drawing, Life, sketchbook

Notes from a podcast

You may be aware of my constant endeavours toward becoming a more kind and compassionate person. When I was younger I used to dream about a divine collision, later on, Pema’s books have guided me on this quest. These notes are from the On Being podcast Remembering Thich Nhat Hanh, Brother Thay.

“Look into the heart of your anger and see where it comes from…the seeds of compassion in the mind need to be watered. When you have compassion you suffer much less. Look at fellow human beings with compassion in your heart.”

Standard
Life, Reflection, sketchbook

The days happy in their confusion, the world as it really is, but not quite

A typical week in my life, pretty sure so many millions of women across the world have these exact same days…

I’ve been thinking, I haven’t seen myself or people of my demographic reflected in mainstream media for nearly a decade now. While that frees us up to define who / what we want to be, that’s one reason I keep on documenting my life.

A century later there might be no record of what Indian middle class urban working women did, in all their diversity.

Luckily I’m not the only one – Women at Leisure is a great record, our friend Smriti is a prolific blogger too, and there are probably more such personal documentation out there that I don’t know of.

Good thing that women have always journaled, at least for the past few centuries. It’s probably because they have always been silenced officially and have had to seek out a way to express themselves somewhere.

My own great great grandmother Rasasundari Devi was the first Bengali woman to write her autobiography.

This was at a time, around 1810-1830, when even basic literacy was denied to women in Bengal, so she had to teach herself to read, and after nearly twenty years, to write. She started writing her autobiography in her fifties when her children were grown. Around the same time, social reform in Bengal had barely started in Calcutta, but she lived in a village away from all this, and so was completely self-taught.

With such precedents, we would be throwing away our privilege if we did not use a bit of it to bring about a collective voice for those not represented in the mainstream. I know we can do more, and I’m speaking from my very entitled perspective, but it’s a start. It’s a purpose – to stop whiling away time and channel it towards expression.

Title re-purposed from a poem by Jim Moore, American poet.

Standard
art, Books, sketchbook

Daybook: The journal of an artist

One of my best books last year was Daybook: The Journal of an Artist, by American artist Anne Pruitt. I wasn’t familiar with her work before and not even sure how I came across this book, but I enjoyed it immensely.

The book is a collection of Ms. Pruitt’s journals over multiple years, and she touches upon so many of the dilemmas we ourselves have felt. We, as in, anyone trying to balance motherhood and artistic or creative pursuit, to begin with, but also, for any artist who has ever questioned intuition, instinct, and flow in their own work. Here’s a map I was making while reading the book.

Her thoughts on art are highly conceptual, and she articulates them beautifully. Ms. Pruitt was a psychologist before she became an artist, and maybe that’s one reason she is able to tease out details of her experiences and subconscious thoughts with such great clarity, and in such elegant prose.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book –

“The meaning of our experience is held in the infinity”

Anne Pruitt

…which is about how we derive meaning from the short intervals between our sensory perceptions. As usual I drew it in my sketchbook.

By the way, WordPress was a bit of a letdown while making this post, and readers you may have some challenges here and there as well. First, the WordPress iPad app got stuck multiple times and so I gave up drafting there and used my laptop. And now there are other issues with the standard post format that I tried to resolve for the last half an hour. Oh well, tech.

Standard
sketchbook

Happy new year!

So it’s yet another new year and I am still alive. Sometimes that’s a magical thing.

Despite everything going on around us, I’ve been lucky to have a good enough first week of 2022, filled with things I cherish, and was really looking forward to this weekend.

So here’s the journal drawing I did last night –

For the curious:

I’m in the middle of my first book of 2022, which is Agnisambhab, a Bengali novel by my aunt Reeta Basu. I’ll write a more detailed post when I’ve finished it but suffice to say that I’m feeling very lucky to be reading it.

Finally, for the past year I’ve been helping jdallcaps publish the DesignUp newsletter. If you’re interested, do subscribe here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/jdallcaps

Here’s wishing you all more resilience for 2022, and a year filled with personal meaning.

Standard