Know This Book: ‘Premendra Mitrer Shrestho Golpo’ By Premendra Mitra

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Another book that I read this year was Premendra Mitrer Shrestho Golpo (Best Stories of Premendra Mitra). As the title suggests, this book is a compilation of short stories by Bengali writer Premendra Mitra. Honestly speaking, I had difficulty appreciating most of the stories mainly because they have been written in an abstract manner. The stress of the writer is on depiction of the environment, human expressions and emotions, whereas the plot is secondary. But certainly, the description is flawless — all stories help you in experiencing life in varied colours. This is a characteristic of nearly whole Bengali literature irrespective of genre — it evokes emotions in you that you yourself weren’t aware of.

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Know This Book: ‘Kiriti Roy’ By Nihar Ranjan Gupta

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I had survived the first COVID wave last year with art as my only recourse. And to survive the second wave, I took refuge in literature, particularly fiction. With rising number of COVID cases, general indifference and influx of bad news and negative communication, the need for a strong distraction grew immensely. I knew that only nicely written detective novels or stories have the ability to engage the mind and keep it away from external influences. Another genre is horror; however, I am not very aware of literature in that genre, and have read only short stories. Anyway, coming back to detective novels, I had a good experience in the past from Saradindu Bandyopadhyay, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and innumerable stories published in Anandamela. Problem with detective stories is that there is no scope of re-reading. Once you have read a particular story, you already know who the culprit was and all the nitty-gritty of the crime. So another reading of the same story has no charm and nothing new to offer. I keep it in my mind that the first reading is going to be my only reading of the story and therefore try to give my full attention to it.

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Know This Book: ‘Krishnamurti For Beginners: An Anthology’

The most important book that I read this year was titled ‘Krishnamurti For Beginners: An Anthology’, published by Krishnamurti Foundation India. I had purchased this book sometime around 2006 when I was in Ahmedabad, and had already read it once or may be twice. This was my third reading of this book. Krishnamurti rarely fails us and always impresses us by his insight into problems and issues we come across in our everyday lives. After a biographical sketch and an outline of Krishnamurti’s philosophy by Radhika Herzberger, this book presents a collection of Krishnamurti’s writings, diary notes, speeches, dialogues and conversations. He does not belong to any religious sect or philosophical school; instead, he has a direct and straightforward way of looking at things, and through every piece of writing or conversation he encourages you to look at ‘what is’ instead of ‘what should be’. According to him, this conflict between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’ is the root cause of most of the problems. 

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Today I completed my second portrait in the ‘Pencil On Canvas’ series. The image depicts actress Angelina Jolie in a glamorous pose. In nearly all her photographs, Angelina is easily recognisable by her eyes and lips and this image is not an exception. Though it has a simple appearance at first glance, making this portrait was a bit complicated task primarily on account of very fine and distinct shades. At few places, I resorted to watercolor paint for bringing highlight to her hair. Hope you like it. For purchase of this artwork please send me a direct message. Details of the artwork are given below:

Title: Portrait of Angelina Jolie
Medium: Charcoal and Graphite on Canvas
Image Dimensions: 16 inches x 12 inches
Price: ₹ 4000


To have a look at my other drawings, click here. You can follow my art journey on Instagram and Facebook.


Book Review: ‘Invitation to Draw’ By Jean Van’t Hul

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In my conversations with parents concerned about their children’s future, I always advise them to make their children invest in arts and books. Here I use art in the broadest possible sense, which includes fine arts as well as performing arts. If you indeed love your children, you must think of their future, and provide them with something which would support them whole life. 

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Book Review: ‘Every Day Is Earth Day’ By Harriet Dyer

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I frequently receive books on climate change for review. Each one of them presents the subject from a different perspective and addresses different aspects of the problem. After reading my reviews, most of the time my readers put this question to me — “What are we supposed to do?”, and ask me reference of any book which might be able to answer this question. They want to contribute in the fight against climate change but they do not have any idea how to go ahead with it. The book Every Day is Earth Day: Simple Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Harriet Dyer answers precisely this question. The most noteworthy feature of this book is that it does not deviate a bit from its focus and successfully delivers what it promises. It is a hand-manual for citizens to help them reduce their carbon footprint by making few changes in their lifestyle. The book is loaded with data and facts, excellent graphics, and sound suggestions and advice. There are no typographical errors. The book has been compiled very nicely and you will sense the commitment to the cause on part of the writer and publisher. As such, I do not have any criticism or negative feedback for this book; so I will give you a brief summary of the book.  

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You Are Not The Centre Of Universe

There might be several things which you do not like; however, note that the world does not run according to your preferences, your likes and dislikes. You are not the centre of the universe; so if you want everyone in the world to live as per your likes then it is too much asking. It is not without any reason that God has kept the system administration of the world with Himself, and created you and your account with selected privileges which we call as ‘free-will’. Otherwise, you would agree, given that every individual has a personal preference and wants the whole world to acknowledge and accept it, satisfying everyone is simply not possible. Any attempt to do so would only lead to utter chaos. So let the world be as it is. Of course, there are certain things which are absolutely incorrect and you are completely justified in opposing them, just as there are others which are correct and one must take every trouble to ensure that they happen. Not only that, one should be prepared to make any number of sacrifices to let that happen. Here the choice is not between good and bad — which is a matter of personal taste — rather between correct and incorrect. At the same time, such universally good or bad actions which I have named as correct and incorrect respectively, are quite few and are generally accepted by everyone. On the other hand, for most part, most of the things that you want to happen or not happen are merely a matter of personal taste. Live and let live — that is the formula if you like to call it that way. 


Transformation Within A Relationship

It may sound counter-intuitive and is definitely completely opposite to what people in general claim. But I carry the opinion that if someone tries to change you — in whatever way — it means he does not love you. Those who want to change you or want you to change your lifestyle or way of thinking, simply want you to make them happy, they are merely using you to their advantage. If people love you, they would accept you the way you are. But what advantage do they fulfil by transforming? One factor is the general tendency to enlarge and boost their own ego by pointing out mistakes and flaws of others. This helps them in forgetting and ignoring their own shortcomings. This is the most widespread motivation behind criticism.

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‘Laetitia Casta’, graphite and charcoal portrait on canvas. Artist: Amit Misra

I have been making portraits in pencil for quite a long time. In fact, I have lost count of how many of them I have made till now. With every portrait, there is something to learn, not just about the skill, but about the facial features of humans. Laypersons mostly comment on the model or the subject I am portraying. For example, once it happened that incidentally I made portraits of Kareena to gift to two different friends. The general opinion spread that Kareena is my favourite actress! I receive the same comment particularly when the subject is a female model or an actress. Here I would like to tell you that for artists the subject is not that important as is generally believed. You might have heard it from artists and photographers that they found a particular face ‘interesting’. However, it simply means just that and doesn’t necessarily mean that the artist is in any way attached to the model. In general, artists do not see face, eyes, nose, lips, hair and so on; instead, all they see is geometrical figures. Yes, you read it correct — all they see in front of them is cones, pyramids, rectangles, cubes, cuboid, spheres, and lines. And it is the amusing combination and interplay of these geometrical figures in any face or figure is what makes it appealing and attractive to them. But I am not mathematically inclined; I am a physicist. So however hard do I try, I am not able to accurately analyse any figure in terms of its geometrical components. Instead, I take the alternative path shown by physics — optics to be precise. As I told you in another post, I am mainly attracted to the interplay of light and shade, how shadows form, the various patterns formed by light, and in the case of portraits, how this symphony of light and dark brings out the volume, shape and characteristics of any figure.

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How To Make The World Happy

Everyone seems to yearn to make the world happy— the leaders, the social workers, the teachers, the youth, the parents, everybody. Nobody has the formula; in fact, nobody even seems to have any idea about what happiness implies, yet such eagerness to spread joy! It is not surprising then that in this eagerness we only end up creating more chaos, those who we try to make happy become more sad, those we wanted to make happy end up becoming more miserable. A lot of effort and pain could have been saved if instead of trying to make others happy — that too without even knowing what it actually means — we ourselves become happy first. When we are happy and full of joy and love, that warmth is spread in our environment and those who come in our contact experience it as such. A blown out match stick cannot ignite a flame, only a burning one can do. If you yourself are sad, how can you bring happiness to others? A warm and beautiful smile on your face has the strength to lift people from depths of depression and dejection, to uplift spirits and give courage to people to move ahead in their lives with vigour and agility. Gloom spreads gloom, happiness spreads happiness. Again, happiness is the characteristic permanent state of a mind at peace with itself; it is not pleasure, which is momentary, transient and is only concerned with its own interests.