Art is a powerful medium that does capture our interest, imagination and ability to transform what we feel on the things around us. This is an interesting story of a mum who truly adores her daughter. Based in United States, this mum reached out to us if we would feature her story.
Yes it has been lovely knowing Binu and her incredibly talented daughter Meghana who loves sketching and painting. Binu, originally from Kerala shares how challenging it can be for a parent if the child is extremely talented in one arena. The ability to recognize the talent and nurture it calls for a skill and passion from the parent among other factors.
Binu Gopinathan shares with Mums and Stories “ I am originally from Kerala India, married and settled in the United States for nearly two decades. Right now, I work as a part-time after-school instructor teaching Math and reading. But it was my willful decision to be a wholesome mother for my daughter, after her birth. I do have Bachelors degree from Kerala University and being by her side day in and out is what keeps me largely occupied. Today I’m extremely happy, to say that I made the right decision, with no regrets.
Meghana Basi, our only child just turned 15 years old recently and she is an accomplished artist/student, going to grade 10.
This is her story, more than mine and I’ve tried to woven the threads together!
Becoming a mother is the greatest gift, and if your child has a gifted talent, then it’s like icing on the cake! But wait; initially it was never a bed of roses! Sometimes, gifted kids are challenging, and there is a revolting task to identify their gifted nature that can be nurtured.
(Binu with her daughter Meghana. Photograph subject to copyright).
Since Meghana Basi (also called Meghan) is my only child, my world obviously revolves around her 24/7. And here starts my story entangled with my daughter’s, right from recognizing her supreme talent to nurturing her special dreams and celebrating her accomplishments as she continues to grow.
Referring to kids with high intelligence, we use a wide range of terms such as genius, prodigy, or gifted. And that could be in various fields, like academics, art, music, sports and the list goes on and on. My daughter started to show her artistic talent at the age of three, while she was painting a combination of vibrant flowers incorporated with intricate designs.
At that age there is hardly, enough balance to concentrate and focus for even few seconds. But I watched her, sit on the floor for an hour going at with the colors and her brush, paper by paper. I witnessed the profound wisdom hidden in those works, gradually coming to know that my child has an artistic intelligence, obviously for that reason, she is creatively gifted. But this path had soon lead her as a puzzle to her teachers.
I vividly remember, the sleepless night right after her second-grade parent teacher conference,one of her teachers expressed her affection and likeliness for the cute gentle Meghana, my daughter was, but at the same time, she shared her apprehension. At times, she felt Meghana’s brain was unable to process information, like as if something was blocking her brain, “she is unable to answer the basics a 7, 6-year-old is supposed to know”.
What was more puzzling/confusing for the teacher, was her sporadic whimsical ways, Meghana spoke or answered on and off, just like a teenager or an adult, with unimaginable knowledge that she couldn’t even comprehend. It was the beginning of Meghana’s calm tantrums that put her teachers under a confused spell, making them scratch their heads. The mother in me traced me into her intellectuality, hidden inside her creative spell. Still her teacher’s words were banging in my head, with her endless confusion, indirectly causing me feeling of restlessness.
However Meghana has been an accommodative and sweet child since she was a toddler, all the way up to middle school. She was so kind she would let anyone surpass her way even with the most dreadful nerves. I as a mother would get so flustered up with anger and become defensive to protect my daughter like any mother would do, like a lioness’s natural instinct towards her cub. I knew I couldn’t always be with her to defend her from all kinds of negative aspects through the world. The mother in me wished to steal her away from all the ethos of this callous world and keep her in a heaven full of joyful emotions.
I knew it wasn’t possible forever, so I wanted her to learn to stand up for herself when there is no one to protect her. Strangely enough, I realized Meghana’s mind was so pure/raw and strong, that nothing negative could ever surpass through her brain of cluster-full flowers beyond a limit. She was so strong internally and externally, with a thick cushion of patience, that she never gave a heck of a world to even care about it. Unfortunately, it took me awhile to realize this.
Her childhood, craved for friendships and friends of her TYPE, was in a constant lookout for a true companion who understood her emotions and feelings, but hardly could she have found one so. She realized the real America of all races is superficial, and she started making need-based buddies and acquaintances over real friends. No one got connected by heart, everyone was in a race to beat the other!
As a mother, I tried to become her parent, friend, companion, and much more than a mother-daughter bonding. No sooner, I realized, she embraced her love of paints, brushes and canvases as her best and truest companions, venting out all her emotions within her and splattering it all throughout the canvas. The more she drew, the more she bonded from her spiritual self from within! The mother in me was overjoyed and relieved.
By age 8, her magnificent creations started flooding our entire house, on papers, canvases, walls, basements, and what not, a load bearing monument. She had created mesmerizing works, I finally realized, she was born to paint! She asked for larger canvases, and created unimaginable works of relentless power, with her innate intuitive mind. I realized, it’s time to show the world, her supreme talent!
At age 12, on Nov 8th, 2015, she did her first solo exhibit in New England (a region located in the northeastern corner of the USA comprising of 6 states) and the rest is history. She sold several of her works along with tons of praise, inspiration, blessings, and most importantly the frequent disbelief in the eyes of the onlookers which she valued the most. Shortly several, American and Indian Organizations noticed our 12-yr. old startling talent, and partnered up with her, where they gave her the platform and she shared her sold works profits for numerous causes. ”
(The Formidable Apple by Meghana Basi. -Description: The apple is the powerful/fearful goal we humans set to achieve! Achieving that ‘formidable goal’ is a task and most of us stumble upon. Done in 2017.
Binu further shares on the progress, ” Galleries started inviting my Meghana for shows, and curators had eyes glaring up in awe, when she entered several juried exhibits meant for adult established artists, winning prizes. Hereafter she started a winning saga, winning regional, national and international art contests. Behind the stage, the mother in me, slipped into being her very own personal secretary, she being too young to handle.”, she smiles.
(THE MASK: Description: This is Meghana’s first painting in sarcastic surrealism aiming today’s society. Do we all wear a ‘MASK’? Yes, we do, and beneath that facade is our TRUE SELF, which we ourselves fail to recognize. Done in 2018 at the age of 14 years.)
Binu further explains rewinding to the journey of her daughter until now, ” Her elementary public school was not a big deal, though they failed to see or some deliberately, the exceptional spark in her. But middle school’s journey became a hassle day in and out! There was silent call of bullying, name mockery, harsh and rash human behavior, from peers and in fact even teachers.
Unfortunately, that’s quite common in most public schools, and it is not much of a big deal for every other kid. She being internally very strong, still faltered at times, her creative psyche yearned for softer emotions. She somehow, tactically guided herself just like a lotus flower not ever getting tainted by the dirt, with her calm, composed demeanor. She shared her artistic eagerness, all her worries and apprehensions with us, her parents, who meant the WORLD to her. Similarly, uplifting was her art admirer’s love and unconditional support which gave her enormous strength and power amidst her bumpy middle school days.
Her life changed, in a snapshot, getting recognized locally, and the huge turning point was when she got admitted into the number one Art School (private school) for High School, and that was a dream come true for her. Lately, when the US congress recognized her latest science related art, with Special Congressional Recognition, she became even more humble and down to earth towards the people around her, her natural instinct.
Now, what’s special about our relationship is that we can share anything with each other cause of the comfort we feel with one another, just like peanut butter to jelly, we go together for just about anything. Our daily squabbles are just another way of expressing our love for one another. My daughter recently turned 15. I’m so proud of her for so much she has achieved till this date, and I know she has the capability to do so much more. As a mother, she has helped me grow along with her! I’m lucky to have experienced all these joys, in its purest forms, and I’m glad, God has chosen me as the special mother of a one of a kind kid. Likewise, I realized in this nurturing journey, every child is her own mother’s beautiful dream.”
Mums and Stories would like to thank Binu for sharing this interesting journey of the talented daughter-artist and we wish Meghana achieves greater heights in life that her parents can be proud of. Featured image is another painting by Meghana aptly titled Motherhood, which she says, ” I have shown a mother’s eye- a window to her soul, where motherly love is undoubtedly visible. I’ve compared a Mother to nature-A Giving Mother Tree. However, motherhood experiences both despair (night time with stars) and HOPE (sun’s ray is the rising hope). My attempt through this painting is to give pure JOY, HOPE and INSPIRATION to all MOTHERS, specially to those concerned mothers of YWCA FINA HOUSE for whom this painting is originally created for. 48″x60″ on canvas, with acrylics and mixed media, done in 2017.
(This is a video done by Meghana much before the final art work of depicting Motherhood artwork).
"Hope for Motherhood"! A vague video sketch of her approaching charity work dedicated to the Fina house. This delightful theme occupied her mind for a while, ever since she got invited to the Fina House for a visit. Her sketch is approved by Susan McNeff, Marketing Director of Fina House, which she vows to turn into one of her greatest work of art ever (since this is for the community intended to give Joy, Hope and Meaning to the lives of those mothers and kids) in a 48×60 inch canvas shortly. She’s honored and humbled, and believes she can heal their hearts with her Art and Soul!
Posted by Binu Gopinathan on Saturday, 3 December 2016
One can find more of Meghana’s work – here
(All photographs are subject to copyright),