Sometimes fate draws a mysterious stroke leading you to pursue your innermost desires. Such is the case of Samiksha. Samiksha is an artist who picked up art as one of her main professions shortly after moving to New York City. Her story is intriguing yet resonates with many of us.
She was a strong student at school, someone to whom studying came like second nature. She was someone who took to academics like a moth to a flame. Her family too was amazed at her dedication towards her studies. It was this tenacity and rigour which took her to enroll for Chartered Accountancy exams after school. This isn’t the story of someone who was forced by their family to pursue an academic discipline and later, out of sheer regret switched streams to chase their wildest dreams. This is the story of a girl who amalgamated two loves along the way - namely tax consultancy and art. Now that it is clear that she took up tax consultancy out of her own desire, fast forward a few years, she worked with Ernst and Young in Mumbai for over 5 years and devoured her job! Although it was hectic and intensive, it was not a decision which stirred regret within her. Throughout her life, Samiksha cherished certain hobbies which she just couldn’t turn away from. These were writing and art and somewhere, a little bit of dance. Though, writing and art were the dominant ones. As one can imagine, it is extremely difficult for someone whose heart lies in multiple streams to vehemently focus on one and unthinkingly shut down all the others. Many multi passionate people the world over suffer from being at the brunt of a widely held judgement i.e. ‘If you dabble in all these things, how could really hone one to it’s greatest degree. If you’re the jack of all trades, how could you be the master of one?’ Though we can safely put this statement aside because ultimately life is also about personal fulfillment. If you haven’t really explored all your wildest desires, have you really lived? Such is the paradigm that Samiksha embraces today.
This paradigm shift came about when she moved to New York. Art, which for long had been a hobby was rebirthed into a newfound source of income. Samiksha moved to New York two years back and had to take a break from work pending the processing of her work permit. The time period for which her work permit was in the making or the time that she was devoid of her work permit was more than a year. Finding herself idle, she took to her former hobby, art. Another sinstance which led to her creations was her move to New York and the nostalgia that accompanied it upon her leaving Mumbai, where she had lived for 10 years. Samiksha vividly remembers Mumbai as a city with which she fell in love with. It was the aura of the city which had seeped into her bones which refused to leave even after she moved to New York. The atmosphere of Mumbai with its local trains, its double decker buses and the never ending hustle and bustle are etched into her memory. She found pieces of her former city in her new home. Owing to partly her imagination and partly to actual similarities between Mumbai and New York, she was able to draw a strong connect between these two cities. This is what her recent series ‘Deja Vu Bombay New York’ is all about. The similarities she found were ever abounding - the city bus in New York taking you to Macy’s, essentially the largest store in New york, mimics Mumbai’s local bus which traverses through all of Mumbai’s important locations. Hence, you see a painting in this series which has Mumbai’s local bus crossing the Macy’s building in New York city. In another painting, she has shown a Dabbawala sitting at a subway platform in New York. The idea behind the painting being that while New York has one lifeline - its local trains, Mumbai has two - local trains and the dabbawala. She has depicted the unique lifeline of Mumbai along with the common lifeline of New York in one painting. Deja Vu Bombay New York was about two ideas occurring simultaneously and finding a home in one painting. She hasn’t only blurred the lines between these two mammoth cities but induced a sense of belonging through art.
Her process is extremely thoughtful and seldom based on impulse. Regardless of this, the undertaking of art as her long lost hobby when she moved to New York happened impulsively and she couldn’t be more grateful for this diversion in her approach towards spontaneity.
When she moved, New York provided an atmosphere like never before for her to pursue art. She describes New York as a place which is non judgemental, embracing of originality and one which knows no bounds when it comes to nurturing emerging artists. This added to her confidence. Today, Samiksha is looking to carve a life which would accommodate both her passions- tax consultancy and art. She is unabashedly ready to take on both of her interests. ‘It took time to accept myself but then I realised this is who I am’ Our conversation ends with Samiksha’s confession on being a multi passionate personality.
Text Supriya Jain