Ever since I can remember, I have been fond of drawing. All the walls of our house (ground level to a height of four feet) were covered with my scribblings and doodles of cat, fish, tree, house, bird, car, cycle, dog, alphabets written in a crooked line, a series of zeroes, from big to small, and what not. My teachers always reprimanded me for drawing in the sides of the textbooks and notebooks. And I remember teachers picking up my answersheet first while giving them back after class exams. The reason was to show it to the whole class how I used to fill them up with doodles of the exam hall and the invigilator or the caricature of the teacher handling that subject. My friends would enjoy the rebuke but they liked my cartoons and drawings. Only once had a teacher appreciated my drawings in the textbooks and answer sheets and told me not to waste my talent!
After winning prizes for drawing, painting and cartooning in school and college, I was excited when I got an interview call from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. This was after I had made it through the entrance exam held at Chennai, then Madras.
Seeking blessings from Amma, I made my journey to Ahmedabad where I had still to get through a written test, a GD and an interview. Although some names were eliminated after the written test and the GD, I was thrilled to see mine in the selected list for the final interview.
I entered the interview room, confident yet nervous. The jury had my earlier works sent to them. They asked me about my education and why I was interested in a course at NID. I was then asked about my family background. I said that my father, a Postal employee, was no more. One of the interviewer asked if my mother was working. I said since she had heart problem, she was not working. A set of questions was asked about my drawing and cartooning style. All of them looked satisfied with my anwers. Finally, one among the jury told, “More than NID, your mother needs you”. I wondered what made him say that.
When the final list of candidates was announced, my name was missing. I was terribly disappointed and returned back to Bangalore.
But I never gave up drawing. By now, I was submitting my cartoons to a few periodicals. My mother all through kept encouraging me in whatever I did. She remained the sole motivating factor in my life. She always made critical analysis of my creation and made a point that helped me progress in the field of art.
Gradually, her health started deteriorating. The doctors told that there was a severe blockage in her heart. Chances of her survival were grim. It was sad to see her suffer during her last days in the hospital. She passed away quietly on this day, seven years ago.
But the only solace for me will be that I spent time with Amma, which will be priceless than any Degree from any Institute in the world. Even today, I can never forget the interviewer who told me “More than NID, your mother needs you”. How true it turned out to be!