My Retreat

It all started with a thought!

“Why am I bored on weekends”, I wondered gloomily looking outside the window having nothing else to do!
Having been used to a schedule comprising of swimming, classes, assignments, research studies, lengthy case analysis, jogging, paid projects, competitions, placement preparations, late night parties and movies(phew!!!)- when 4 hours of sleep was a luxury and when weekends were as packed as weekdays, I was finding it difficult to come to terms with my current life. Campus life @IIM Trichy spoilt me by over preparing me!

On that yet another uneventful Sat noon, after exhausting all possibilities to entertain myself, I finally gave up and decided to take a stroll outside.

I dragged myself out even when the merciless Chennai heat was at its worst – when every step I took was a test of endurance in itself. Not long after, just a few yards ahead, I was completely drenched in sweat, my usual long strides exhausting me in no time. I desperately fanned myself with my hand, as if on cue the wind blew towards me giving me a momentary cool bliss and ruffled the banner that hung right above me. On hearing the flutter, I looked up and saw what would be a saving grace that would soon give a new meaning to my weekends and to my life.

The banner led me to the first floor of a half dilapidated structure with the paint peeling on the outside. It was well hidden by an overgrown Peeple tree on one side and a huge Mango tree on the other. And to top it off the giant buildings in that posh neighborhood contributed to dwarfing this structure into nothingness! As I was climbing the stairs , I almost screamed when I noticed monkeys dangling from the mango tree, so dangerously close to me. I almost gave up and turned around to leave, but curiosity got the better of me and I decided to check out the place even if it meant fighting with those monkeys. Chanting Hanuman Chalisa, I bravely went up to the door and gingerly knocked wondering if there was anyone inside.

A boy in his late teens opened the door and let me in. I stood by the door silently taking in the surroundings! It was not a dark and dingy setting as I had expected it to be, judging by how the building looked on the outside, nevertheless it was quite intriguing. Wherever I looked I could see mounds of clay at different stages of drying! Here and there were some half done pots and in one corner I noticed something gleaming which I couldn’t make out even after repeated squinting! “Could you please switch on the lights” I heard myself ask and instantly the boy who let me in flung the heavy curtains apart letting the light flood in!

Lo and Behold, as the bright sunlight lit up the whole place, it seemed like a scene out of a fairy tale! The rays of sunlight as it entered accentuated the intricate carvings on the pots ; and the mounds of clay which I thought were carelessly strewn across were actually beautiful models in various stages of development. And the gleam from the corner was from one Lord Krishna adorned with Gold and Gems staring out from the frame with a lovely piercing pair of eyes, which got me totally dumbstruck! I couldn’t take my eyes off that Tanjore painting and when I finally did, it landed on a Easel nearby and the beautiful lady in the canvas pinned to that easel completely floored me! All of them were neatly arranged and I gleefully took in the surroundings like a kid in a candy store, walking up to each art display and taking my time studying them.

“Beautiful paintings!” I exclaimed at the only other occupant in the room. “Sir painted them all, and the pots and the models that you saw in this room – they  were also handmade by him”, he replied in a matter of fact tone! Hearing that my astonishment knew no bounds and I was now all the more eager to meet this exceedingly talented Artist! He is inside, I was told and was politely asked to wait! I stood there, hands crossed, drumming my fingers impatiently and suddenly the door near the Easel – which seemed non existent until then having blend with the surroundings – was thrown open! I waited with bated breath – nervous about meeting an Artist for the first time- expecting an old man with long white beard and other cliched artist looks walk out. Instead I came face to face with a serious faced middle aged man looking nothing like an artist! “Hello Madam”, he extended his hand to me, “You have come to learn Art?”, he asked and went on to explain the different classes available in weekends that I could enroll for!

Wait, did he say weekends – my heart leapt with joy at the thought that I could be engaged on weekends, that too productively! But now I was confused with the choices and was wondering out loud on what to enroll myself for!

When Sir was suggesting I learn drawing and painting, in walked another middle aged gentleman with a bunch of cute clay sculptures in his hand and he introduced himself as the first Sculpting Student of the Artist I just got introduced to. Looking at those sculptures I knew what I wanted to enroll myself in and my gleeful expression was all it took to convey to Mr Dewakar, the artist of the same! That day, I was taken in as the 2nd student for Sculpting!


And thus it began – my penchant for art! Under the guidance of Mr Diwakar I created a beautiful house, a lovely Ganesha, a lazy seal, a cute elephant,2 magnificent horses and one Serene looking Budha in no time. And I did not stop there – I went on to learn and create a Tanjore painting and now I am pondering over pottery which I will learn this month!

This Art Centre, Life&Art in no time made my once boring weekends something to be looked forward to week after week!

I created beautiful sculptures under the supervision and training of an expert who also clicked beautiful pictures of my work(for my Facebook dps – which by the way got numerous likes 😉 ), met like minded people and made wonderful memories that I would cherish forever!

I would have spent more money here than what I had earned in the first month on my first job! Nevertheless I am happy for having spent it on Life&Art – the place which magically makes me leave happily however glum I am when I enter in!

Finished Tanjore Painting on Lord Krishna

As I am lying down in my couch watching my dad arrange my handiwork in the hall – the sculptures being placed delicately inside the showcase and The Krishna Tanjore Painting being hung carefully on the wall above it – I couldn’t help but gloat in pride watching him look at my work in admiration dusting away the microscopic speckles of dust off them!


There are some things that money can indeed buy – it makes your passion affordable for you!


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