Weddings are the most confusing yet overwhelming times in any and every Indian family. And when you are not the bride/groom, the gifting business becomes more of a burden than a pleasure. We have moved away from the traditional gifts of clothes, jewellery and household items but cast away onto an island of uncertainty when it comes to modern day wedding gifts. As individuals, we have grown so apart that except immediate family, one doesn’t know what the bride or the groom would like. So I chose the straight forward approach to this kind of a situation which is ask the recipient. Knowing well that I was in that situation a little over a year ago, and somebody asking you point blank about a wedding gift is not an easy question to answer. To make my cousin’s life easier I gave her multiple choices followed by the question. She picked few and I narrowed down on the most convenient one.
Few months later, at the wedding, I met the groom. I was very proud of my little sister for being so right about the choice of gift. The groom seemed to be swooning over macaws more than his bride. Two days after the wedding, he was busy exhibiting his love for the colourful birds of the South American rainforests than his bird. So I thought if I gave a sketch of a macaw to them, may be he will continue his head-over-heels business with both the colourful birds.
The Macaw took 40 hours to come alive at 12 X 16 (inches). Rotring pens are not always the easiest or the kindest tools to handle but they have stood by me all along. The results have mostly been better than what I expected. I hope the macaw brightens up the newly wedded couple’s home 🙂
Accessories that my father gifted when I was 7 years old and ever since I haven’t been able to thank him enough. For a few years, it was entering the ring with him right behind encouraging me. My adulthood saw us far apart from each other. I didn’t understand the real reason of the gloves until much later. It was always him telling me that life will punch you down millions of times, find a way to get up and punch back.
I have no qualms in admitting I am a stationery hoarder and the compulsive to desire to buy stationery has stuck to me for over a decade. I thought over a period of time this obsession would fade away but that didn’t happen. Now that I have been drawing, I take that as an excuse to buy any and every kind of paper, pen and paints. Though paper hadn’t been my exclusive medium for a long time. Fabric painting had a separate corner in my heart for a long time. Irrespective of tshirts, shirts, kurtas or sarees, I loved to throw in my bit and tamper with the plainness of the fabric. Though I haven’t done this in a while but here are few that I attempted and they came out as good as I expected them to be.
The toughest subjects for me have been human faces. After so many animals and birds in stippling, I have developed a comfort level with wildlife portraits but human portraits intimidate me to an extent that my hands freeze before moving onto the next line. There are certain images though that I find compelling enough to pick up the pencil/pen and draw. The following is one of them which I bumped into while scrolling down my Facebook wall one of the days. A friend of mine had put up this pic from his trip to Manali and that loving look on the face just made me pick up the pencil to draw the face. The series of rings in her ear and the gentle smile with the wrinkles of experience was irresistible.
There are many such reference portrait photos that I have collected over the last decade that I would like to draw but haven’t yet gotten to it. Sometime I will get over the fear of human faces and get to it.
Red munia or strawberry finch, as the name suggests, is a striking red sparrow sized bird found in tropical Asia. The males and females are generally a dull brown colour with multiple white spots. The male develops this red breeding plumage and white streaks under the eyes during the monsoon months in the South of India. The pairs build their nests together using blades of grass, feathers, pieces of charcoal etc. In this piece, the male is seen carrying a ruffled feather from the surrounding to build its nest.
Few months ago, I was on a full fledged drive to work on improving my colour senses. What better subjects to choose than birds. A friend had come back from Costa Rica and I jumped at the chance of drawing a Toucan from his pile of photographs. Bright colours and the unusual beaks make them unique. With limited colour inks available, I got on with it. There are places where colours didn’t come out as expected but I was still close to it.
“Swar hi Eashwar hai”, said the maestro first thing that evening. That literally translates to sound is God. Because sound is omnipresent and it’s the most honest form of expression. And we choose to call it music. His music speaks of the life long surrender to God and understanding of music.
He laments the present generation of musicians and the youngsters who pick up an instrument only so that they can perform and chase fame. They fail to understand music but use it as a means to an end. As Ustad says a lifetime is not enough to understand and grasp the seven notes of music.
An evening with Ustad Amjad Ali Khan transports you deep into the world of music. It feels like one is floating through the surreal sub atomic world where time and gravity are non-existent. The evening was a rush of memories of all the Indian classical concerts I had attended since the age of 5. Art in the form of dance and music has been there through every up and down in my life. And same was true for this evening with the maestro during one of the toughest and darkest phases of life.