(It never gets easier, you just get better)
Being a ticket examiner, how did you discover your passion for painting?
Ever since a child, I have always looked up to myself as an artist. I believe that God has sent me to paint and my job is to serve for the purpose. But turning it into my profession just happened when I began painting in my spare time while sitting in the office. Initially my subjects were related to railways. People began appreciating me and few people also started showing interest in buying my paintings which made me realise that I could sell my paintings to earn a living. And what else could give you more satisfaction than getting paid for what you love to do!
How difficult was the transition from a Ticket Examiner to an Artist?
I did not actually change my job, but I grew as an artist. People started acknowledging me as a painter, so much so that they got surprised when they got to know that I work for Indian Railways. There weren’t many people at that time who wanted to buy paintings so it was quite difficult for me to earn initially. I had to struggle a lot but my passion for painting and God’s ambition of making me an artist didn’t to go in vain.
How do you feel about getting recognized by Shri Narendra Modiji?
It is an immense pleasure being recognised by the Prime Minister of your Nation but at the same time it gives you a responsibility too. He has equated me as a KARMYOGI, which means to go on selflessly; and that’s what I practice. I want my paintings to be larger than life and at the same time I want to make my Nation proud.
Why do your paintings always reflect nature?
An artist is always inspired by nature. All the elements of nature make my art valuable. I have a fascination towards water since childhood, which you can clearly see in my paintings. In fact, I call myself an ‘Aquatic Boy’.
So do we expect any changes in the dimensions of your paintings in future?
Of course. After all, it’s more like either you evolve or you dissolve. I keep trying, I keep switching subjects — I’ve made some portraits which do not relate to my usual subject matter and style. In this competitive world you have to keep experimenting, you have to keep up to the expectations, but deep down never lose connectivity with your emotions.