Different strokes for India’s badminton stars
Without the non-stop travel, tournaments and practice sessions during the pandemic-enforced break, PV SIndhu finally has found the time to relax, unwind and most significantly, get reacquainted with the brush.Updated: Aug 04, 2020 08:00 IST
The deft touch of a great badminton player is often compared to the delicate handling of a brush in the hands of an artist. Indian badminton has always had plenty of these artists —metaphorically and now literally as well. Take PV Sindhu, for example. This is the longest the world No 7 has stayed at home ever since she turned professional. Without the non-stop travel, tournaments and practice sessions during the pandemic-enforced break, she finally has found the time to relax, unwind and most significantly, get reacquainted with the brush.
While the early part of the lockdown was spent binging on Netflix, of late the reigning badminton world champion has found new creative interests in cooking and baking to name a few. But the new skill she is most happy about? Painting, of course. “I started painting for fun during the lockdown. I used to really like drawing when I was younger and would do it in my diaries,” said the 25-year-old from Hyderabad. “So, I thought I will try one on canvas using acrylic colours because I had never done it before and it turned out to be so exciting. I feel so nice and happy while doing it. I really enjoy it and have already done nine so far.”
Among India’s shuttlers, Sindhu is far from the only one to have found solace in art during the pandemic. Ajay Jayaram, Chirag Shetty, Aditya Joshi, Sanjana Santosh, Kuhoo Garg, Kaushal Dharmamer are some of the others who have done the same. But some like Jayaram have excelled at it.
“It is relaxing, a stress buster. It takes you to a meditative space. I really like my focus going entirely into that one thing where you keep working to correct things,” says the 32-year-old Jayaram.
“The whole process is enjoyable and when you finish and see it has come out as you’d pictured, you kind of get a high.”
Jayaram is well known on the circuit for his work on the canvas, regularly displaying his skills on social media. It all started in 2016 when he rekindled his teenage flair for drawing, in turn catching the attention of family and friends who spurred him on to keep at it.
“I used to like drawing. In 2008 I had drawn a portrait of my niece but drifted away from it. Eight years later my niece showed me that portrait and when I looked at it, I realised I had forgotten that I had a skill,” says Jayaram, who trains with Anup Sridhar in Bengaluru. “Plus, I was in a phase of life where I wanted to invest a certain amount of free time into something more productive.”
The former world No 13 started by sketching his favourite actor, Jack Nicholson. It turned out to be “really accurate” in his own words, and he has been regularly refining his sketching skills since. But Jayaram never took to painting until towards the end of last year and became regular at it, especially during the lockdown.
“After a point, I felt I should get a bit more into it and try painting and play with colours because I was always obsessed with black and white,” he says. Jayaram has been painting both on wood and canvas and specialises in portraits, exploring, experimenting and learning new nuances and variations and has completed seven paintings during the untimely break.
It has inspired him to also follow many painters on social media, some of whom have even been impressed enough to reach out to him.
“I like to capture emotions, work on certain details of the face; that really intrigues me. If you get even one aspect or proportion wrong, the entire thing goes for a toss. So I really like that challenge,” says Jayaram.
Shetty may not be as skilful with the brush as Jayaram, but that hasn’t stopped him from giving the art form a go. In admiration of painters and always fascinated by art, the world No.10 men’s doubles specialist always wanted to paint but never got the time to take it up until recently.
“I started with poster colours on paper and gradually moved to acrylic on canvas. Since I am not a trained artist, I follow YouTube videos. I started with a 10x10 inch canvas, now I have graduated to 15x15,” says Shetty. “While earlier I was into sceneries, nowadays I am doing abstract painting. Now even if things get back to normal, I will continue to paint on my off days for sure.”
The 23-year-old from Mumbai is exploring acrylic pouring (a fluid painting technique), composition of colours, floetrol (a latex paint additive) and different kinds of brushes.
“I used to think that one brush is enough (laughs). Once you get to know what painting really is, you figure out different brushes for different types of paintings. Now I have many kinds of brushes and even palette knives,” says Shetty, who reached three finals last year with partner Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, the pair winning two of them.
Asked if he has inspired Rankireddy to paint, Shetty laughs and says: “Not at all. I don’t think he’d like to paint. He only likes (videogame) PUBG.”