Earth, sky, wind, water, light, cloud, trees shape our lives.
Birds, flowers, rocks, roads, rains, thunder are elements our lives depend on.
There are million more elements which define us as humans. It is important to know how these elements make us what we are. We are influenced by them.
The aforesaid statements do not have much relevance to my thought that I wish to express in this piece of art. I’m calling this a piece of art because, well, it is one. It was born in my head and typed on a document. It’s my original thought, hence, a piece of art.
What’s inspiring me to write this is the great piece of music I’m listening to. Music has its own magic. It creates a havoc of thoughts in my head and makes me concentrate on the faintest sounds. It makes me think. It clouds out all the clamour around me and helps me focus. It makes me focus on the beauty that surrounds me.
I’m a lover of all things beautiful. I like seeing beauty in everything. Even the dingiest places, stoniest road, smelliest dump will have something beautiful in them. I know this will arouse so many questions on the readers head but believe me when I say that beauty lies everywhere. And this I can support with the very famous saying “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”.
When I was a child, I was surrounded by art. I have art in my blood. My mother used to play the Sitar. I remember her sitting on the ground and practising the Sitar. She reminded me of the image of Goddess Saraswati who is portrayed as a woman gracefully holding the Sitar. I’m sure nobody has ever heard the Goddess play the Sitar. Well, I have!
My mum became the real life figure of Saraswati for me. She looked like an incarnate of the Goddess herself. Her posture and her hand movements were so full of grace. The strings quivered to produce the sweetest heavenly sounds. The sounds would emerge from her heart and would resonate throughout the house. For that brief period, every day, she would take the form of the Goddess making the house a heaven in itself.
My encounters to the Goddess was, however, infrequent. The Goddess was made busy by her daily chores of the household, her profession, her responsibilities etc. She would squeeze in time for her passion amidst truckloads of responsibilities. Often weeks would pass by without her resuming her heavenly form. Weeks turned to months and months turned to years. I never saw the Goddess come to life again. The air around changed. Duties suppressed passion and desire.
This makes me think of a thought – Duty is so utterly human, passion or art is Godly. I may be wrong in saying so.
My mother could have pursued her dreams then.
The next story to support my knowledge of art flowing through my blood is the story of my Grandfather. He had a very humble beginning. He was a painter. Back then, there were no advanced cameras. Even if there were, they costed a bomb. There were hardly few studios and no Photoshop at all! In short, technology was a foetus.
My grandfather used to make 50 paise or a rupee a day by making portraits of people. My neighbours would come to him to get themselves painted on canvas. He was definitely brilliant at his passion and job. With time, he saved up some money (by some I mean 10 or 20 rupees) and converted one room to a studio. The studio had all the essentials – paints, paint brushes, canvas, 5 windows throwing ample day light and the painter himself. Very dearly he named his studio, the Roy studio.
Till day people recognise my house as Roy Studio, or as Bengalis would say “Rai Studio”. It makes me happy that people still associate my grandfather’s artistry to my house. They still remember him as an outstanding artist who struggled to support his family consisting of a wife and three young boys. The walls in my house proudly boast of his paintings that hang untouched. His paintings are the legacy he left behind for us before he died at an early age.
These stories of the past convince me that I do have amazing genes growing inside me and it sometimes makes me so happy to see products of art coming out of me. Lately I’ve been obsessing over making Dream Catchers. It started on a dull, rainy day with no power at home. I was jobless and my eyes fell on this small Dream Catcher my sister had attempted to make. It was definitely beautiful for a starter. It prompted me to try out one for myself.
And then it started! The disease that I’ve been trying to find a term for. It’s somewhat similar to OCD, just that it’s not OCD. I think I’ll call it ODC or Obsessed with making Dream Catchers (let’s not include the “W’ and “M”).
So that fateful day brought about a change in me. I became ODC. I collected the old bangles, the ball of very old wool and some old beads from the broken earrings. I wrapped wool around the bangles and experimented with the design of the Dream Catchers. After the fifth trial, I finally got an idea of how it’s crafted. I didn’t have feathers and I wasn’t sure if I would find them in the humble market of my hometown. But I did!
I combined the four elements – bangle, wool, beads and feathers – together and lo! A wondrous creation was born! After this I didn’t stop. It took me very little time to realise the amount of happiness I received from crafting these beautiful things. I found an expression to my inner thought. What inspired this in me is something unknown to me but what I know is the force that motivated me. It was my mother.
Her simple laugh and words of encouragement, more so her interest at seeing me obsessing over making these Dream Catchers, motivated me to make more of these. She took so much interest in Dream Catchers.
I’m not sure if I found my muse but I’m sure I know my source of inspiration. What I like best about Dream Catchers is the history. They symbolise a web that traps all the bad energies and allows only the positive energy to flow. I believe in this so strongly because I feel positive feelings myself.
Going back to where I started this document about elements – I think I now find a connection to the beginning. Elements come together and make us humans. Similarly, these simple elements like thread, feathers etc. come together to take the form of a beautiful Dream Catcher. What’s even more beautiful about them is the play of colours and creativity. There is a universe of colours to experiment with!
A friend of mine asked me few days ago how I started with making Dream Catchers. He probably expected a dream that propelled me to start this venture of mine. My answer was simple – it brings me unlimited happiness when I craft these amazing pieces of art. These elements make me who I am today.
The sun, the earth, the wind, the feathers, the sea, the rain conjure up to create beauty. They have colours and they have happiness. They define me and I, in turn, find my muse in them.
Illustration by Pradeep Yadav – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=704786345