at that board and I really really wanted to really work on it, with the little artistic talents I possessed. But, as most of you know, I didn’t want to be that snob who went and claimed possession over it. Luckily, my boss called me and asked me to work on it. He explained his plan for it and in my mind, I was thinking, “I know!!! I know exactly what you mean!!! I was just thinking the same!!! Did you just read my mind?” But, I just gave my usual formal approval nod and began work silently. The board shaped out to be decent. But, I wasn’t too happy with the heading. I cranked my head several times and tried out several fonts and artistic word art formats on Microsoft Word. But, nothing seemed to ever meet the expectation I had in my head. If you know me, I don’t take anything short of perfection! And finally, I decided to bite the bullet and write it on my own. I envisioned a heading in ‘Mildly Gothic Calligraphy‘ form. I had never done it before. Again, calligraphy handwriting was one of my muses I pursued in high school that I never really went back to, for about 9 years, except a few scribbles here and there behind my notebooks. I googled several fonts and decided to write it over the weekend. I knew it would take forever because the heading had to be as long as 72″. Fri, Sat and Sun – quite enough time to get it done. But, once the artistic atma engulfed me, that Friday evening, I sat at my desk for 4 hours, without nary a peep, and finished it off. Here was the result as below – exactly as my heart and mind wanted.
These two opportunities that came my way made me realize my own love for art!! Thereafter, I decided, I would voluntarily get back to art, try to work on my little known skills, to improve upon them, with every free time I found. There is of course, more to say on that. Stay tuned for ‘Getting Artsy after 9 years – Part 2‘.