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When battles are won over body, mind

A tragic accident did not weaken Rashmi Singh’s will but she only emerged stronger

April 21, 2014 11:54 am | Updated May 21, 2016 12:36 pm IST - New Delhi

Artworks by Rashmi Singh displayed during an exhibition at Alliance Francaise in New Delhi.

Artworks by Rashmi Singh displayed during an exhibition at Alliance Francaise in New Delhi.

Hold fast to dreams,

For if dreams die,

Life is a broken-winged bird,

That cannot fly

— Revolutionary American poet and social activist Langston Hughes

These words aptly describe Rashmi Singh. For she was written off by the doctors when she, along with her mother, an aunt and a driver, met with an accident in 2003 at Jaipur. But she lived on to fulfil her dreams.

While two of them succumbed to their injuries and one was crippled for life, Rashmi survived out of her sheer will power. Delhi-based Rashmi today is a practicing criminal lawyer and an artist.

Rashmi, now 48 and a mother of two, had gone to attend a marriage with her family members when their car met with an accident. The car flipped thrice and Rashmi ended up with multiple fractures and damage to her brain.

While she remained restricted to bed for a long time, she battled anger and depression and found solace in art. Having even forgotten alphabets due to injuries to her brain, lying on the bed with retrograde amnesia, she started drawing some lines and picking up letters all over again.

Soon her past experience with her maternal uncles — famous sculptors Purshottam Singh and Kamleshwar of Rajasthan who taught her the finer nuances of image making in her childhood days — and her sessions with artists at Dilli Haat from whom she learnt artistic detailing, Rashmi started regaining her memory.

What had hit her most was her doctor’s statement that she would never be able to walk again. “His confidence was insulting. I decided to prove him wrong,” Rashmi said. She recounted how by starting with a walker, climbing and descending stairs she finally took to gardening to soothe her nerves.

Considering herself God’s “pet dog”, she began talking about God through her works in original Tanjore style — the love of Radha and Krishna, their meeting points with beautiful flora and fauna denoting an ecological balance; Maa Tara as a symbol of protection and warmth; Buddha and his creased face signifying even he is not spared of grief.

Rashmi did not stop with art. She also studied law and became a lawyer only to fight some personal cases and went on to win all. Now, she also works in a private firm as a criminal law adviser.

Apart from beautician Shahnaz Husain, her mother has been her source of inspiration. “My mother used to do conduct many programmes on women empowerment on All India Radio.”

She also credits her daughter Ananya as her angel, who served her “when no one could” and her husband, who would shuttle from one posting (as an IRS officer) to another and yet come to serve her whenever he could, she said.

Now, a veteran with 24 group shows and four solos, she paints gods from various religions in original Tanjore style, designs them with real stones, backs them with meenakari work, then entwines and frames them with real gold.

“I don’t know where my journey will end. If God has chosen me for more tests, I am ready,” said Rashmi, who recently held her fourth solo show “Ayati” at Alliance Francaise here.

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