My first interaction with Mary Kom was very insightful and interesting. Because of certain time constraints we had to meet in Pune. On our meeting we decided to collaborate on a concept related to flight; we both have had experiences which have helped us to rise above our self in our respective fields. As far as the painting process goes, Mary had not held a brush ever since she left school, but there was a childlike enthusiasm with which she undertook this collaboration.
The painting that we worked on together depicts the unseen flying celestial bodies – Gandarva, in a jubilant mood. These mythical beings are all around us and are invisible to the naked eye, but we can feel their presence in the form of a subtle essence.
My next collaboration was with Nirmala Sitaraman, who is a very accurate and analytical person; this was very evident from her extensive work during the campaign. We met at her office to discuss the idea for our collaboration, and it was there that we decided to work on Sarawati- Goddess of Knowledge and Learning.
Not only was she very forth coming with her inputs, but she also had a deep, personal interest in the subject matter that we’d be working on; in fact the entire base of this painting was done by Nirmala. She was very intrigued by my work process and inquisitive about what mediums I chose to employ and how I went about employing these mediums. The experience of working with her was very invigorating.
My next collaboration was with Alpana Kirloskar. She came to the studio to discuss the theme that we would be working on together.
Having previously seen some of my Krishna paintings, she was keen on working with me on the same theme. As we ideated, we decided to depict Krishna with invisible wings which would convey his
flight, and on the other hand, Radha has been depicted as a peahen, the enchantress in this situation.
I also collaborated with Sakshi Salve. When she came over to the studio, I was working on a diptych which interested her, and thus we decided to work on a triptych; this triptych would together constitute one whole painting.Since the paining would be a 3-part work, the theme we narrowed down to was that of the 3 worlds- satva, rajas and tamas; which also a representation of truth, falsehood and the grey area which lie in between. We also decided to incorporate the imagery of the ‘tree of life’ from Bhagwatgita (Chapter 15); along with the human form which is described as the ‘ultavriksh’ (upturned tree) in the Bhagwatgita; where the roots of the tree