In case you want one word for me, I am an artist! Now don’t go thinking that all I do is sketching and painting, which also I do. But to elaborate further I am a writer, author, designer, artist, theater actor, avid traveler, devout yoga abhyasi, entrepreneur, creative consultant, story teller through words and movement and a lover of all arts, history and culture. I have not always written this in my profile, this is only 1.5 years old! Prior to that I was a Project manager in American Express, Gurgaon, so was completely entrenched in that space and I did well.
In between, I authored my first book “Life’s Macchiato: A collection of your stories”, it is a short story book about life and such. Then I reached a ceiling with respect to the work and having to move out of India (which I did not want to). Then I realized that is this what I want to do all my life, balancing numbers on an excel sheet and keep figuring out my next move in the corporate sector? What am I learning? That is when I decided to start my own journey with Chef In a box, an ingredient and recipe kit delivery system in Delhi/NCR wherein we supplied recipes and ingredients right from oils to veggies for you to cook in collaboration with Chefs./restaurants. It was a unique model of combining the love for food, cooking fresh and comfort. Imagine you can cook a Thai curry with our kit even if you have never boiled rice before! But the concept was very unique and niche, so it was tough to get it off the ground. It is during this time that I turned to art, writing, studied textile designing and solo travel to help revive my creativity and myself.
Simultaneously I turned to Yoga, travel ( I led an all women’s trip to Italy) and theater with Actor Factor for my debut performance ‘Unrest’ to just find myself. Now I do multiple things right from being a creative consultant to a boutique ad agency Culture Drum, to designing my stationery Ahem, curating travel trips for Courtyard Tours(I am doing a TamilNadu Temple trail in Feb), helping a few start-ups like Ritambhara (a soulful Initiative by my mentors Raghu and Sashi) and Navrasa Duende (The company that brought in Swan Lake to India) in the space of arts, yoga, culture, travel…. It does not stop here because I know I have more to give and do! The show has just begun.
Q – Was it always your dream to become an artist, if not how did you made the choice? (educational background etc)
Actually my education and background has nothing to do with arts. I studied Business administration during my graduate and post graduate studies, then worked in a hardcore finance/project role, so again nothing to do with arts. I used to dabble in arts in school but as usual, academics took precedence and arts went out of the window. Arts came at a time when I was going through a bit of a low with respect to my first start up work. it was a healer and an channel for my energies. Hence, I am a self taught artist, which is one of the toughest way to learn but very fulfilling. So I kept looking around at many youtube videos, attended a few short workshops etc and then kept practicing at home. Now it is part of my routine like brushing my teeth! I cannot imagine a day where I do not draw or paint, even if it is not up to my expectation.
Q – who or what was your inspiration?
Being an artist, whether performing, literary or visual arts. they are all an inspiration by itself, as you do you inspire yourself to do more. So, I actually inspired myself to start this inner journey when I first started questioning what am I doing? Where am I and why?. And art was a very natural vehicle to take you on that journey. As I probed deeper, discovered, had some hits and misses, all forms of art were my props and support. My commitment to myself both in the form aNtaranga(inner) and bahiranga(physical) journey are my inspiration.
Q – Please tell us about your milestone journey, especially the difficulty you faced?
After I quit my job and started my first start up Chef In a Box it was very tense and stressful. I really was not sure what I was doing and how was I going about it..I just knew I was doing something. And clearly, that did not work. So after a year, I was left high and dry with no clarity as to what do I want to do, the how, the when etc? Going from a comfortable salary and corporate exposure to suddenly having nothing in hand was really fearful an I almost froze in fear. Even my family was concerned, rightfully so That is when I turned to yoga to show me the mirror. Yoga unfortunately today is misconstrued to being limited to Asana and Pranayama,The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali which is the main text for Yoga talks on the physical part for 2 chapters and the rest of the chapters are all related to the inner works. But for me I took up the sadhana to cleanse and heal myself and move ahead. It is still an on-going process but at least I am able unfreeze myself from a lot of fears and hurts.
Q – As an artist, what is your favorite subject of illustration (model, medium or form etc)
That’s such a tough one! I started of with acrylics and a lot of abstract acrylics wherein I just allowed the colors to move, merge and drip. It was spontaneous and a lot of fun. Then I moved on to watercolors, which is again a very difficult medium to control but that is what i love about it, you got to give it enough room to do it’s own thing and yet be in control (i hope I am making sense). You got to let go and yet be aware about where is it going. Much like life! So, watercolors is my current favorite(check my Instagram feed and you would know which medium rules 🙂 and I love making natural landscapes because nature offers the most elaborate moods, colors and energies all waiting to be captured on paper. Just sit in a park and you would be inspired to start drawing.
Q - What was the best and the worst advice you received when you started your career?
Best advice when I started my career was that most of the things you learn as start doing your work. One can never say ‘yes, I am totally prepared (theoretically) to do a job well’ There are multiple factors that govern a work-space when you enter one, and as you get into it with an open mind, you actually learn. The worst advice or rather advice that I never got, that as newbies into the corporate world or anything else, there is so much stress given to developing skills and behaviors that no one ever asked you to do an internal sadhana or know yourself. Every action or behavior stems from your inner realms. So, If that is not clear and pure, all your actions would be fruitless. There should be more stress to get in touch with ourselves
Q – At this point in your career, are you happy?
I am really happy how far I have come and waded through many inner currents and boulders to be where I am. I don’t think i have felt stronger and confident about what I want to do ahead. I am also confident that if my intent is rock solid, everything will come together sooner or later. The journey is now getting interesting and I am dying to see how it unfolds.
Q – If someone read your story and wanted to follow your footsteps being inspired by it, what advice would you give them?
I would first melt, go awww and then give a big hug to that person! I would absolutely tell them to first, get in touch with themselves, discover who they are and are not, next discover what are their deepest dreams and aspirations and lastly finding that energy to make those dreams come true. And if there is any way my story or i can help them,then i would be more than glad. After all these gifts are to be shared after all. Pay it forward!
Q – Do you believe in dreams?
Yes of course! I am a dreamer and always have been one. If it weren’t for my dreams and deep aspirations, my life would be meaningless and robotic. Everyday when i wake up, I remind myself about my responsibility towards making my dreams come true. However long it takes, I will keep at it. I also believe in the manner in which you go about making your dreams come true, if the anchorage of these dreams are deep and pure, you are bound to not only change your life but also others around you.
Any further comments?
I cannot even tell you how exciting and fun filled the journey has been especially the past year. A year full of some vital shifts, discoveries and the year I started to get up slowly and steadily. Sometimes I still stumble and get stuck, but that is part of it…you need to find your own rhythm and balance, no one can do it for you and tell you exactly. It is slow, it is uncomfortable and no ‘the end destination’ but if you commit to it, it is full of excitement!