Susmita – Our Own Master Artist

Dilip Chakrabarti

In every Banga Sammelan, when everyone is running around to find different venues of his favorite program, I always love to behave like a flaneur looking around the people in the area where all the vendors would have their stalls decorated with their merchandise to be attractive as if a beautiful voluptuous young lady was beckoning to attract her love. In this 43rd Banga Sammelan in Planet Hollywood Hotel of Las Vegas was not different either for me, I was rambling the same way from one stall to another, this is one of my hobbies, whenever I attend any Banga Sammelan, I always go to the vendors who bring different commodities from Kolkata. Because it takes me back to the lost world which was the spirit of my soul, it reminds the joyfulness I used to get in the local fair of my small village where I was raised as a young boy, where I used to play with big Jamboora(Grapefruit) with my friends, the smell of wet grass, aroma of wild bushes and the rainbow in the wet blue sky used to make me feel the happiness of heaven, often all these mesmerized me in that world where I felt the pleasure of senses and be happy to the deepest point of my mind, I would go back to the dreamland where the heavenly happiness would wait for this young boy of yesterday. Suddenly my dream came to an end when I found myself immersed in a land of colors, beautiful paintings and fine arts of nature. This made me stop for a while, I felt like the beautiful melody of my dream is shattered, and shattered by this superfluity of colors painted by a lovely woman, she was smiling at me, at first it seemed to me that I know this smile, I gave a good look at her and found out she is none but our Barin’s wife, we all knew her, she is our friend Barin’s wife, Susmita. We said “hello“ to one another, then I told her “ I am very glad to see you after a long time.” “I knew you are an artist but I did not know that you are an artist of such high caliber.” Susmita smiled and replied “thank you”. Immediately I thought that our community has many scientists, lawyers, teachers etc. but an accomplished artist, I knew only one other person. So, thought I should let our community know about her, her paintings and her passion for fine arts. The story goes as indited here.

A military family of India became blessed when a baby girl was born to Major Hare Krishna Majumdar and his wife. Major Majumdar being a patriotic and a military man believed in discipline of the family and thought the name of the baby should be Susmita if the older members of the family approve of it. The smile of the new born impressed everyone in the family and they thought the name is quite appropriate since the baby’s eyes seemed to be smiling always. What other name could be given to a baby girl like her other than “Susmita”, a perfect match with demeanor and appearance. Happiness of the family became like the bright sunshine of the summer morning. Then time does not stand still in Major’s family, the baby becomes a toddler, then a young child and the time comes for her schooling, like any other concerned parents Major and his wife also looked for their child’s education and finally she was admitted into a school of their choice.

However, as Susmita remembers now her childhood- schooling was not like that of any other normal family’s child, she had to move from school to school because of the nature of her father’s transferable assignments in the Artillery division of Indian Army. As they say “morning shows the day”, Susmita also started to show an immense propensity and skills in paintings. Her paintings started to bring many prizes and certificates of merits for her art work during her school years and consequently the Major and his family felt very lucky to have a child with such inherent gift of talent for Artworks. One of Susmita’s uncles was a graduate of Delhi Art College. Besides being an established artist, he was also the department head of Lady Irwin College of New Delhi. He did foresee the extent of talent which Susmita had and he also realized that someday Susmita would be a great artist if she gets the right support and environment. So, Major Majumdar’s family added a new and promising young artist in the family. Susmita continued her usual scholastic studies and art work in the school and outside the school and she started bringing awards and certificates of merit for her artistic creation. Soon she started to participate in art shows and art contests and she started to gather many rewards under her belt, soon she became well known in the community for her artistic talent and creativities of painted visual art. By the time she finished her high school, she established herself as a young artist and received many certificates of merits, prizes etc. by dint of depicting her imagination as visual art. She always remembers her parents for becoming her friend, philosopher and guide for her artistic endeavors and for her life as well. Her parents inspired her to continue her artistic schoolings and after graduating from high school, she joined the famous Government College of Art and Craft, in Kolkata. She worked very hard for next five years to excel in her training and studies in Fine Arts. During her college days she exhibited her paintings in art college exhibitions and received awards and certificates of merit. By the time she graduated from this Art College she had numerous exemplary exhibitions and shows to her credit and finally she received her coveted graduation in 1974. After graduation from college, she exhibited her works in various galleries and received great press reviews, appreciation and recognition.

Since she was raised in a family which was moving from place to place every few years within the country, she developed an appetite for travelling and she realized it would be very easy for her to satisfy her desire to travel if she could get a job in travel industry, as a doer she did what any doer would do, she joined the Indian Airlines as a Stewardess and worked for the company for six years. This job brought her enormous feeling of fulfillment of her intense desire for going from place to place. To her flying meant meeting new people, assist them in their inflight needs, except once in a while meet a difficult person to satisfy or even face some undue criticism, but these things never became daunting to her, on the other hand she would take a new challenge for next upcoming assignment. However she remembers one flight which scared the hell out of her and all the passengers as well when the undercarriage, the wheels did not come down while landing. Although all the flight attendants were scared to death, but they had to hide their feelings by smiles to embolden the passengers from the danger and anxiety of belly landing of the aircraft. However, her plane landed on its belly on a sandy area with 135 passengers and with God’s blessings there was no injury during this process, everybody felt a sigh relief. This experience has taught her how important life is, and all of us should be very happy just to be alive. She feels – we should be grateful to God just for being alive.

Scary or not life moves on. Susmita found her love of life for the first time and the lucky guy is none other than her present husband, because she thinks, her first love is with Painting and Drawing. She came to USA to meet her fiancé and they did not wait long to get married. Since then they are happily married with one another and have raised two beautiful children. After moving to USA, she received award from Massachusetts Council for Arts and Humanities and also had the first solo exhibition of her work in Worcester, USA. Susmita also joined the Indiana University to farther her education in Fine Arts and received a Master’s degree. Her painting received “the best exhibit” award in the Graduate School Exhibition of Indiana University, Pennsylvania. After graduation, she joined the Worcester Public School System and taught there for twenty-two years as an Art Teacher. After retirement she started to teach at Worcester Art Museum’s Studio Art School. Even though when she worked as a teacher, her journey as an artist never stopped, at some point of her life she did rather put more energy to exhibit and to show her art works in different galleries of various cities, establishing her as a renowned artist of the fine arts, her paintings and pictures are now receiving Reve Reviews, indeed, it is a matter of pride to adorn one’s home with her paintings and pictures in any community in here and in India as well. She is a devoted artist who loves to play with her paint and brush and creates amazing thoughts with some strokes of the brushes, she has an inclination towards oil-painting, but water color also attracts her equally. Proudest moment of her professional career was when she was personally commissioned by Mother Teresa to paint a portrait in which Mother Teresa was holding a baby, finished in oil, this portrait has found place in the Embassy of India, in Washington D.C. It is worth to mention that her art works have found places in private and public offices in all over the globe. Numerous accolades were bestowed on her by different organizations and she was given the key of the city of Worcester in 1987 for a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi which was presented to the then Mayor Tim Cooney. She also received a citation from Governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis for excellence of painting after winning “Ethnicity in the Arts” contest held by Mass Council of Arts and Humanities.
Numerous exhibitions on her art work is always happening here and there in or out of the country including Kolkata, Amherst (MA), Washington D.C. etc.

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