Samir Mondal is one of the country's most talented and successful watercolour artists, highly regarded in art circles. He comes from Balti, a small West Bengal village and he studied at the Government Art College, Calcutta. Mondal has held solo shows in India and abroad and even celebrated 25 years of exhibiting watercolours. During his career, he has won several prestigious awards and some of his widely appreciated paintings are The Performer, The War and the Butterflies, Women in Nature, Shelter and Alisha.
Madhumita, who gave up painting after marriage, has been the main driving force behind Samir. The couple have two children, Somok and Jhinuk. Madhumita enjoys spending time with her family and also assists her husband in his work.
SAMIR ON MADHUMITA
I was staying at my uncle's house in North Calcutta, when I first met Madhumita, who happened to be my cousin's best friend. I was studying in the Government Art College then and everyone who knew us thought we'd make a good pair. They fixed things so that one day she came to our place for a casual meeting. She had no clue about the real purpose of the visit and I took the opportunity to ask her about her hobbies and other interests. I was quite surprised to know that she took great interest in rifle-shooting and painting. During the course of the evening, I discovered that we had quite a lot in common and I later informed my parents about it. It was then that they got into the act and we finally tied the knot in 1980.
Today, my wife is my biggest critic and assistant. Whenever I conceptualise something, I seek her opinion about the colours to use and the technique to follow. Since she's also a trained artist, I depend a lot on her inputs. Though she gave up painting after our two kids were born, now she's taken it up again because our children are grown up. What I like in my wife is her innocence and her individualistic streak. Though there's an eight-year age difference between us, yet she is my 'better half' in the true sense of the term as she's the one with the virtues.
We have been together for 25 years but I still have nothing to complain about. Though we both have heated arguments and fights occasionally, those are inevitable in any relationship. She's extremely caring and has single-handedly managed our home. I remember, like all bachelors, I had this habit of returning home very late at night before I got married. Since I was studying in art college then, most of my time was spent with my friends. After marriage when we shifted to Bangalore, that habit remained. Once I got very late and didn't get any transportation back home. I returned home next morning only to find her tense and worried after spending a sleepless night.
Another striking quality in her is that she's very accommodating and understanding. Wherever I go, I like to take her with me because I feel completely lost without her. Both of us have similar likes and dislikes and love to travel a lot, especially to hill-stations. I recently had a group show in Pune where I took my wife and daughter along for a perfect weekend. Madhumita is also my unofficial secretary and takes care of my wardrobe and all my dates.
MADHUMITA ON SAMIR
I can't really say that lightning struck when I met Samir for the first time. But I did find him to be quite good-looking and impressive. Since he comes from a very refined family, he was very well mannered and soft-spoken. Initially, I had no idea as to why I was invited to his place. Later when I came to know about it, I realised what a fool I had been.
What I appreciate about Samir is that he is very focused and dedicated about his work. I never interfere in his career decisions but I point out the flaws. As a husband, he has been extremely inspiring and has encouraged me to take up painting once again. He is a romantic at heart and earlier used to dedicate a lot of his works to me. One of his works which I really appreciate is a series of watercolour paintings titled Kitchen Series, where he showed different utensils in bright colours.
It has been a long and lovely 25 years of marriage. Every moment and every event in my life has been exciting because of the presence of my husband and my two children. Both Samir and I are highly inclined towards art and culture and make it a point to bring up our children to appreciate these as well. Sometimes we feel that we should open a school where we can teach the next generation but it's too much hard work. Samir also takes an active interest in what is happening in the art world and together we love to explore new things in life. I love his enthusiasm for the little things in life. It's this love and understanding for each other which has made our marriage a resounding success.