Dr. MANOJ AJMERA
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The atmosphere at the gallery was buzzing. The sultry summer breeze merged with the light jazz beats playing in the background. An upbeat vibe with an undertone of calm engulfed every artist present. Each stroke of color beautifully complimented the free spirit of the painters. Deviba’s studio is not a studio at all; it’s an open space possessing a welcoming appearance of its own. The charm of the space lies in its ability to enable you to just be yourself. I felt it almost immediately. I loved the little write ups and sketches that donned the stairway leading up to the gallery, they made me feel at home. When we walked into the space, students were sitting in every corner of the floor and painting. I was tempted to pick up a brush myself and experiment with some colors. Alas I was on a different mission, and so I embarked on a wonderful journey to understand Deviba as a trainer and an artist. Deviba has a charming spirit and an even more intriguing aura around her. She inspires her students by her presence. She is not the kind of trainer to give instructions; instead she attempts to guide her students. “Let the hand freely make its own strokes and patterns,” she told one of her students as she demonstrated a stroke of green on a large canvas. “Deviba has asked me to just make circles, as the importance of circles in Indian culture cannot be emphasized on enough. The circle represents a zero which is also known as shunya in Hindi” said one student who was painting for the first time, “The workshop is the beginning of a journey to explore my creative ability.”
"She is not the kind of trainer to give instructions; instead she attempts to guide her students."
After the workshop, she invited us to her work station cum office to sit and have a cup of tea. Beautiful pieces of art were placed all around the room, as if mindlessly roaming around on their own. She pointed out at one of the works, “See that horse? That was created in just a few minutes.” The black and white charcoal piece was to be used for a theater performance. Her artwork reflects a certain shade of wanderlust which can easily be explained by her travel experiences. There was a little corner shelf neatly arranged with books on a variety of subjects. I stood there like a little schoolgirl recognizing my favorite literary pieces, picking each one up and admiring them. She saw me and laughed, “That’s the corner all the literature buffs adore!” I nodded in agreement. Without trying to sound like a stalker I told her that I saw a copy of “Not without my daughter” on her work desk. “Yes, I am actually re-reading that one!” she exclaimed, “It’s been quite a while since I read it and I really want to revisit it.” I told her how it was one of my favorite books too. I was quite excited that I shared some similar tastes with her!