If there is one universal goal, it is to be successful. Being creative is a close second. In fact, being creative is probably the biggest challenge on the path to becoming successful. Every single person in their lifetime has struggled with discovering their creative streak—a child struggles to be creative with expression, an adult, especially in this competition-driven world, struggles to be creative to stand out, to establish a unique identity of their own.
But what does being creative really entail? Author Reshma Budhia seems to have decoded this long-standing mystery in the simplest of words in her new book 'I Am'. At the centre of her narrative is a heartwarming and sweet tale of a young boy who struggles with discovering his creative streak while trying to make a beautiful gift for his art teacher, and for this, he seeks his friend’s help, who pushes him to look within. In a few simple steps, the boys unravel the art of being creative.
They dive deep into what adults popularly describe as a brainstorming session—“Tell me about her hobbies”, “What does she do in her free time?”, “You told me she gardens, tell me about that” are among the numerous pointers that the two friends explore, finally breaking down the teacher’s personality into four broad areas —KNOW, FEEL, THINK, and DO. She knows art, papercraft and gardening; she feels that sky’s the limit and everyone must strive to be original; she thinks inspiration can be found everywhere; and she does photography and gardening.
The great thing about this process is that it is universally applicable, across age groups and professions. But if creativity is this easy, then what is the whole struggle about? Budhia answers that too. It is often a lack of belief in one’s ability and the self-deprecating nature of people that prevents them from unleashing their creative selves in all its glory.
After a long session of ideation and hours of ruling out several options—a hand-printed belt, a paper machier plant wall, a handmade camera pouch and a tray for seeds––the boys finally lock in on the perfect gift: a beautiful hand painted miniature garden in a glass jar! Impressed by the creation, the friend says, “You are so creative. I wish I was too.” It is this sentiment that the author plays with and rightfully so. This is after all the deepest desire of one and all. To make her point, Budhia spins the narrative, now around the friend, without whose contribution the gift wouldn’t have been possible.
She expands the definition of creativity beyond the realms of art, which continues to be taboo. Art is of course creativity, but so is problem-solving, ideating, empathising, and most importantly to keep trying. The story is enriched by illustrations, perhaps with the idea to keep the young ones engaged, but it is a keepsake for grown-ups alike.
By: Reshma Budhia
Publisher: Paper Towns
Price: Rs 1199