Shalini Kumar, an artist, poet, Laughter Yoga teacher and social acivist, all rolled in one, is currently at the crossroads, wondering which hat suits her the most. An outgoing personality who finds fulfilment in socialising and reaching out to different sections of society all throught the year, Shalini has been taking the lockdown period as a golden opportunity, one in which she has time for reflection as well as for honing new skills.
“COVID-19 and the lockdown is one of the most difficult times the world has ever experienced, as most of the normal activities of the entire world has come to a standstill. Nevertheless, we need to look at the positive side of things and learn many lessons from it,” says Shalini, adding, “To me, the lockdown period has given many opportunities to do activities which I am proud of and which I never could do before.”
In her last 30 years career as an international artist, Shalini had never participated in any online exhibition or online arts competition. However, during this lockdown, she participated online in an art competition by Bhavalaya, an arts outfit, on its 10th anniversary. She also participated for the first time in an online Charity Arts Exhibition conducted by the Omani Society for Fine Arts wherein her painting got selected.
During her spare time, Shalini has aslo pursued hobbies like silk painting and painted some silk stols – one of her biggest creations being a huge silk tablespread which turned out better than what she had imagined, she said, adding that she also indulged in mosaic art in her bid to learn new skills.
Shalini had also been participating in poetry meets organised by the Indian Social Club’s new poetry outfit – PLG – and has felt inspired to write poetry on various new topics during the lockdown.
She finds her involvement in poetry quite fulfilling as her old parents in India got an opportunity to listen to her recitals along with other family members, besides she herself getting acquainted with celebrated poets from different countries.
Shalini also acted in an international short film, called Nurture Nature, along with her husband and many other actors from different parts of the world during the lockown. The 15-minute film, made during the lockdown, bears an inspiring message and is available on YouTube. Besides this, she also has been coordinating in efforts to reach out to people in need during the lockdown throught the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation in Muscat.
As a certified ‘laughter yoga teacher’ who runs a free laughter yoga club for ladies in Muscat, Shalini has been conducting online laughter yoga meditation for ladies’ groups who have been participating from their homes, especially on International Laughter Yoga Day (May 3).
Lastly, Shalini acknowledges the fact that the lockdown brought out the best in her as well as taught her many online skills, including the ability to have online chats with family members and friends using new apps.
“Whatever and wherever you are during the lockdown, one must have a positive attitude towards life, be happy and take up new hobbies for which one did not have time before,” she says, adding, “Make the most of the lockdown before it gets over and you get once again caught up with the daily grind!”