Art and Conversation- ‘Still’

Finally, after 18 months, schools opened up in Mumbai. In many other cities in India, schools opened and closed several times depending on the rise and fall in covid-19 cases. But, in Mumbai, we remained shut for what seemed like forever. With online school it meant either hungry children or children vying for attention during free periods which could be pretty much at any time of the day. The flip side for me, was that the schedule I followed prior to these eighteen months went for a toss. There was just no place for it. Today, I can finally declare victory- I survived! I managed to keep my head over water and lived to tell the story. The fruit of waiting so long is both sweet and precious.

As I sit at my desk writing, the resuming of my schedule seems too good to be true. I’m no good at working without a plan and with interruptions. Despite the fact that I do everything I can to ensure my work does not suffer, I realize it’s at the cost of my internal systems. It simply doesn’t work for me. Trying to work with people with goals different of mine messes up with my head. And I’m no just talking about my children. It includes family visiting, and friends. Put them all together and you have a mad-house- in my head. So, with my daughter off at school, visiting family having left a week ago and an end to five months of drilling in the apartment above ours, it’s precious quiet. I can finally detoxify and let my internal system that probably coiled during the last few months, unwind- to return to pre-covid times- before the noise and the chaos set in resulting in an upheaval of schedules, intrusion of personal space and ‘me’ time.

During this time I struggled to keep my blog alive. I shared poems, paintings, quotes and notes on this and that but it was never from a place of complete silence. Even if I was working alone in the room, my mind was on alert – waiting to be beckoned by a knock on the door or a call or a ping. With life slowly resuming and things returning to a new normal, there’s hope that it will stay that way and we will no longer be held hostage again. Writing this post from a place of silence feels like meditation and, boy, I feel good.

Before I end this post, I’d like to share a painting I did on October 9th. Its the last painting I did and I struggled with it. It’s based on a painting I’d seen on Instagram. I messed up the paper on one side (I guess that was the first sign that I had had enough of the lockdown). However, I couldn’t bring myself to throw the paper out ( a sign that I was still ready to fight to stay afloat) , so I turned it around and painted with a vengeance, without looking at the picture. I directly applied paint to paper without sketching it out – I refused to be cowed into giving up that easily.

At the end of it, this was what came out and I was pretty pleased. It may not be the best but it is proof that the power to save you is within you. I call this painting, ‘Still’.

How are things in your country? Have things gone back to normal? How did you feel when things finally went back to normal?

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