METRO PLUS

`Live life to the fullest'

One of India's biggest industrialist families, the Birlas are a household name in India today. Yet, Yash and Avanti Birla are known more for their flamboyant lifestyle than for the causes they believe in. In Hyderabad to support their mobile art show, Yash and Avanti reveal their spiritual side when they say that they lead a `pure and simple life.' Renuka Vijay Kumar finds out more in a Take Two. Yash: I'm very passionate about spirituality. Let's take art as a base. I think art somewhere has a link to spirituality. The kind of art I like is basically something that inspires me spiritually. It gives me a vibrancy, it makes me happy. The spiritual feeling is basically of happiness. It gets that intense. Avanti: Anything that makes you happy can be spiritual. Yash: Yes, anything that makes you feel happy. And art also has to relate to that, at least for my personal collection. Any art that I would like to keep in my house should not be dull, morose or depressing. It should make me feel happy. Avanti: For me art is a bit more different than what Yash perceives. For him everything is connected to spirituality. About six years ago, he had developed a passion for collecting art from the old Bengal school and everything he bought was connected to one spiritual story or another. He keeps going through these phases. But I don't. For me, they are all beautiful, but I also see art as a contemporary form. It's not necessary that it has to be aesthetically beautiful, but to me it's the artist's vision. It could be something abstract and yet be beautiful. Yash: But the idea of this moving art show, which is our first, is to encourage young artists. The idea of art is maturing in many cities and that's why we are here - to give it a global perspective and a corporate identity. According to people's response and perspectives and our observations, we will decide on a couple of locations in the next year where we will open galleries.We both have a difference of opinion sometimes on art and spiritual matters. But, I don't think Iwill put something in my house that she doesn't like, and she won't do it either. But if she likes it and I don't really dislike it then she gets her way. If I like it and she doesn't really hate it, then I get to keep it.I'm not personally involved with anything artistic, but everything I do is spiritual. My work is also connected to spirituality in the sense that whatever you do, you do it with dedication and for a higher purpose not only for some gain. It's very good to be ambitious, but you should never forget the higher purpose for working. For society, for the people, for your family, for the country, don't compromise on that - that's spirituality. Everything in life is spiritual - marriage, relationships, parenthood. Avanti: Yes, we try and we always keep trying . It's not like, okay, we have reached this platform and now we are happy. Everyday we are striving to be better parents. I am passionate about spirituality, but Yash is spiritual in a different way. He is more into the gyaan-saadhna, more the knowledge of it. I'm a Krishna devotee, so for me, it's more the love for Krishna. Yash: We don't have to balance anything in life. Everything is diverse in life, the world is about diversity. You have to live your life to its fullest but never forget the essence, that divinity that exists everywhere because the same fast paced life we live in is created by god, but you must know how to discriminate. You must know how to carry your morals and virtues wherever you go. Even if we go out, we lead a pure life. We don't drink, smoke, eat non-vegetarian food. As long as you respect God and yourself, you don't need to compartmentalise life as fast paced or not.