Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | February 9, 2011

Creative cousin

A long while back, I heard a story about one of my elder cousins. From his early childhood, my cousin was immensely talented in terms of creating clay models, painting, origami and a variety of other things from apparent wastes. He was very talented singer too. Once for a school assignment he created an artistic clay pot. The teacher could not believe that a boy of his age could create such a beautiful looking pot at home and thus concluded that my cousin had been lying. According to the non-believer teacher my cousin’s parents must have bought that clay pot from the market. The teacher failed my cousin.

This incident may have happened when I was toddler. However, I have seen my cousin to create more and beautiful things in my childhood. I used to be very close to him and always hoped secretly that he becomes an artist when he grows up. However, things did not pan out that way.

They were not very well-off and for long his father did not have a steady source of income for various reasons. As my cousin grew older it became absolutely necessary that he gives up his artistic pursuits to concentrate more on academics. Currently, he is doing some job and I am not aware if he uses his right side of brain often enough in his job.

Whenever I remember his youth, I wonder there would be so many people like him throughout India. These people possess immense talent in something creative but hardly ever flourish in that area.

In the developed world, however that is not an issue. Every day in New Zealand, I meet people who have chosen a profession of their choice. Among them there are a variety of artistes too.

I wish that was the case in India too. With due respect to all the creative people here, I do believe Indians would have given tough competition to the world had there been similar respect and opportunities provided to creative people. The opportunities and universities here are far better than in India but I am yet to be convinced about the quality that they generate. At the end of the day, it is a combination of a variety of things.

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Responses

  1. Sorry I missed this post for so long, Tanmoy.

    I share your regret. At the same time, I wish that these people would fight a little harder. Maybe your cousin has still somehow kept the flame alive; maybe he still works at his craft in his leisure time, if only as a gainful hobby (it is a fact that even in this difficult country a lot of people have managed to turn hobbies into paying careers – everything from teaching to cooking to acting and what have you). Far more than material need, it is the urge to swim with the tide, to keep up with the Joneses, that compels most of us to tread the beaten path. All my life I have borne witness to this. One of my most talented batchmates in school, who belonged to a more-than-well-off family, was forced into engineering when his gifts could have been far better utilized as a writer and professor of language or history… and he certainly wouldn’t have starved even if he had never worked for a living all his life. Since then, I have actually handled hundreds of students like him. So these days I feel very little sympathy… and I’d much prefer that my daughter stayed poor doing what she loved than grew well-off and ‘established’ doing what she hated.


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