Teaching is her passion. Even as she lectures in chemistry at the Deakin University, Melbourne, and immerses herself in carbon nano fibre research projects, DEEPA CHANDRA RAM finds time to pen poetry, dabble in the world of music and also paint. We have this multi-faceted academician, painter, poet and musician, in conversation with MEERA NAIR.
Did you, as a child, paint or write poetry? When and how did you discover these talents in you?
I used to draw and paint from a very young age, listened to music from the womb (my mom was a music teacher) and wrote poetry during my college days.
But I did not seriously pursue painting or poetry those years and dedicated myself to reading and learning science.
Though I was actively into writing as magazine editor and science coordinator where I worked, it was indeed a rediscovery of myself and my talents almost five years ago, following a long stagnant period.
When you came out with your new-found talents, what was the reaction of people around you? How did you respond to those reactions?
I started posting my poems and my paintings on Facebook, and found to my surprise that many of my friends reacted as if they knew I would or could write well. Some others left an exclamatory comment, “Is this you?” And, my response, as usual, was a cool hearty thanks.
You were recently part of a painting exhibition in Thiruvananthapuram. Tell us a bit about your paintings that were on display.
My paintings carried the essence of the aboriginal art from Australia. The indigenous inhabitants of that country had treasured spiritual tradition, which were depicted in their art forms and paintings. Formerly, these paintings were rock carvings and ground designs that later got pictured on canvas and linen cloth. My paintings were more of my visual images of deep philosophical, abstract and surreal concepts infused with aboriginal dot art.
You have lived both in India and Australia. What are the differences you experience in terms of the culture, specially from the point of view of a woman?
Every place has its own culture, which may have evolved through generations. Australia has a rich multicultural society primarily derived from Britain, but enriched by Australia’s geography and its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes and spiced by the different ethnicities that migrate to this country every year. Australia is informally known as a country for woman, as it gives its highest legal and financial security to women and children. Men and women are treated alike with hardly any preference with regard to job areas, or status in family and society.
Tell us a bit about the nature of your official work.
Teaching is my passion and I lecture in chemistry for Deakin University, Melbourne. I am also involved in projects with carbon nano fibre research.
People often talk about the need to focus. But here, you are doing so many wonderful things at the same time. Tell us about the balancing act.
I was fortunate enough to discover my talents, interest and energy in various fields and hence try to manage my time to be involved actively in these areas and keep myself happy – which, I believe, is the soul of life.
Science and art spring from different domains of an individual’s inner energy. Science uses more of the conscious and subconscious mind, while pure art emulates intuition and the unconscious.
But, the careful blend of the two could make both magical, more appealing and holistic than being cultured in singular boxes. It’s the share of time you devote to a particular field that makes you an achiever.