Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The art of quitting and vice versa

For the first half of my life so far, I was my elder sister's baby sister. For the second half, she was my baby sister. She is a good three inches shorter than me, and looks at least ten years younger than her age. And that's not the only reason why I look at her in the same way that I look at baby Aish.

But there was a time, when I could never reach up to her. Literally and otherwise. She was my goddess - tall(er), beautiful, talented, elegant. And I was the shorty, not-beautiful- but-ok-fine- if-you-insist-cute, hyperactive little puppy dog that followed her heels everywhere.

So recently, I was going through my annual ritual of looking through photos sent to me by family and friends and deleting the ones where I think I look terrible, when I saw something in the background of a photo. It was a family photo taken when Dad was posted at Hyderabad. The little thing in the background was a painting that my sister had made years and years and years ago. I cropped it out and decided to blog about it.

My sister had always been into art. When I was six and she was ten, she used to go to this lady in our neighbourhood to learn art. Sometimes, I'd tag along with her and watch them paint, fascinated. When they were working on this particular one (I think the original was a photograph in a calendar or something), I was speechless with wonder and admiration for my sister. I'd imagine myself walking along the path that led to the house on the left - I preferred it to the one on the right. Soon, looking at my interest, and concerned that the painting-wali-aunty (that's what I used to call her) probably didn't like having a non-student hanging around, Mom and Dad enrolled me in the art class too.

I was fine for the first two days, but soon my hyperactive side got the better of me. I found a new canvas, a more interesting one - my art teacher's little son's face. Surprisingly, she did not complain till the day I graduated from water colours to oil colours. (It's very difficult to remove oil colours from your face - gotta use turpentine oil and stuff). She politely told my Mom, "I think Sayesha is too active for something like art. Art needs patience. Your elder daughter has it. But Sayesha... maybe not..." So I was taken off the class. Not that I minded. I'd been getting quite bored of my 'canvas'.

During winter, my sister and I would sit on the terrace in the kachi dhoop and make new year cards for our relatives. I remember drawing particularly ugly versions of what I referred to as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

One day, I tagged along with my Dad and sis to a painting competition she was participating in. They also had a competition for the 6-10 age category, and I begged my Dad to let me enter. He agreed.

As soon as the competition started, I went to one of the organisers, tugged at his trousers and said, "Excuse-me-uncle-I-can't-sit-here-I-need-to-sit-with-my-sister."

"But you're in another category. You need to sit with the rest of the 6-10 year olds."

"No-I-need-to-sit-with-my-sister." I insisted.

"I can't let your elder sister help you, my dear. You're in a different category!"

"No-I-don't-need-help-from-her-I-only-need-colours-we-only-have -one-set-of-colours-you-see."

"Uhh... why didn't you bring your own colours?"

"Because-I-didn't-come-here-to-take-part-my-sister-has-an -extra-pencil-but-no-extra-colouring-set."

He looked at me in distress, had a word with another organiser, and finally let me sit with my sister. Boy, I freaked out quite a few of the participants when they saw someone my size seriously working away on her painting in the 'older kids' category.

The best part was that both of us won a prize in our respective categories. She was in the top three and I came home with a consolation prize. (Why the hell do they call that anyway? It sounds really sad - like "There there, don't cry. Okay fine, you can have this prize.")

Mom and Dad got me my own set of water colours, and I would participate in every single art competition with my sister after that. Sometimes she won, sometimes I did, and sometimes neither did. Whenever neither of us won, I'd go to the display where they put the winning paintings, and go, "Bah! Yours was so much better! Even mine should have beat this nonsense."

We grew up, I leaned away from art, and got into music. I would sketch now and then, but my sister continued to make paintings. Relatives would request for her paintings and proudly hang them on their walls. And I would stare at them in awe and think, "Yeh wala inko kyun de diya? Hamare ghar mein kyun nahin laga?" ("Why did you give this one to them? Why isn't this hung in our house?")

Then I came to Singapore and lost touch with art. When I was in uni, I tried my hand at making paintings using MSPaint and Photoshop, but gave up soon after, in pursuit of other things such as trying to get out of uni as fast as possible.

Rose in bitmap - US$100000000000000

Hibiscus in photoshop - SOLD

My sister too got busy in her new life and new job in the US. It appeared that both of us had given up something we loved.

I often feel that we're too willing to give up things we love. We quit at the slightest sign. I myself have lost touch with so many things I like to do, and from the looks of it, I don't see myself getting back in touch with them before next year. I have work, my master's course to finish, my dissertation to write, and I wanna take up Tamil classes. There is really no time or place for art (or singing for that matter) in my life as of now.

And I wondered if it was the same with my sis.

So this time, when I went to New Jersey, my bro-in-law showed me paintings that my sister had recently made. It made me so happy to know that she had not given up. But I had. I still have my old sketches stuck on my notice board at work, to remind me of the old days, but I don't sketch or paint anymore. I have quit. Perhaps I just did not love it enough. Because I believe that if you really love doing something, you will take out time to do it.

And it doesn't matter whether people ignore, praise or criticise it, you should never give up doing what you love. You should never think of quitting till the day you stop loving it.

I'm so glad that even though I lost touch with art, my sister did not.

She was better at it anyway.

Not just better, to me my elder "baby sister" was and will always be the best at it.


Bombay Addict said...

GOLD !!!! YES !! and to quote other.."to read the post" ! heheh..amazing snap sash !

Bombay Addict said...

sorry - that's "to quote others"..oops, does this qualify for silver ?

Bombay Addict said...

this is one of your best posts ever. *sheepish (guilty?) expression* - Makes me feel v dicey that I jumped at hitting gold, rather than waiting to read the post and then commenting.

I can't - just can't - stop reading this line of yours - I often feel that we're too willing to give up things we love. Brilliant. I know I can count myself in that "we". I know that I envy every person I know who's given it all up to go traveling, painting, writing, whatever. And that list of people is too short. Is it "paapi pet ka sawaal" that leads us to chase moolah and security rather than keep doing what we love? Or do we feel fine slogging in the grind and chasing our passions on a weekend basis?

And yes, you've written some really beautiful sentimental stuff that has evoked a range of emotions in me. Thank you.

Thank you also for this nice reality check for a mid-week evening.

bananapen said...

Nice post.
Nice art too :)

Inder said...

nice pics.
i remember drawing and colouring batman, tintin, lucky luke,... during summer vacations. :)
that seems ages ago. almost forgot about it.

Sudeep said...

damn! yahan par bhi pics ki post... aaj match chalu honese pehle kaafi padhna baaki hain :(

shub said...

Tamil classes? hahahahahaha!
err...okay, i can teach, only $10 per hour lah!

loved the rose in paint! awesome!how long did it take? I too love drawing and stuff, and once in a while I get all enthu!!

December when I went home, I found handmade paper and paints, and painted 3 birthday cards :D

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

:-) awwwww
gush gush. :)

very sweet. At each point in life something dominates and everything else goes into the background, especially as we get older. I also envy those people who manage to pursue all their hobbies, passions, and still do a good job at what they do for a living.

Dev said...

Awww... that was great...
And today Sayesha, even I can say that I totally identify with this post. :)

You gotta do what you love...

I used to draw pretty well too... however never kept at it. Now I guess I've lost it. :( Never tried drawin anymore.

Anonymous said...

nice post :)

i know wht it feels like when u give up something that u were so passionate about!! **sigh**

newys, we move on life..


Aparna S Mallya said...

hey! i absolutely luv reading posts like these. it was very touching.
keep up the good work!

Aparna S Mallya said...

@ dev
the last i knew, u cudn't draw a DOT!!


Rebellion said...

Super cute post Sayesha :)

Loved it. I agree it happens to everyone at least once in life when you feel you tend to lose touch with something you love, mostly coz you're too busy with other things around!! Who knows maybe your sister had lost touch too & got back?!!

All am intending to say is, you've just lost touch, neither stopped loving it nor that its the end. As you said, you've been just too busy for one year, after a year, you can definitely get back :)

And ya, who knows, hopefully, after a year we'd hear a band being led by the one & only "S-A-Y-E-S-H-A" :D

Follow your dreams dear.. For sooner or later am sure ul catch up & pursue them :)

Take care dear,

adi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Raam Pyari said...

arre bahin, i cn totally understand what u are talking about....infact this has often cum to my mind...

when u do get time plz start painting again...

Raam Pyari said...

arre bahin, i cn totally understand what u are talking about....infact this has often cum to my mind...

when u do get time plz start painting again...

adi said...

Bhai ko salam..namaste.

Aapka blog padha bhai.. bahut emotional ho gaya apun. Apun bhi bachpan me painting karta tha. Teacher bhi hamesha " GOOD", "VERY GOOD" , "EXCELLENT" deta tha. Pan jab se ye gun aayela hai haanth me bass isi se painting karta hain apun..
Bhai pan aap tension mat lo... aaj apun baith ke painting karta hain.

Baki bhaiyon aur bhaiyon ki beheno ko bhi roj ek painting karne ko mangta hain.

Bhai aap apun ka blog padha aur comment dia is waste "thank you".


zapper said...

first time here!! great post that has woken up long lost feelings of my old hobbies!! i love creativity especially working on Photoshop!! loved the line - 'I often feel that we're too willing to give up things we love - quitting at the slightest sign'.
I have to become a regular here!! great blog and nice pics on hopscotch too!!

Janefield said...

i know wot u mean...used to love drawing and painting...did them mostly during childhood years and then threw them out while moving from city to city. something i think abt often and regret throwing out, if only for the nostalgia. no patience for art now, but still love to view what others have done! nice read :)

Rohit Talwar said...

Well, I used to come up with cartoons almost every week...not anymore.

By the looks of it...Baby Aish is going to have a good hand :)

And, ah, such a Shishterly-love post again. Nice! I enjoyed reading it...very personal yet written very beautifully. The flow is amazing!

Duhita said...

Romba nandri for the songs;) Wow, nice painting, I always sucked majorly at art and all the classes never helped, my bro was the one I'd go to before an exam to tell me which one to draw and how to attempt it:) hmmm, I know I gave up something that I loved and doubt I can go back to it:( boo hoo And now you've got me senti over my bros too!

Suds said...

Great post. Made me think..:) U know I use to love playing galli cricket and we use to sit on a pulia in India for hours every day and talk, no idea what. But just talk. Now all that is gone. Hmmmm maybe I will catch some of my Amru neighbors are ask them to play cricket with me..:) hehehe

Iday said...

The rose bmp one is really good, considering that it was made in MSPaint. If u have the patience, u can really paint using that software :)
And yeah - as many others here, i can relate to the post as well.
Same case - good in drawing during school days and lost touch with it since college.
These days, photography has taken over :D

BTW - Learning tamil. Glad to hear that :)

Liz said...

I LOVE to sketch, paint etc etc.. Last december I suddenly realized I'd given it up for 2 long (ever since I came to Sing!). So I bought myself this nice little sketch book and been filling it up since:) It is so relaxing - in between skool and work and all the million other things we do. You shud definitely start again!:)

Sayesha said...

#Bombay Addict,
//amazing snap sash !

Thank you thank you. I didn't take it, but I was one of the models, yes. :P

And nope, that is not silver :)

//I know that I envy every person I know who's given it all up to go traveling, painting, writing, whatever.

Sigh... yeah... me too... but I console myself that at least my love for writing continues with my blog and my job... but there's so many other things I wanna do...

Thanks! The first one's still up for sale! ;)

Hahahaha! Yeah man... I used to draw and paint cartoon characters on new year cards :)

Good luck with the match and with the reading :)

$10 per hour???? And you call yourself my friend?? If I only I knew some expletives, I'd react better to that! :D

Actually pata hai, I'm paying $16 per hour! :O So your classes will actually be cheaper, just that I won't learn much if I learn from a friend :D

#Ipanema Gal,
//I also envy those people who manage to pursue all their hobbies, passions, and still do a good job at what they do for a living.

Exactly!! That's exactly who I wanna be. Some day man... some day...

Hope you start drawing again :) And post them on your blog too :)

Yeah, sigh... my question is - is the moving on in life that we do so mechanically, the right thing to do? Or is it just the easy way out?

Thanks :)
ps: LOL @ Dev's pol-khol! :D

Yeah... increasingly, I'm realising which things (and people) really matter... and I hope this thought translates into some action next year :)

#Raam Pyari,
Haan bahinnnn... jaldi hi... Ramji ki kripa se agle baras mein bahut saare achhe kaam karegi teri bahinnn :)

//Pan jab se ye gun aayela hai haanth me bass isi se painting karta hain apun..

Hahahahaha! That was so hilarious! :D

Welcome to Sayeshaz and thankf for commenting :) Hope you get some of your hobbies back :)

#Chosen One,
Arre wah Jane, tum bhi? Yahan artists' association khulne wala hai :D

Welcome back :) Thanks! Yeah, looks like Aish is gonna be artistic, aakhir beti kiski hai :D

Hahahaha! I understand romba nandri, YEAY! :D Romba welcome to you! :)

//no idea what. But just talk.

Sigh... I know exactly what you mean... aaj kal time nahin hai kisi ke paas, to sit and just talk without looking at the watch... :(

Anyway, good luck teaching the Amrus how to play cricket! :D

Thanks yaar. Yup, MSpaint needs much more skill and time than photoshop... photoshop kinda makes things easier for you... you need less skill and more knowledge of the various tools... :)

//These days, photography has taken over :D

Aaarghhh kya yaad dila diyaaaaa :'(

//Learning tamil. Glad to hear that :)

Yeah yeah, soon I'll be able to sunao you in Tamil! Muahaha! :D

You're an inspiration! :)

The Inquisitive Akka said...

Hi!Just bumped into your blog yesterday, you write really well!!
I wish I could draw but unfortunately I am a right-handed person born with two left hands :( ( I know that sounds totally corny but its true!)
I hope you start painting again real soon!

naari said...

I remember that B&W snap and those paintings too. Memories of other sketches, some joitn forays and how you stuck on with the sketches cam back. I still have that cherry sketch with me :) When I see them I remember some good times, a huge library, jokes shared, dosas, carrot juice, music session on those campus benches and long walks across campus in the afternoon sun.
Never give up what you enjoy in life. Keep that part alive for it completes you and makes you the person you are!

Raj said...

Now thats what i call an awesome post.

My elder sister did a painting course as well and she made a lot of good paintings. She is gifted. I hated it when some of her paintings were gifted to others.

I had a really great painting of hers in my room till somebody told me about a feng shui or vaastu rule abt not keeping paintings with still water in the bedroom :)

I dont think she paints anymore but its great to know that ur sis still does.

Sayesha said...

#Inquisitive Akka,
Welcome and thanks! :)

Oh maaaan... kya yaaad dila diya... I miss those days... especially the music sessions... and the late night rehearsals for the performances... remember the coffee in keyboard incident? Hahahaha! Tu itni door kyun rehti hai dhakkan?? :'(

Thanks. Hey, you should motivate your sis to start painting again... there are few things one is really really good at, and it's important to not give them up.

Dev said...

@aps: I dont show off my skills just like that...
You gotta pay :P
You can check out some of my old drawings for proof ;)

@sayesha: :P to you!

Nirwa said...

Girl, I know what you mean.. Even I am my hyper-tempered (is that a word?) elder sister's elder sister at times.. :D

And yes, about the art, it runs in family in our case.. my grandfather used to be an arts and sanskrit teacher, (he was also a criminal lawyer at one stage! phew! so much for career shift) and even my dad and his sisters are good at art..

Didi has been better at it always.. and recently I started my charcoal sketching lessons with my bhabhi.. It's very much therapeutic, actually.

Makes you feel like a creator - a plain sheet of paper suddenly has beautiful images on it! Aah!

And I believe, every one of us has some or the other creative side to us. It is just waiting for us to recognise it and explore it!

Nice post! :-)


shub said...

//if only I knew some expletives..
you dunno any? Okie will teach that also for an extra 5 bucks per hours! 5 dolla can? Teach expletives in Tamil also lah!

X-eve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
viv said...

The painting by your sister is awesome! And so are your works of computer art! Maybe you will rediscover that love for it once again someday...

The funny thing is when talented people fall out of love with something, while others who love it don't have the talent... It would be wonderful if everyone was talented at what they love to do :)

shub said...

love ur creative post titles by the way:)

Lalit Singh said...

you quit.... YOU QUIT!!!!
Go away Sayesha... go

PS: I am always intrigued about the fact ki sabki baby pictures aisi funny kyu hoti hain... did our parents purposely do that to make fun of us when we grew up

Anonymous said...

Very nice art pieces... and a sweet post too.. :D


Anish said...

super post sayesha... nice art too :)

Inder said...

any particular reason for learning tamil???

ANKIT said...

hi there,

sweet post...and the painting was wonderful..!
though painting talent is also really good,,,(if i need to draw a elephant,,i start with trying to draw a cat!)

and btw,,have you heard kumar sanu's DO DIL MIL RAHE HAIN from pardes,,,,my personal fav along with the two you mentioned..alonwith TERA MERA PYAR ,,its a song from a album sung by sanu,,,,a good one..try to hear them..cya,,ANKIT!

Iday said...

//Yup, MSpaint needs much more skill and time than photoshop... photoshop kinda makes things easier for you... you need less skill and more knowledge of the various tools... :)
And Photoshop has variety which MSpaint lacks. With all those effects, filters & etc we can do with PhotoShop, we can really do something out of our limited graphic skills ;) Seen some of my buddies churn out high quality stuff from PS.

//Aaarghhh kya yaad dila diyaaaaa :'(
Kya karo yaar!!! These days apun isme bhi kuch nahi kartha :(
There are always plans and then i postpone the plans :(
Some day gal, i will do something. Some day!!!

//Yeah yeah, soon I'll be able to sunao you in Tamil! Muahaha! :D
Yeah Yeah - I'm waiting :P

Ramkumar said...

when do we get to sayesha's present photo?

spamtaneous said...

LOL...kya getup hai kya dono sisters ka...

cute pic

Sayesha said...

Hahaha! I wanna see the dot too! Hahaha! :D

Wow, your grandpa sounds like an amazing person! :) Apni charcoal sketches daal na blog par :)

Hey bhagwan yeh tutor toh hired hone se pehle student ko bankrupt kar degi! :O

Thanks :) Will convey to sis too :)

//It would be wonderful if everyone was talented at what they love to do :)

Amazing thought, that :)

Thanks, dearie :)

Haan yaar! Kya nautanki lag rahi hain dono behnein... sheesh! :P

Look who's here! Welcome to my space! :) Drop by my cubicle some time, will show you a rose I sketched entirely of dots - it's my favourite :)

Thanks :)

Oh you mean aside from trying to impress this guy I like? Talking to Rajani sir to see if he would accept me as the scriptwriter for his next movie. :D

Yeah I have both songs you mentioned, and yes, they are pretty good :)

Hey! For now, I know only 'muttal' okie! :P Ajay taught me that right here. :D

Get to my photo?? :O Oh you mean, get to see photo? Arre they are all over Hopscotch yaar! :)

Hahaha! Oye mere get-up ke baare mein kuchh mat bolna... see how my clothes match my sister's? Studio jaake liya tha woh bhi! The photographer put a big piece of cloth on tall stool, deposited the clueless Sayesha on top and there, you have this "lovely" picture! :D

Travelling Soldier said...

Hi Sayesha,
i regularly read your posts, but this is the first time writing something ;-)

Your posts are just too good. Really enjoy reading them.

Keep up the good work and keep posting !!

Inder said...

being a tamil myself, i was like "why would someone want to learn tamil of all the other countless languages in the world?"
anyway, i believe that tamil is a beautiful language.

heard that rajini saar is quitting acting after his current movie. may be, he will go to the himalayas. confused guy, he has always been.

scipio said...

I won't say you look cute in the foto. I guess u probably know that...

Ever wondered why the young ones of any species look better than the older ones? Maybe it is their innocence that in turn comes out as beauty...

Hey!!! That was deep :P
Wake up scipio, get back to work...

Sayesha said...

#Travelling Soldier,
Welcome to Sayeshaz! Thanks for dropping by and finally commenting :)

Hahaha! I kind of have some selfish reasons to learn it :P But I know it's not gonna be easy learning it - it is a tough language. Hope I survive and learn something other than 'muttal'! :D

Hahaha! I love this pic of mine, I look SO clueless - that's the cute part! ;)

And yeah, that was deeeeeep! Wakey wakey! :)

Anonymous said...

wonderful post!

and great pics!


saty said...

heave you really lost your drawing ability?...a picture is worth thousand words they say..and instead of using drawing for expression, you are using words to express...and you are too good at it is doing something creative thing you love...mode of expression is tell you honestly at times your words conjour up a expression which make me say..."arre yaar yeh tho exactly apun ka thought hai: :)...ekdum absolutely lovely post!!!

Iday said...

//Hey! For now, I know only 'muttal' okie! :P Ajay taught me that right here. :D
There are loads.
But did u pay $16 to learn a single word?!?! :o
And did u spend 1 hr learning this single word!?!?! :O
I pity ur tutor :P

Sudeep said...

Skimming thro pics is one of the activities i like too..

i used to go to a drawing class but only for the cute gal who taught there.. i was worst at drawing n painting :(
accha hain koi bhai-behen nahi mujhe warna kitna inferiority complex aata tha mujhe :D

n thnx for the oil-paint tip.. next time instead of toothpaste n water colours i will pack oil-paints :)

Sudeep said...

btw, the road-wala pic n hibiscus r really nice..

shub said...

I hafta keep coming back to this post somehow!!
a. why are you looking so sad and lost in the pic? cameraman ne daanta kya? =))
CANNOT get over you expression in that pic! :D

b.why are u wearing a topi in the studio? to hide the bald pate? :P

Sakshi said...

Yikees.. ANother studio picture that only parents can adore..
I liked the painting you had on your board.. You are good (lotsa better than me).
Learn Tamil????????? Why Sayesha, why?
Before any Tamilians target me - I mean it in.. oh Heck, Why Sayesha ... Why?

How do we know said...

u r WOW!

Angelsera said...

//I often feel that we're too willing to give up things we love.

I know wat u mean...I have seen so many people go down that path

Maybe whn ur Masters ends u shd keep sometime aside for this..

Sayesha said...

Thanks! :P

Yeah, that's my consolation you see.. cos writing is something I love to do... And that's why I refuse to close down my blog in spite of all the danga fasaad that happens here :P

Sheesh! $16 for muttal?? Hahahaha! Nahin re, I haven't started my classes yet, will do end July :)

Hehehe.. do you also delete pics where you think you look bad, or is it just a girly thing? :P
ps: Thanks :)

//cameraman ne daanta kya? =))

Hahahahahaha! :D

Topi? I'm wearing a topi? Let me scroll up and come back... ok back now... hehehe... yeah must be the bald pate! :D

Hahahahha! Luckily for me, I have reached the point where I can look back at this pic and not go Yikkkeeess! :P

Learning Tamil... ahh... loooong story... I'm doing this for someone :)

#How do we know,
Err... thanks :P *blush*

Yeah, this year's packed with all the things I gotta do, next year's gonna be packed with all the things I love to do. :)

Angelsera said...

btw jus thought will tell u i updated my blog (finally)

Sayesha said...

Hehehe... yeah I saw :)

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