First Impressions

Scene 1: Their eyes met across a crowded room. Not a word was spoken. But somehow they knew, there was more in store for them.

Scene 2: She sat nervously in a really cold conference room when he entered and asked her warmly “Tea?” All fear left her when she realized this was where she belonged.

Scene 3: They wandered out of the airport with wonder filled eyes. New York was more than they could have ever imagined.

Scene 4: She was a menacing old woman sitting outside the subway. The little boy glanced at her as he passed her by and ran towards his mother, instantly grasping her hand.

Various scenarios, one moment of truth. The first time you look at someone and instantly decide if you’d ever want to see them again. The magic of first impressions? There’s no going back!

Scene 5: We walked around the palatial gallery of the most renowned personal collection of art. Marveling the exquisiteness of each piece, getting transported into another era. But something was missing. Something larger than life. As we made our way to the exit, I stopped. Something had caught my attention; it was drawing me towards it. “This is it!” She said, “Impressionism at its best. It has to be a Monet!” And a Monet it was!




  1. a style or movement in painting originating in France in the 1860s, characterized by a concern with depicting the visual impression of the moment, especially in terms of the shifting effect of light and colour.

o    a literary or artistic style that seeks to capture a feeling or experience rather than to achieve accurate depiction.

Soaking in some of their best works from Monet’s “The Thaw at Vétheuil”, “The Water Lily Pond” to Renoir’s “Wheatfield” a whole new world opened up to me. A sudden realization of the form of art in the art of life; how impressionism as a form of art, impacts the way we look at life. A flashback of memories, some almost crystal clear but never quite the regeneration, giving a sense of reality, but not completely.

Claude Monet, the undisputed leader of the Impressionists, spent his childhood in the French town of Le Havre, where he began to paint landscapes of the Normandy coast. After studying for a short period at the Académie Suisse in Paris, he took up plein air painting as a self-taught artist, striving to study the effects of light and time on nature.

He and Auguste Renoir were the first artists to use the loose brushstrokes characteristic of Impressionism.

We walked out in a stupor. An experience of a lifetime. The first impression of impressionism. An everlasting one!

©Nazneen Dharamsey, 2016. All rights reserved.

The Albertina. Vienna, Austria. September 2016.

Renaissance Convention

A convention was being planned for leading European artists by a handful of amateur organisers.

“On a Sunday on La Grande Jatte, perhaps”? Suggested one of them.

“No!” quipped the Thinker. “At the Moulin Rouge!”

But what would be served to the Potato Eaters then? Stacks of Wheat!? They must cater to the Old Masters’ palates. They realised it wouldn’t be easy. They hoped that the convention would be the first of a series of dinners; but feared that if it failed, it would end up being the Last Supper!

They hence called Da Vinci to crack the code,

The guest of honour would be Madonna (and child),

Van Gogh’s presence would certainly make it a starry night!

Michalengo would bring David,

Vermeer, a girl with a pearl earring.

They decided to go Dutch; and invited Rembrandt,

Monet and Renoir would certainly make a good Impression,

Picasso declined. He was going through a Blue Period in his life.

Then they debated on the theme of the convention. Classical? Romanticism? Realism…?

The discussions were endless. If you heard them, you’d Scream.

They imagined the dinner to be like the creation of Adam.

After all, the convention would be a renaissance of sorts!

©Helina Desai, 2016. All rights reserved.


Bonding over art

They say friendship has no bounds; it knows no time, it has no place. There are friendships that last a lifetime, some fade away with time, some reignite over a memory, a moment, a fragmented conversation.

This friendship started in school. Play dates at joggers park soon turned to attending art classes together. It was our first tryst with art. A deeper bond developed over colour schemes and textures. She had a beautiful sense of aesthetics. I was merely finding a form of expression. I soon gave up and found my solace in writing. She continued blossoming with each piece that she created. Then school ended. So did college. Careers took us on different paths. Life happened along with all its atrocities. The once upon everyday play date became an annual birthday attendance.

But life has its own plan. And friendships find their way back with art playing the role of the perfect matchmaker. They met at an exhibition. Then another. And never looked back since. From checking out new artists at Jehangir art gallery post work hours and over weekends to landing up all the way at Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, they found their solace in Picasso’s Guernica at the Reina Sofia. So magnificent is the power of art. It transforms the way we think, live, believe and in this case, the way we find our space in each other’s lives.

©Nazneen Dharamsey, 2016. All rights reserved.

Pictures: From the Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Click on pictures to know more about the painting.