She walks around with a hunch, almost like an elderly person. When I first met her, she was dressed in a bright blue kurta, half-tucked in a pair of green shorts, accessorized with big feather earrings and a chiffon dupatta half wrapped around her hair bun and half twisted around her sharp shoulders.
Ayushi Negi arrived in Delhi about six years ago to pursue a course in Life Sciences. Why study life sciences, I once asked her. She said - “because it has ‘Life’ in its name.”
A 27-year-old artist from the picturesque Solan valley in Himachal Pradesh, Ayushi left her mother and a sister behind to understand life and art. Her father passed away when she had barely started making friends at school. Her mother raised Ayushi and her sister almost singlehandedly, amid the constant bickering between relatives over wealth and property.
The eccentricities of her paintings, intricately sketched and always colorful, often consume her mind with ideas, thoughts and sorrow. There have been numerous days when she has talked of giving up. But Ayushi’s heart has an abundant reserve of light to get her through these phases. "My mother inspires me to live," she told me once. And despite various academic and personal setbacks, she strives forth to carve out her own individual space through her art. She has won numerous accolades for her theatrical performances as well as her paintings.
It is difficult for her to ensure financial stability for herself and her family through her artwork. She has taken up law in an attempt to satisfy her mother’s aspirations. “Maybe I’ll become a judge or a politician. Designations matter in small towns like ours. Once I build up a name for myself, I will get back my father’s property from the relatives who snatched it away from us,” says Ayushi, burning with newfound enthusiasm.