Category Archives: Reflections

Oct 4, 2015: New Frontiers


This mandala is important for many reasons. Didn’t think I’d like coloring it but I did. Very happy with the process and the end result. Started with markers and then successfully used the watercolor pencils yippy! 🙂 Hence, titled ‘New Frontiers’. The uncolored ‘ugly duckling’-looking pic transformed into something that makes me very happy. Faber-Castell, I love thee so much!

Oct 3, 2015: Potential


As I was coloring this mandala, I thought of two situations. There are times when people with great potential are restricted by their environment that constricts further development of their potential. I remember a girl from my class. We were in grade 10 and our teacher was discussing various career options with us. This girl wanted to become a nurse. She was all excited when the teacher said she’ll help get admission info for her. However, the next day we found her excitement gone. The reason? Her family, a conservative one, did not want her to become a nurse as they did not find this profession appropriate for her. It was sad to see her potential and aspiration snubbed like this.

But there is still hope. Why? Because there are examples of people who, despite being in a challenging environment, are able to realize their full potential. The sharp, pointed borders can no longer limit them as they blossom! These people grow despite the limitations imposed on them and, in doing so, also become role models for others.

Broken Links


Sometimes, we cannot break some links. Even though we try to break them, they just stay connected.. a part of these links does stay connected. Then there are some links that are connected but still broken. Doesn’t matter how much you try to keep them together; they just break away. Links are interconnected. One link can connect or break other links. Some look colorful while others look grim. Some bring joy to you while others sap your energy leaving you exhausted. Choose carefully, we should.

Dec 28, 2014 (08:25PM): Knowledge Transfer


Must admit that this was not one that I was looking forward to color. Just didn’t find it interesting. However, when I started it, it made me think of ‘knowledge transfer’. It is not only to-down but also bottom-up. Also, the knowledge takes different colors as it transfers from one person to the other, creating new knowledge.

Dec 14, 2014 (10:50AM): Mayajaal


This one I enjoyed a lot. The innermost section I colored taking the inspiration from my 5 year old neighbor’s technique. Moving outward, I colored each section of the web. In those days, I was reading Chetan Bhagat‘s novel Half Girlfriend. The novel had one of the characters referring to the other as casting a mayajaal on their son. While coloring this mandala, I remembered this part from the novel. From there onward, the boring and tedious-looking mandala became an interesting one! I colored the web in vibrant colors, and decided to go outside the mandala and use the blank page to add more depth to this mandala – by coloring the page in ‘black’! To me, this took the mandala to a whole new level. It now has a story (of mayajaal – colorful, enticing, and yet dangerous), a perfect title, and the memory of a book that I enjoyed reading.

Dec 11, 2014 (08:21PM): Heartwork


My  inspiration for the shades outside the mandala came from my neighbor’s 5 year old daughter. She and I color our mandalas together. I am amazed by her natural talent for color combinations. Her colors come out really vibrant which I love. I have thought about it and I think the beauty of her work comes from her inhibition and lack of preconceived notions about how to color, which color combinations to select, where to color (e.g. within lines), etc. I, on the other hand, am all about following the rules. But I am trying to rewrite them 🙂

The name for this mandala comes from heARTwork – a project and brand from NOWPDP. Network of Organizations Working for People with Disabilities, Pakistan (NOWPDP) was founded with the vision to promote the creation of an inclusive society which values and upholds the rights of people with disabilities. It aims to provide a common platform for all disability organizations in Pakistan to come together and bring about change with impact.

heARTwork is one of the initiatives of NOWPDP. The heARTwork mission is to empower people with disabilities through promotion of their craftsmanship, thereby making them valued members of society. The project manager, Tabinda Baig, is a passionate young lady whose team of differently-abled individuals is like a family to her. I met her in a meeting, and got inspired by her passion and her team’s beautiful craft work. Check out more details about the team and the project at The beautiful craft work from heARTwork can be found at



Nov 28, 2014 (11:15PM): Fiery Eyes


This one reminds me of my visit to Uganda back in early 2008. The hotel we stayed in had the decor designed by a local artist. This mandala and the earthy light brown tone made me remember his work, the beautiful country, the memorable time I spent there, and the friends I made on the journey.

Jul 30, 2014 (05:17PM): Breathe Slowly


This one was a surprise for me in more than one way. Firstly, I tried a shade which I have rarely used. I used to think it was a useless color. My bad. It was surprisingly good and hence covers most of the mandala. Secondly, this mandala took more time than I had expected. I started it on Jul 27th and ended on Jul 30th. Thirdly, the overall African feel was completely unintended. Reminds me of my visit to Uganda back  in 2008. While I was coloring this mandala, a phrase from a very famous Urdu verse by Mir Taqi Mir kept popping up in my mind “le saans bhi aahista..” or breathe slowly.. breathe slowly as you color this mandala.. breathe slowly as the lion may hear you..breathe..slowly.. Jul 30, 2014 (05:17PM): Breathe Slowly slowly that you even forget the ‘e’ in breathe!