H N Suresh
Growing up in a religious family where every practice was observed, every tradition followed and every value instilled, not only made for a wholesome upbringing, but left a deep impression on me, unobtrusively shaping my personality traits. Ironically, it was these same practices that made me question them later, and delve deep into them.
As children, we would get all excited when our mother asked us to run to the nearby Shiva temple and light sesame lamps before the Navagrahas. For us, it was an outing, a short trip with siblings and friends to place those lamps and hop back home. The little lamps would be lit in front of the celestial deities, who stood in different directions, not facing each other. Their intriguing positions came back to haunt me when I started observing them subsequently.
Rituals such as the orderly stacking of our books for a puja every Saturday and chanting Samskritam hymns was a respite from homework, but unlike today, we understood those hymns better, as Samskritam was one of the mandatory languages we learnt in school.
My siblings and I were blessed to be provided a 360-degree exposure from academics to art. It is because of this that I realized art was my forte, and painting, my passion. The annual Ramanavami music festivals, where stalwarts of our time performed at the Sheshadripuarm High School near my house, was another great source of influence.
We soaked in every bit of culture that surrounded us, which unknowingly became a part of our learning. The Ken School of Art and my mentor, Dr. R. M. Hadapad, played a crucial role in honing my talent in drawing and painting. Having secured a job after completing my education, painting became a mere hobby. Some of my paintings were selected for exhibitions across the country, gaining recognition. My learning from life and nature convinced made me that we don’t create anything new; we only observe what is around us and put it on canvas. Based on my study and research, my earlier paintings have been broadly categorized into the spectrum of time and space; they have also been combined for an audio-visual treat.
Naksatras, Navagrahas and Astadikpalakas are in the realm of space while Raashis or seasons fall under the spectrum of time. The two churned together gives you the real dimension of music.