View from my window. Graphite, Collage.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
I came to Canada at a time when I have the right mindset to face the challenges of being an immigrant alone in a foreign city. In the last six-months I have thankfully manifested no headline-grabbing success. Instead, I experience each day as it comes and spend my time learning, integrating and absorbing. I am trying to fit in pieces of a puzzle to make a complete picture, but I am discovering that with each piece I search for and fix into place, the picture constantly changes and takes a life of its own. I have to accept that and follow it through to see where it leads me. The act of creating this picture was once a vision in the distant future. It is now the task of the present.
The things that I wanted most happened to me last year when I least expected it, when I was occupied doing other things, like doing what I loved and enjoying life. I achieved a kind of professional success I never imagined would happen to me - fantastic assignments, great fees and a sale of paintings which astonished me. But before I could let it sink in, it was time to leave, to new adventures and onto something that I had planned and worked so hard upon for the last four years and wanted so much for the last twenty.
When you return from studying abroad back to India or when you move to a foreign country from Indian shores, there are always high expectations of you. The underlying expectation is always variation of the same presumption and always unimaginative – you have to become an instant success immediately. The word success is always defined by one thing alone – money, or the appearance of having some. The resulting anxiety created when you are in your twenties and thirties is enormous, a façade has to be created for the approval of the community lest you be ignored and discarded, if you don’t flaunt yourself instantly and continuously, professionally and personally you are quickly assumed a failure, the times become strange, empty and anxious, nobody waits for roots to sink in or branches to spread.