Four Financial Milestones To Reach By Age 30

My favorite season is in the wings. Like first cups of new tea, each day teases me into looking deeper at things we live with. To lead happier lives, to eliminate the poisons of greed, anger and ignorance, to get things done with as little stress and waste as possible, to reduce the errors of our ways and to help Dev learn what is worthy.

The richness of our world is reason for hope.

Money, how we acquire it, what we use it for, and the price we are ready to pay for it is central to much of our pursuit of a simpler, more responsible life. Both right livelihood and right conduct come into play when it comes to money. More on that some other time.

One of our challenges during these last few years has been to try and catch up with our milestones after hitting a few financial dead ends. If I were able to relive my 20s again, there would be a couple of things I would be gunning for.

Read my post on Four Financial Milestones To Reach By Age 30 over at the MoneyView blog.

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How To Avoid Common Money Mistakes

Money and saving money is often the most important goal for many if not most people. Financial hardships, debts and bankruptcy are just as important a reality for perhaps just as large a number of us. Strange, huh? Most people wake up to financial challenges when they are already nicely at home. Like embarrassing relatives, they sit around, reminding you of bills and groceries. The good news is that with a bit of foresight and planning, most personal finance meltdowns can be kept really, really far.

The principles are simple, create a money roadmap, make your family money-literate, and understand the nature of debt. You might be half nodding your head at some, but chances are you need to start acting right away.  Read the detailed how to avoid common personal finance mistakes post at the MoneyView blog.

New, Improved, Same Old Art

Sunday mornings, up with the lark, photographing my latest crop of paintings, drinking mystic tea, and waiting for Dev to wake up and take over everything. My third set is ready to set sail. Do let me know what you think of them.

Devil King of the Sixth Heaven 2015, 8" x 10" Oil on Canvas, unmounted

Mara has been called the devil king of the sixth heaven in the teachings of Shakyamuni and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. The sixth heaven is the ultimate selfish manifestation of desire, or the Heaven of Freely Enjoying Things Conjured by Others, and its ruler delights in manipulating others to submit to his will. In my pursuit of art, it also pertains to the resistance to paint or draw or write for that matter. In Buddhism, devils indicate those functions that block or hinder people’s efforts to complete their Buddhist practice, including propagating the teachings.

Man, Child and Door 2015, 8" x 11" Oil on Canvas, unmounted

The last two years have been the most wonderful time of our lives, with each other and with the coming of Dev. It has been a time of doors - opening, closing, as our inner landscapes evolve. We have been fortunate to be able to spend all our time together over this time, and many a times, the canvas and the brush would decide that is what it wanted to become.

Self Portrait 2015, 8" x 10" Oil on Canvas, unmounted

Studying art marketing with my agent has been fun, fun, fun. It turns out Buddha faces are the easiest to sell. But then, I don't have a clue what Buddha looked like beyond the one I see every morning in the mirror.

View of Tirumala Hills 2015, 10" x 8" Oil on Canvas, board-mounted

I am an out and out Tirupati obsessive, I love the place, the energy and the healing nature all around. This time, I quickly made notes of what I was seeing and tried to paint it.

Windows Vista 2015, 8" x 11" Pencil and Ink on Paper, unmounted
My homage to the information highway, online holiday planning, the Hyderabad metro rail, and to all 50 million plus displaced people (not counting the pigeons of course) on this planet who wonder what their next step should be.

My First Virtual Flash Art Exhibition And Sale

"Then you have an artist who says he doesn't want to paint at all." ~ Mark Knopfler, In The Gallery

I have a tea business and a digital marketing business. And while I have tea and worry about how to keep my digital marketing business afloat, I write and draw. I first shared my artwork on this blog when writing about Hindi poetry bloggers, and since I didn't get any adverse comments, I thought I would put some more out. As a digital marketeer I will do what I can to sell my work using social media. Once the groundwork is over, I will carry on with my life, only to come back in 24 hours to shut shop. (Update: The exhibition was ultimately kept open for 36 hours in order to include 12 hours of Monday - from Sunday early morning to Monday evening.)

These are from the last 10 years of my journey as an art student and aspiring artist and as a social entity living in the most challenging of times. Like my writing, my painting tends to be aimed at dissecting ideas rather than achieving anything of substance. As an amateur (one who is in love with what he does as opposed to professional), I feel totally within my rights. However, I accede to my times the right to not know WTF I am talking about.

This is a flash sale. Prices do not include shipping, framing, or digital reproduction rights. Most of these works are available online for lower priced reproductions. Prices of originals apply only to this experimental sale. I will do my best to update in real time, and I promise to put out more work if and as I clear my inventory. Commission undertaken subject to availability. (Update: I sold six paintings in the 36 hours out of the 9 that I exhibited. Two of these were by family members so they don't count. One was not for sale. That makes 4 out of 8, house-half-full. Pleased and grateful.) 

More than anything else, I would like this exhibition to be the beginning of a new conversation, a new dialog, one without a discriminatory or judging tone, to discuss where art goes from where it has been over the last few very exciting decades. I invite art students, scholars and lovers to jump in. Let us find, nurture and cherish the art that should define our time.

For everyone who happened upon this post, enjoy!!

"Family" 2015, Oil on Canvas, 11" x 14" Mounted, 10,000 SOLD

"Ascetic" 2015 Oil on canvas board, 8" x 11" 40,000 SOLD

"Study for Three Treasures" 2015 Oil on canvas board 12" x 15" 10,000 SOLD

"Study for Ascetic" 2015 Oil on canvas board, 8" x 11" 5000

"Study for Queen of Arts" 1985, Ink on Paper, 8" x 11", Not for Sale

"Forest" 2011 Mixed media on cardboard, 8" x 11", unmounted, 5000 SOLD

"The raised hand/A double edged sword," 2007, Watercolor on paper, 8" x 11" unmounted, 2000

"Study for Forest" 2011 Mixed media on card, 8" x 11" unmounted, 2000 SOLD
"Self Portrait" 2011, Pencil on paper, 8" x 11", unmounted, 10,000 SOLD

An Artist's Date With Good

Every single day, for the last week, I pause at the top of the page. No, not time yet. I am referring to the things that I do outside this blog, and some of what is shaping up is really, really gratifying. Not only am I more than halfway into my 2015 targets on most fronts, I am also on my way to fulfilling a few dreams that are more than a decade old on the drawing board. But, wait, I can drop broad hints. Creative arts. Tea. Music. At a studio. Someplace nice. Soon. Out of my page now.

The fun thing about spontaneous writing is that what is most pressing tends to pop right out, whether you want it to or not, and right now – top of my mind – it is to continue exploring the question of reading, judgment, and the social responsibility of the artist. God. That is going to take a while. That is also going to be a whole lot of crib. Tea is ready. All rise.

Over the last few years, we have been actively seeking out and associating with creative communities, mostly writers, artists, filmmakers, poets. The purpose of this is to build up a network of people who will contribute to putting art back where it belongs, among the people. In the process, I am encountering various kinds of artists. Some of my encounters are extremely heartening. Some are downright shocking. Yet through it all, they are instructional. They help me understand the criticality of non-judgement, and help me accept the truth that all of us have a right to coexist meaningfully. Since I write more than draw or dance or sing, I can reflect on how I relate this with the need to judge when writing (or reading, knitting, whatever).

The world of contemporary creative writing, especially in India, is a divided one. On one hand you have the writers whose works need a footnote for every sentence. On the other, you have writers who write about irrelevant inanities and keep pinging you on the social networks to “like” their marketing pages. In between these two extremes, you have a silent majority who put out their work in journals, blogs, and self published books, much of which stands out for their mastery of the craft.

An Artist's Date With Reading

I continue to be pleased with the last two pieces (on writing and on tea), and at the same time, a little disappointed as I read them back to myself today. They did not hold up as cohesive pieces either by themselves or as a part of this series. It set out in one direction and ended up quite somewhere else. But one of the decisions I took when I started this series was to allow each work to assume its own life, to let it decide for itself what ingredients would go into its making, how long to simmer and when it was done.

What still pleases me was the fact that they got me to write about two “paradoxical” things about my life as a writer. Strangely, neither of them have anything to do with tea. I am referring to my poor publishing frequency and my absence of reading. Over the last several years, I have recommitted myself to writing, and we have slowly been blessed with a network of fellow writers. This blessing has resulted in the recognition of a few contrasts. Some of my fellow writers are terribly committed to what they believe in, much more than I am. I am happy shirking the call of writing much of the time. Most of them are extremely well read; I on the other hand have scant familiarity with contemporary writing, and it would not be entirely wrong to say that I tend to avoid it. I read what those who I trust recommend, and yes, I am often not disappointed.

Most of the writers I know frequent the company of fellow writers at conventions and literary gatherings. I, on the other hand, feel extremely out of place at such dos. I find them pretentious and self defeating. There goes any hope of being praised by my peers. The purpose of writing to me is to bring wholeness to the reader and to help him or her find the resources needed to take the leap, to make the change. This is a very personal belief, born out of how I felt reading Kafka or Dostoevsky, Celan or Brodsky and this is the belief that makes me give myself to writing.

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