Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Practice makes progress

It is that time of the year again when I brag about my progress in art. For all those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or who don’t know me yet, this post is about my artistic pursuits. 

So, the gist of the story is I started drawing daily from 18th November 2017. For the past two years, I have never missed (although one day I almost did - that story can be found here) doing my daily drawings. Like last year, this year also I had done few one-minute drawings or some ‘too simple to call a drawing’ kind of drawings. Especially on the days I travel or the days I was ill, the task was difficult to undertake.

Yet, persist I did and today completed two years of daily drawings. As you can see from the pics attached, I have vastly improved - my skills and understanding have become better and better. My strokes have become confident and I have finally started feeling I can draw and paint anything I want to. I have grown immensely during these two years and I am sure I will get to my goal sooner than later.
These were the ones done earlier this year
This year differed from last year in many ways. First, daily drawing became a habit. I might skip eating one time, but I don’t skip drawing any day. Second, as I started, I was unsure if I will reach somewhere - that feeling is gone now. I know I will. Third, and perhaps most important, my effort have been a motivation to others.
As days passed, I got better
A cousin, a friend. a niece, a friend’s son - all have been motivated by my efforts to take up things they wanted to or stopped doing a long time ago. The list might seem too short and nominal to you, my reader. But for me, this has been the best reward for my efforts. Mind you, I didn’t embark on this journey to set an example or anything. It was a personal pursuit and now it has taken a bigger dimension of which I am too happy and proud. 

I can hear some sneers - oh, she can do it; what’s stopping her - she is a housewife, she don't have any other commitments, she is the master of her time, etc, etc.... For the record, just because I don’t work outside my home, it doesn’t mean I am a housewife (nothing against the housewives - they often do more work than office goers). I work from home, and most of the time, it is difficult than working from an office because very often the roles/times overlap. 

Yes, to a certain extent, I am the master of my own time. Not because I don't have any other commitments. If you need a list, I can give you many. Of  late, our vlog ‘Wanderscapes’ is the most time consuming project of ours - we put in hours of hard work and dedication to offer good quality videos to our viewers. And yes, we enjoy the whole experience. 

What little time I have after the household chores (which is the first casualty if something important comes up), my writing, blogging, Vlog and drawing, I use to add value to myself - I use various platforms available to me to study new things or to refresh my knowledge. To keep learning, I have done/doing various courses offered by online learning platforms during my free time. And there are people who do much more than I do everyday.  

I don’t like bragging. But at times, you’ve to set the records straight. So, all those trying to belittle my efforts, the joke is on you. You need to get a life!
And better
To come back to subject, I have been able to complete two years of daily sketching and drawing only because of my passion and commitment to the task. Of course, I have received immense motivation from many people - they never let go an opportunity to tell me how far I have come and how good I have become - but ultimately, it was my self motivation and commitment that saw me achieving this.

My humble suggestion to all of you out there is this - if you are truly passionate and committed to achieving something, no one can stop you. People will try - in all the way they can - to pull you down, But so long as you keep your passion and determination alive, no one can pull you down. They will soon realise they can’t stop you and will move to the next person. So, don’t give a damn about those nay sayers - they have done nothing worthwhile in life and feels no one can either. The poor souls are taking their frustration of not achieving anything on you. Offer them your sympathies and move on.

Remember the key to success is practice. Whether you are an artist, dancer, singer, photographer or writer or anything else, keep practising. Practice makes progress and who knows, one day you’ll achieve perfection too. So, don’t give up at the slightest of the setbacks. Instead, learn from your failures and mistakes and get stronger from them. Each of us learned to walk only after falling down a few times. Let the baby inside us take over...Don't stop trying until you learn to walk.  

And even better as of now
My thanks to all the people who stood by my side with ‘katta support’. I am not mentioning names here because you know whether you have supported me or not - I know it too. Whether or not the world knows it, doesn’t matter. What matters is when I needed it the most you gave me your support. Sooner than later, you find that it was a worthwhile effort. I hope to make you all extremely proud of me one day, if I haven’t done so already.... Until then, keep up your good spirits and help spread the goodness. Much Love,

Nisha

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Kindness

The other day, my son came home, eyes all welled up - he was struggling not to cry. When I asked the reason he looked so upset, he couldn’t control himself and amidst sobs, he told his friends made fun of him for playing ‘old’ games. For a moment, I didn’t know what to say. I simply hugged him and told it’s ok even though I knew he wasn’t ok.

I let him cry for a couple of minutes and then spoke to him to find out what really happened. It turned out they were teasing him for playing outdated games (gaming is one topic they talk non-stop at school, I guess) while they played ‘cool’ games on the mobile. He was upset also because they were trying to annoy him even though he tried to move away from them and avoid the situation. They kept on teasing and later tried to make up - even when he was not interested in talking to them. He ended the narrative saying - I would not talk to them ever!

I listened patiently and told him if that is what you want to do, it is ok with me. Try not talking for some days and see how it feels - if you feel ok not talking to your friends, then don’t talk. But, if you are unhappy not talking to them, perhaps you should talk to them. People act silly at times, they get carried away - it might not be that they want to hurt you. So, while you are right to feel sad at the way they behaved with you, if they are sorry, you should have it in your heart to forgive them - I said.

I asked him whether he was happy playing ‘old’ games. He said he liked them. So I told him - then it doesn’t matter if someone thinks you are uncool for playing those games. You do what you enjoy doing. You don’t have to stop playing those games because they think it is old or outdated. If you are happy, nothing else matters. Everyone has different tastes and interests. It is ok to be different.

I told him it is entirely up to him if he wants to be friends with them. However, if they are sorry, he should forgive them. Because holding a grudge will harm us more than anything. It may not be easy to forgive and forget. But, if we hold on to unpleasant things, it will make us bitter and unhappy.

A couple of hours later, one of the friends texted him to say sorry and my son told me he has decided to be friends with that boy again because he reached out. But, he was adamant he won’t forgive the other friend who didn’t reach out. He felt wronged and couldn’t forgive him (yet).

This morning, as he left for school, I told him it is ok if you don’t want to be friends with the other boy. But if he says sorry, he should accept it and move on. People make all kinds of mistake and might regret them later on. So, we should be gracious enough to forgive. If we don’t, we are no better than the person who hurt us. He nodded his head in agreement and left to school. I hope they makeup and have a great time in school.

I have tried to bring up my boys as people who are sensitive and kind to others. I think it is important to feel empathy towards others. So, whenever my son tells me he helped someone, I feel happy. I know he is a kind boy and would help others in any way he can. At the same time, I know he gets hurt when he doesn’t receive that same kindness from others. But I keep telling him that is all the more reason for him to be kind.

Anyway, this incident got me thinking. As I reflected, I knew I too was unkind many times in the past - sometimes through my silence, sometimes through words and often in my deeds. Of course, most of them were unintentional or due to my naivety. But that doesn’t mean I can redeem myself. And yet, I understand it is important to forgive myself because the more I hold on to it, the more I will be sucked into the whirlpool of negative emotions and low self-esteem.

So, as I tried to dispel the gloom of self-reproach and feeling terrible about the unkind things in the past by forgiving myself, I felt a weight lifting off my heart. As on a cue, the weather outside slowly turned sunny…







Monday, November 19, 2018

Where there is a will, there is hard work and result

A year of daily sketching! Yes, I did it!!!
When I started sketching daily a year ago, it was just as a committment to the word I gave someone I'll do daily sketch no matter what. Apparently, that person saw a potential in me as an artist. It is one thing I am still struggling to believe unconditionally, even as I complete a year of daily sketching.
Yes, the journey was tough. Some days I enjoyed the drawings more than anything. On others, it was just a chore I had to finish before I hit the bed and called it a day. On a few days, I even questioned myself - why am I doing it at all ..
Nevertheless, I stay put. Why? Mostly because I gave my word to someone who believed in me. My theory was if someone believes in me even without having me proven my worth, I should at least show my gratitude by not giving up. Also, I wanted to prove myself it can be done. So on I went with my tryst with lines.
I think slowly it became a habit. I couldn't go to bed without drawing at least for a minute. I remember one time we went on a trip and, after a particularly tiring day, I went to bed all exhausted and fell asleep. And then suddenly, I woke up with the realisation I didn't do my daily drawing. I could sleep no more. I got up, took my sketch pad and pen, went to the bathroom (because my entire family was tired and sleeping peacefully) and did my daily sketching there. Did I draw a great picture? Probably not. But I felt good. Despite the tiredness and exhaustion, I felt happy and satisfied.
And that's my takeaway from this whole exercise. A new understanding of myself. I was always envious (still am) of people who could draw well. I am amazed by the talent I see all around me. The veteran artists and upcoming artists make me feel so inconsequential... It was like I was nothing & could be nothing. I thought I can never be like them.
And now I know that is the truth. This year of sketching has made me aware of it. But the most important lesson I learned is - I DON'T HAVE TO BE LIKE THEM. Yes, I have finally realised the competition is not with anyone else. It is with myself. I can't be anyone else. I shouldn't be. Some of them are inborn artists. The others might have spent years learning and shaping their art. What was I doing then? Just wishing to be like them and not doing anything about it.
In the past year, I understood I have been unfair to myself by comparing me to others. They are what they are because they worked to be what they are. I am what I am because I worked (or didn't) in my particular way. This is my journey. Good, bad or ugly, this is my art. My thoughts and lines tell the story my way. It doesn't have to be any other's story or style.
Perfection is not what makes a good artist. It is the journey that allows one to understand it is ok to be imperfect. No picture is bad because it is not a perfect depiction. It is good because while trying to create it, you got in touch with your soul. At least for a few moments, you forgot everything and revelled in the joy of creation. There was nothing to stop you from being happy to draw that simple line on the paper or dab that particular colour on the canvas.
This year was a journey of self-discovery too. Of forgetting limitations and taking new steps. I know that it is not the joy of acceptance but fear of rejection that had dictated my actions earlier. I couldn't take rejections. I always felt I was not enough. My efforts were not enough - whatever I did wasn't enough. Or so I thought.
But, the reality is, you can't please everyone. For every person admiring you, there could be ten saying you are not good enough or would never be. The trick to grow is shut your ears against naysayers. Ignore them. Hear your soul speak to you. More often than not, it will tell you where to go and how to go.
I am glad that I have finally realized my worst enemy is myself. Self-doubt and undue comparison along with a feeling of not being enough is what stopped me going ahead. Now, as I know my path is my own and I have to create my own legacy, I experience a strange peace. I am here to compete with myself and to better myself. My struggle is within and once I truly master myself, I know nothing can stand in my way.
After 3-4 sketchbooks and an amazing year, I can proudly say I have made the start. I am confident of going ahead and reaching the goal I have set for myself. But before I go on, thanks are due to some special friends and dear ones for believing in me (even when I didn't believe myself) and helping me see clearly. I hope one day you will be proud to have known me, as I am proud of you. Thank you!
Here is a small sample of what I did. Some you have seen before. Some you haven't. Some are good, some are just lines.... I didn't want to share only the good works because there were some really bad ones too. Accepting that has been a huge step towards growth. A few digital drawings are also included - these are essentially results of the shortage of time...
PS: I hope at least one person reading these lines would be inspired to do something they always wanted to but didn't attempt because of self-doubt. Remember, it is ok to fail and fall. You are not defeated until you stop trying. Also, success is not always about earning money or praise. Sometimes, a smile on your face and the content you feel inside is the best reward. Try it - you'll like it better than anything.