My parents recognized my inclination towards art at an early stage (instead of spoiling drawing room walls, its better spoiling books with official permission!) and started sending me to the drawing teacher Mr. Sudhakar Chandorkar for training. Later, I started participating in many drawing–painting competitions. He and my mother used to teach in the same school. So they used to communicate about upcoming competitions regularly. It was wise of my parents and my teacher to send me for those competitions, where I was exposed to other students’ talent. I also achieved the confidence of visualizing ideas in a short time. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I did not. I also made a few friends during those competitions as the same bunch of students used to be present in most of them.
There were many other learnings I went through. In one of the events, we had to draw about any one of the 3 given topics—Fair in the village (Mela), the beach and procession on elephant. I was confused about which one to choose. Mela was my winning entry for a past competition, so I was confident about the first option. The second option, beach, was quick and easy to draw; water would cover half the paper, so it would be a simpler job. Almost finalizing the beach option, I checked my color box and shades of blues were almost exhausted. Till that time I didn’t give any thought to the third option because I hate drawing animals or I should say I couldn’t draw animals well. Its tough! But having no other choices and time left, I challenged myself to opt for ‘the elephant procession’.
It was a nightmare, I finally drew an elephant and horses looking like identifiable creatures on the cost of a 3 inch eraser scrubbed down to an inch in size. After a long struggle, I finished drawing the procession. We used to show our finished work to accompanying parents who were the most curious souls. My mother’s expressions made it look as if my drawing was completely unrelated to any of the given topics!
Results were to be announced after a half hour break. My mother had dropped all hopes of my winning after seeing my masterpiece. But we still waited for other friends, who had done a better job... apparently. Judges had selected 5 winners and announced their names in ascending order. A sudden strike of Lady Luck, I happen to be the no.1 winner. My mom was shocked and I was also surprised but happy. Later the jury members spoke to my teacher that—I was the only one who dared to choose the third option and made a great picture (effort). This ‘only’ elephant procession stood out amongst the cliched, playful beaches and fairs.