Follow your art: choosing your career with passion
Painting has always been my passion. I had sketched and doodled informally since I was a child, so when it came to choosing a Saturday hobby (required by my school in Mumbai), my art teacher - renowned Indian painter R S Nikumbh (portrayed by Aamir Khan in the film 'Taare Zamin Par') - suggested I choose art.
Though I was just 11 years old at the time, he paid special attention to honing my talent. I excelled academically, though, so, as the son of a traditional Gujarati family, becoming a full-time painter was never a serious consideration, and instead I followed a more conventional career path.
Keeping the art alive
Decades later, as the CIO of the Landmark Group and a family man, there is little time to pursue my passion. But the painter in me is still alive, and, as a classic Virgo (an emotional perfectionist), I find ways to express myself: I insist that tables and charts be coloured and laid out just so, sketch presenters or admire hotel lobby art during long conferences, and would rather be outside in nature drawing trees or plants than socialising at a cocktail party. And I've recently dedicated my Saturdays to painting again - I'm currently working on a portrait of my daughter, who's persuaded me to restart my art.
Leap of faith
At the age of 50, I often wonder about enrolling in an art college and fulfilling my dream. But the most practical thing I can do now is to encourage my own children to follow their hearts and turn something they really love into a viable career. My son chose to study Chartered Accountancy in India (instead of engineering in the West, as I'd thought) and is doing well for himself today. My artistically-inclined daughter is shaping her hobby and career in computer animation and fashion design, which will allow her to balance work and family life. Both have chosen fields they love, and I'm happy they've followed their hearts.
I know my art will always keep me good company. Whether your passion is meant to be a hobby or your life's work, I encourage you to take that leap of faith to find out. You might just discover you have wings.
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