interview is a part of Startup Terminal interview series to mark the occasion
of ‘International Women’s Day’
a full time artist, I was a Senior Associate in the prestigious Law firm,
Amarchand Mangaldas Suresh Shroff & Co., Delhi office (Now Shardul Amarchand
Mangaldas) since May 2010 until May 2015. However, there were other callings as
well and I was selling art since 2012.
|Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi|
I always had an appetite
within, for creativity. Often I would get an urge like a bolt from the blue to
paint, but deadlines and work commitments would always take precedence. I would
often imagine myself being in an artist’s studio, going wild on the canvas and
would often stop sleeping after work hours to quench the creative thirst and
paint away. Strangely enough, the breeding ground for the artist in me was at
my law firm itself as many associates and partners at the firm had started
investing in my works. Friends would call me ‘Lawyer by the day and Artist by
the Night’! However, being a nocturnal while having a demanding day job, is
neither wise nor sustainable as fatigue and sleep would overtake me at the
oddest hours. Weekends were fruitful, when I was spared from office work,
household chores, social commitments or if I wasn’t consumed by the haze of the
stability of a well- paying job in a prestigious law firm where I had been
performing quite well, but on the other hand, there was an aching desire to
take on the creative path. With time I realized that my passion for art was so
overwhelming, that after a point, money and promotions were not governing my
work, I was consumed by the most indescribable feeling: almost as though one
hardened part of my head insisted on pushing my psyche out of gear. I was on
the edge, irritable, as if trying to read station signs from a speeding train.
A station approaches, but I was speeding so fast, flying by, but was unable to
make anything of it. I wanted to implore the visions in my mind to stay, long
enough, without distraction of other impending responsibilities. My mind was
seeking responses, but I had no time to even register anything. The mind was
consumed by this feeling of lurking anticipation. This was when I knew I had to
up my first official exhibition and test the waters before I took the plunge.
After a month of hard work and several hours of painting and preparing, there I
was with my debut exhibition in May 2015, which luckily was a great success.
After this, there was no looking back.
a Business of Art course from the YWLP and DAG, Modern; the first art course of
its kind for understanding the market & business of Art, taught by Indian
and global Masters.
biggest influence in life?
art and now also getting into the field of art and law. They made me realize
that in any one’s life, purpose may point us in the right direction, but it’s
passion that propels you. Whenever I have faced any setbacks in life, I seek
strength and fall back on my family. They respect my decisions and we all work
around making life convenient for each other. They appreciate the fact that I
had always been extremely hard working and a thorough professional and never
meant to just be part of a rat race.
professional life, if any?
from time to time. I had to work against some preconceived notions and
stereotypes surrounding women. Constantly working with different sections of
the society, I had extremely demanding clients and deadlines, but in the end I
learnt how to tackle the most challenging situations with utmost ease.
was very supportive. In fact I was the one who was skeptical regarding leaving
a very prestigious job which I thoroughly enjoyed and had built very strong
relations with my colleagues. Somewhere I was worried that this would be an
economic suicide, but I was wrong, people appreciate you a lot more for
listening to your heart and not giving into artificial societal pressures. I
consider myself extremely lucky as the response to my works has been very good.Nevertheless,
only time will tell whether in the field of law, female artists face similar
contributing to the art community by further art law practice in India. I don’t
only intend to give back to the art community by helping the artists, dealers
and galleries, but really hope that my expertise in the legal field can be used
to bring about legislations/ executive orders which would help in increasing
transparency, accessibility and make valuation of works non-speculative,
thereby increasing investor confidence in the art market.
does not compromise on self-respect, no matter how demanding a situation, it is
then others value you as well.
be ashamed of your past even if you are not proud of it. Looking back, you know
better today. It is so important to be exposed to the adversities in life as
being sheltered will only make you vulnerable. It is also important to be
exposed to different cultures, travel to far off lands as different places,
faces and maps give you a chance to make homes in other’s souls and also get
enriched by their’s, to know what and how could one make our own lives
meaningful and act accordingly. My entire life journey, thus far, including
being raised by an extremely loving and hard working single mother had helped
me become the person I am. The emotional intelligence, financial
independence, self respect, hard work and importance of family, are attributes
which I have to thank my family for and these have made my journey extremely
smooth and meaningful, no matter how compelling the circumstances.
have all been given unique and extraordinary gifts so that we may use them and
thus share the wealth and joy of them with the rest of the world. If you have a
calling, an urge, something you think about day and night, it is there for you
to follow, to listen to it, to move toward it, and to find out the ways it may
bring you more into being your total and complete self. If you have that urge,
ignore the pressures and duress from others, don’t wait for the perfect moment;
take the moment and make it perfect.