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A good book on a rainy day is happiness for me - Ruskin Bond

Monday, February 20, 2012


The other day my daughter brought home one pamphlet which raised my eyebrows.

We generally appreciate the artistic abilities in people. More attention is drawn when such people are differently abled which I find in the pamphlet : "Indian Mouth & Foot Painting Artists, Mumbai."

The inspiring part of the story is the pearl-like handwriting of one boy named NadeemShaikh (in the photo) who has written a letter by foot. This boy was born without arms in Mumbai. From a very young age, he had to carry out the activities of daily living with his feet. He honed his artistic skills and began to draw paintings with his foot. The story of NadeemShaikh reminded me the talents of  John Milton (English poet) who became blind due to eye disease in later years, but his poetic talents did not diminish and his poem "On His Blindness" is really one of the inspiring masterpieces of his poetry. In fact the physical deformities are not an hindrance to the creative expression. They come out with flying colours inspite of all odds.

The painting works of these less privileged reminisced my own childhood when I took hours together drawing pictures of whatever I find in newspapers/ magazines. In fact, I won first prize in the drawing competition in my 10th class. Though I did not get any formal training in painting, it was my serious pursuit well after my graduation.

The turning point happened when my father's colleague one day visited our home and saw me painting. What he did at a crucial juncture contributed immensely to further hone my artistic skills. He came back to our  home with a set of brushes, poster colours and charts and presented me saying that it was his pleasure to gift them to me to encourage an upcoming artist in me. My joy found no bounds on that day. I exhausted all the materials in a matter of week by making drawings of whatever I had seen. My parents fully supported my hobby which I could never forget.

When former Prime Minister of India V.P Singh left politics, we know that he immersed into his hobby of drawing paintings. In fact painting is such a contagious hobby which brings closer to Mother Nature. There was a time when I thought of taking it as my regular career option, but somehow or other it could not materialize. But the artist inside me wants to come back. I don't know when that will happen. But every time, this quote of Norman Cousins resonates my mind : Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. 

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