"Just like the seven stages of grief that starts with denial and ends with hope, this pandemic has had a similar emotional graph for me. The denial - if all this is really true, really happening to us and will ever happen to us? With the numbers growing all around us, it is like a looming calamity that could blind side us any moment. In my case, with elderly parents and a child under eight months, one feels helpless in not being some kind of human shield so they can remain unharmed. Time has been a running theme, in the middle of all this. There seems to be a strange relationship with it. It feels more visceral than ever before and at the same time blurred, with days merging into each other. But most of all, a sense of the time that we all are losing, of living our lives. During this period, I started making digital collages, each one everyday for about fifteen days almost like going through the stages of grief- the sense, mood and the state of mind somewhere started to shift. What started with denial, and an awareness of the fragility of reality is beginning to steer towards surrender, a sort of acceptance of the uncertainty. It’s been difficult to let go of control but that’s something I have just started to sit with and not be so afraid of.
Eventually, I’d like to reach a point of hope, something that Neil Gaiman writes so beautifully about: “There are so many fragile things. After all people break so easily and so dreams and hearts. And yet, as I write this it occurs to me that the peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how very powerful they truly are….Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things can prove remarkably difficult to kill. Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds; eggs and human hearts and dreams, are also fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks. Or they are words on the air, composed of sounds and ideas-abstract, invisible, gone once they've been spoken-and what could be more frail than that? But some stories, small, simple ones about setting out on adventures or people doing wonders, tales of miracles and monsters, have outlasted all the people who told them, and some of them have outlasted the lands in which they were created.” “We are tougher than we seem. We are tougher than we think. Our stories will outlive us. Let’s make them good. May that, which has been broken be restored. Good luck and safe lives to us all.”"
You can follow Vasundhara's work on Instagram @halkagehra and her website.
About the artist:
Born in Patna, Vasundhara Prakash moved to Delhi for college and university. Thereafter, an unsuccessful academic stint in America made her move to the city of dreams, Bombay. Exhausted and disenchanted, and with the longing to be closer to family, she moved back to Delhi for love - a city she does not specially fancy, but has been living in since. Having left her job at a design studio a few years ago, she creates her art for herself and to be able to share the joy of it with the world, while her 18 month daughter takes her afternoon naps.