Series

Born of Fire

From my reading of the epic, the character of Draupadi always stood out as a woman of substance who was not afraid to speak her mind. The unusual circumstances of her appearance heralded the life Draupadi would lead as a rebellious princess, a constant seeker of justice. Her unexpected manifestation from the sacred flames may have left her father, King Dhrupad, momentarily astonished, but Draupadi herself emerged unscathed from the flames, a beautiful woman whose complexion was as radiant as the flames that surrounded her.

From her birth, Draupadi’s entire being was fiery and resolute, it was as if she came to the world with a mission. In the epic there are other characters too who remain etched in our memories but somehow, ever since I first read Mahabharata, it was Draupadi’s character that always stood out. How can one forget that time and again she willingly sacrificed her own passions, desires and maternal love, all for the sake of justice.

Her beauty, as described in the epic was that of an unconventional woman who defied the prevalent norms of the royal court. She was her own person, one who did not care about race, caste and colour. When Arjun won her hand in the Swayamvara, she had to accept five husbands because she knew that was what her destiny had in store. She fulfilled her wifely duties to the Pancha Pandavas with grace and devotion, treating each husband with love and affection even though in her heart of hearts, she secretly loved Arjun more than the others. However, her sacrifices yielded little in return. Like Nature endures hardships of tempests, storms, the rage of seas and violent explosions of the volcanoes, so too Draupadi accepted her fate with all its vicissitudes, uncomplainingly. To me, Draupadi is the truest champion of justice and fair play, she stands for women rights and humanity.

At the end of their earthly lives when they were on their way to heaven, Draupadi falls to her mortal death but the Pandavas do not spare her a glance and carry on. In my eyes, it is significant that Draupadi is sent back to the earth. Draupadi is our symbol of hope and fortitude and (I believe) she must remain in the midst of our lives as an iconic woman we can all draw inspiration from. She belongs to us!

Born of Fire - Sketches

From my reading of the epic, the character of Draupadi always stood out as a woman of substance who was not afraid to speak her mind. The unusual circumstances of her appearance heralded the life Draupadi would lead as a rebellious princess, a constant seeker of justice. Her unexpected manifestation from the sacred flames may have left her father, King Dhrupad, momentarily astonished, but Draupadi herself emerged unscathed from the flames, a beautiful woman whose complexion was as radiant as the flames that surrounded her.

From her birth, Draupadi’s entire being was fiery and resolute, it was as if she came to the world with a mission. In the epic there are other characters too who remain etched in our memories but somehow, ever since I first read Mahabharata, it was Draupadi’s character that always stood out. How can one forget that time and again she willingly sacrificed her own passions, desires and maternal love, all for the sake of justice.

Her beauty, as described in the epic was that of an unconventional woman who defied the prevalent norms of the royal court. She was her own person, one who did not care about race, caste and colour. When Arjun won her hand in the Swayamvara, she had to accept five husbands because she knew that was what her destiny had in store. She fulfilled her wifely duties to the Pancha Pandavas with grace and devotion, treating each husband with love and affection even though in her heart of hearts, she secretly loved Arjun more than the others. However, her sacrifices yielded little in return. Like Nature endures hardships of tempests, storms, the rage of seas and violent explosions of the volcanoes, so too Draupadi accepted her fate with all its vicissitudes, uncomplainingly. To me, Draupadi is the truest champion of justice and fair play, she stands for women rights and humanity.

At the end of their earthly lives when they were on their way to heaven, Draupadi falls to her mortal death but the Pandavas do not spare her a glance and carry on. In my eyes, it is significant that Draupadi is sent back to the earth. Draupadi is our symbol of hope and fortitude and (I believe) she must remain in the midst of our lives as an iconic woman we can all draw inspiration from. She belongs to us!

Primordial Power

Thousands of devotees wholeheartedly dedicate colourful votive churnis on their gods and goddesses, committed to a deep faith, unrestrained, unquestioningly. From here springs a strange and wonderful belief to battle every unforeseen hurdle. Every nook and corner in India, every lane and by laneis garlanded with votives of faith on trees and stones, temples and mosques, weaving the tale of their hopes. In my installation, I have used it to exemplify the reflection of that innate belief. I have also used the tiger’s face extravagantly, as we know it as one of the divine vehicles. The regal look of a tigerexudes a power; the abstract notion of an intangible force that destroys evil and builds strength of hope. The tiger finds its roots in my birthplace, Bengal, which prides in harbouring the Royal Bengal Tiger. It will also not be wrong to mention that they are reminiscent off the panel where they are "prancing, proud and unafraid" in Adrienne Rich’s ‘Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers’, basking in their feminine fires.