Updated: May 14, 2019
April 19, 2019 - Full Moon in Libra
My story began in a sleepy town named Pune in India, that made its debut on the global map due to two iconic spiritual figures - BKS Iyengar the great yoga guru and Bhagwan Rajneesh / Osho the controversial rebel and mystic.
The early childhood years were spent prancing around the neighborhood, exploring the local fauna and flora, climbing hills, kathak classical Indian dance and doing art. I painted on fabric, wood, glass, jute, pottery, paper using acrylics, water colors and fabric paints. I used beads, sand, threads, molding clay, broken pieces of glass bangles, shells and basically anything I could get my hand on, I did, to paint and to create. My earliest recollection is from age 6 or 7 of painting mandalas with watercolors on paper in the afternoon whilst the family was taking a siesta.
Growing up in India in the 70's offered few opportunities to pursue what the heart desires in the form of studies and a profession. And so the choices were limited. Art and painting was relegated to becoming a hobby to be pursued in the spare time whilst the main time became occupied with studies and subsequently a career in software technology.
This led to ten years in the Silicon Valley of California and ten more years in technology consulting for clients in EU, Asia and USA. My career in software technology left me enriched with the depth and breadth of experience. My LinkedIn profile reveals that part of my story in detail so I won't elaborate more here.
In the meantime, what was to be a hobby never took off.
During my second extended sabbatical from work in 2006, I went to the local art store in Frieburg-im-Breisgau, Germany (where I was living at that time for my MA degree) and bought the primary colors, basic brushes and some paper. Not much happened. But I loved the feeling of holding the paintbrush in my hands again after a gap of 15+ years. It was a starting point. Since then I was determined to carry my basic toolset wherever I went even if I didn't actually paint anything.
The next impulse arrived again in 2008. During this time I was keenly interested in the occult and esoteric and therefore interested in Tantra, Yoga and Meditation. This started me onto my first set of paintings of Yantras and Chakras primarily as a practice of meditation. I spent time with Pieter Welteverde to learn the exact mathematical calculations to draw and paint these geometric symbols. A burst of paintings later, consulting contracts in the tech industry with significant travel took my breath away for several years to come.
Until 2013, while living in Copenhagen, I looked at the my toolset lamenting on the window sill amongst the plants. I signed up for a class with a local artist to learn Croqui drawing and painting the live model, bought an easel and a canvas board. No further impulse came. The colors and the brushes continued to lament while I continued consulting for clients and boarding a flight every single week.
In late 2014, my health became unusually fragile finally resulting in a health crisis which left me immobile and in full body pain for two weeks. I thought I would never be able to walk again. After six months of testing everything possible while managing multiple work contracts between Copenhagen, USA and Italy, even the doctors were left baffled with inconclusive diagnosis. Finally, a wake up call arrived in the form of an accidental diagnosis - auto-immune Thyroiditis (Hashimoto's). I had a meltdown on the steps outside my doctor's office on the 5th floor in Copenhagen. It cannot be cured - he had told me 5 minutes ago.
Along with it, came another message - You cannot continue this style of living life on the fast-track. Its time to stop and change. And you know it.
In late 2015, I took a leap of faith into the abyss of uncertainty and insecurity - my third extended and this time indefinite sabbatical from the world of technology and consulting.
Before I quit, I enrolled for a summer program at Heatherly School of Fine Arts in London while fulfilling a work contract in London that took me from Copenhagen to London every week.
By the end of 2015, I had already started exploring alternative healing modalities to manage my Hashimoto's and a spectrum of resulting issues in my body. I had told myself since the meltdown outside my doctor's office that there must be another way.
In early 2016, I consolidated my global life and took myself to a small village in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru to devote myself to the only object of healing myself by following a very strict regime of diets and herbs to rebalance my body and mind. During this time I enrolled in the summer program at the School of Bellas Artes in Cusco, Peru learning a range of techniques and different mediums. This time, painting started to become more firmly integrated in my life. And the world of writing began to open up.
My Hashimoto's re-balanced in 9 months. And I had begun to paint with my own voice. While in Peru in 2017, I spent time in the Amazon jungle part and enrolled at the Usko Ayar School of Arts in Pucallpa, Peru where they teach the Neo-Amazonian art in the style of the famous visionary artist Pablo Amaringo. A big surge of creativity opened up after I took the Osho Art Therapy Training in Spain in 2017 as well as spending time sketching at Pranoto's Art Gallery and Studios in Bali, Indonesia 2018.
Studying and absorbing different techniques and styles from different schools and artists, I continue to integrate and create my own style.
Now I stand at the crossroads of Art and Technology, pondering on if there is a harmonious bridge between the two. In the meantime, I continue to learn, play and create on my own as well as with other artists who open their space for me. Several artists - living and no more - inspire me. Not just in the work that they have created or create, but also through a resonance I find in their approach towards their art and what art means to them. If I knew where this journey will lead me to, I would write it here. But the truth be told, I do not know.
I act on the next impulse that arrives just like when I paint.
What I do know is what gives me joy. Creative expression is food for my soul. Through art, I wish to share, to question, to reveal, to touch and be touched, to inspire and be inspired.
And ultimately have and share a glimpse of the big mystery that sustains us all.
Life is ultimately unpredictable.
And a line from a song by Tracy Chapman croons in my ears - "If not now, then when?".