Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Craze over Adult Colouring Books

A few days ago my two best friends came over and instead of chatting like we generally do, they started colouring in an adult colouring book. The next day I gave two sheets to my 7 year old daughter and her friend and they became obsessed as well. What is it about colouring that is so fascinating and addictive?
Humans have understood the power of art since time immemorial. Ancient history has been depicted through paintings on the walls. Culture and traditions have been shown through art and sculptures through the years. But art has always remained elusive to the common man.

Over the years painting, colouring and art was seen as something only really talented people could do as a profession or children would do to while away time. In this hectic world where achieving something is necessary, art for adults took a back seat to learning and earning.

In recent times art has suddenly become invaluable again with artists coming into prominence and art being sold for millions all over the world. And a seed was planted of could we ordinary people become a part of this great art world? But who had the time and energy to paint, or make art? And even if we did, where could we start? Not all of us have great imagination. And a blank piece of paper is daunting and overwhelming.

So when in 2015 Johanna Basford, Scottish illustrator and “ink evangelist” released The Secret Garden, and Enchanted Forest, colouring books with intricate patterns of birds, foliage and a treasure hunt, suddenly people realised that maybe they could be a part of this art as well.

It sold 1.4 million copies and replaced a fiction novel as the number one best seller. Since then many more colouring books emerged and flew off the book shelves as well. Sonal Gandhi Head of Merchandising and Buying for Crossword book stores says, “Sales of these colouring books is catching on in India as well, though a bit late for our market as any such trend takes a while to catch on in our market. Publishers were not prepared for this wild fire tend/ sales. We are seeing weekly growth of 20-25%. It is here to stay.” 

Suddenly colouring has become a fad. Colouring in to these intricate patterns not only resulted in a beautiful art form that one could hang on walls and be proud of, but what emerged was that people wanted to do it regularly and consistently because of how they felt while colouring.

Milu Chitrakar Gupta, photographer and housewife has been addicted to the Mandala colouring book, reaching out for it whenever she gets the time. “I find it calming and it takes my mind away from the stress of dealing with maids, cooking, and general life.”

Prerna Fogat, working woman and single mother said she didn’t have time for colouring but when she sat down with a colouring sheet she couldn’t stop. “It’s completely addictive.”

So why are hordes of people joining colouring groups and buying dozens of books?
Vivek Tejuja, Manager Content for Flipkart says, “I think it is because it eases people. It doesn't demand much like a novel would have. I think it helps relax people.” 
Sonal Gandhi of Crossword Bookstores says, “The factors that are driving the sales of Adult Colouring Books are Fun, Nostalgia, Relaxation and Creativity. It’s a new way to relax one’s mind in their crazy schedules. People are always scouting for new things to do and are rather bored of usual suspects like movies and shopping. Or smart phones or tabs etc.”

Joel Pearson senior lecturer at UNSW in the school of psychology, USA says, “When colouring-in you look at the colours and spaces occupying those parts of your brain that might normally be involved in anxiety”.
“There seems to be a greater drop in self-reported anxiety for colouring-in mandalas and patterns compared to just drawing colour on a blank page,” he asserts.
But the American Psychological Association have no claims that colouring helps in being mindful, meditative or spiritual.
Supriya Nair, Clinical Psychologist and Founder of AscendPsychology says, “There is no evidence of catharsis, closure or restructure from this colouring art therapy. Art therapy is not going to help in long term effects of the person.”
She believes that even going out to meet a friend, shopping or a spa for the time it is done can be calming and fun. Art therapy needs to be guided by a therapist. The colouring books are not lab tested. There is no validation for the claim that it is in any way spiritual or meditative.
Therapy is defined as something done by a professional to a person who is suffering to give them better understanding, find closure, offer structure or relieve the core issues that are affecting their daily life. Supriya believes that colouring cannot do that. It actually might hinder the process or delay it. “You can be calmer sitting next to a river as well,” She claims.
“If someone is colouring and thinks they’ve resolved their issues, it might actually delay them from seeking help and might worsen cases of depression, anxiety, relationship issues, etc. Colouring cannot help change the neuro pathways of abrasive personalities and aggressive behaviour.”
However, people have shown developing virtues such as patience, attentiveness to detail, and receptivity to truth after they colour for long periods. But is it because of the colouring or the fact that they’ve made up their mind this is what the result should be and hence believe so when they’re done?
Vivek Tejuja says “I honestly believe that colouring books will not stay for long. It is a fad which might last for another year or so.” Ultimately every fad wears off and people will return to novels or find a new wave they would like to talk about and be a part of.
For now, colouring in these books might be the common’s man’s cheap therapy and it is important to bring mindfulness and spirituality into everyone’s life. If the colouring makes you believe that’s how you will achieve it, then by all means please pick up those colouring pencils. However if there are deep issues which unsettle you even after you’ve finished colouring, see a professional about your problems without delay. Colouring is a reasonable way of diverting your mind for some time but the mind is powerful enough to bring you back to your problems that will need to be dealt with at the core level. And that needs long term solutions.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

10 Things Every Woman Should Know By 30

1.      Why You Don’t Need To Please Everyone - We’ve grown up hearing “Be nice to people.” We’ve been taught to keep our tongues in check and be polite to elders. This has led many women to be apologetic for their thoughts and a nature to please everyone, be it friends, family or co-workers. We can’t say NO. And we never disagree, thinking people won’t like us anymore. So what if they don’t like us? We don’t need to be rude but we can say what we feel like and sometimes it’s important to do things for ourselves. Realise what you want to do with your time and life and stop pleasing everyone at the cost of it.  

2.      When to Walk Away From Men Who Are Not into You - Some men want you, then they don’t, then they want you again. OMG. The constant back and forth of mind games that you’ll play with men and analyse every little thing they say and how you feel will leave you exhausted. We women over think relationships. Just because we see “potential” in a man doesn’t mean we give away our months, years and life to a relationship that isn’t giving us what we want. Walk away when you feel you’ve given enough to the relationship or give it a deadline. Believe me, there are plenty of good men in this world who will cherish you.

3.      That You Need to Speak to Your Family Often - You think your parents, grandparents and siblings may live forever but they won’t. The conflicts and misunderstandings you have with them should be finally put to rest. Understand that there are generation gaps, communication gaps, and cultural gaps that every family has. Every one you love may not understand you. But you can make an effort to love and understand them. When you start accepting them for who they are, they’ll start doing the same too. This is an ongoing process you need to do on a regular basis instead of thinking you tried once and it didn’t work. Make more effort.

4.      Have Your Own Bank Account and Save 1/3rd – Most women will get a job and start spending all their money or give it to their parents to handle. Start having a grip about your own finances. Open an account and start putting money in there. Speak to a chartered accountant or banker who can advise you about savings and mutual funds for the long run. You might think you’ll earn enough and can save later but with a volatile market and risky employment in today’s times, you can find yourself out of a job at any time. That’s when you’ll need savings. If you’re getting married, always remember to open your own account. Set the precedent from the beginning or even if you’ve been married for some time, open an account for yourself. Even if your husband asks “what is the need” and you want to keep peace and please him, still open one. You’ll thank yourself later.

5.      Travel is Important – Book your tickets and dates well in advance so you can save money and travel solo or with your partner or family wherever you can. Travel is an important part of getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing new cultures, food, and life. It brings perspective and makes you realise who you are. You don’t always have to travel internationally. There are magnificent places in India that are cheaper that you must have on your bucket list.

6.      It’s Better to Be Safe than Sorry with Fashion – If you’re not comfortable wearing something, don’t push your body into doing so because it’s in fashion or from peer pressure. You’ll stand out for being yourself. Instead of having malfunctioning wardrobes and shoe bites, you’ll have the time to think about what you want from life, instead of what people think about you! One of the richest men in the world Mark Zuckerberg only wears grey shirts and jeans because he believes that he can’t waste his grey cells on deciding what to wear since he has other important things to think about!  

7.      Building Yourself – Make a CV. What all have you done with your life? What more do you want to do? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What are you doing today to achieve that? Even if you just want to get married and have children, do enough to tell those stories later! Learn something new. Take up a course. Teach children. Help the elderly. Manage an event. Take up an adventure sport. Read a book a week. Pick up the Time magazine and read about international affairs. Friends will come and go in your life but what you do and who you become lies solely in the time you invest in yourself now.

8.      What Your Body, Skin & Soul Needs– Always use sunblock before you leave the house and remove your make up after a party no matter how tired you are. Maintain proper hygiene at all times. Get proper gynaecologist check-ups done once a year. Your body is going through a hormonal change and you need to understand and get treated regularly before it becomes a major problem! Get a massage done once in a while to pamper yourself. Spend time alone. Reflect. Introspect. Meditate. The balance you achieve now will help you deal with many issues later.

9.      How to Eat Right & Work It Out – Have a proper breakfast. Every day! Watch what you’re eating through the day. Don’t starve yourself. And don’t over eat because you’re ravenous. Choose your food and drinks wisely. It shows on your skin and your body. No amount of makeup can hide it. Even if you have a great metabolism and can burn everything, your internal organs will start deteriorating with too much fat and alcohol. Drink enough water. Work out regularly. Take the stairs if possible. Walk in the mornings for half an hour if not more every day. Do yoga, Zumba, pilates, boxing, anything that keeps you active. It’s not just to have a great body which you will, it will make your mind stronger too.

10.   Owning Your Sex Life – You don’t need to sleep with a man on the first date or even the third. You don’t need to have sex because you’re lonely or depressed or drunk. You don’t need to get back with your ex because he’s comfortable. You don’t need to get on dating apps because you feel “re-virginised.” By 30 you need to own your body and sex life. You can choose to say no or yes to a man as long as it empowers you. 

Reserved for One: A poem

We don't trust enough We don't pour out our hearts  Telling all our secrets, our fears and surrendering to each other. Comple...