Q: Hullo Sukriti, can you please tell us about yourself and your organization, Doctor of Happiness?
When I started teaching, about 10 years back, I was interacting with a lot of young people. My students were aged 18 and 19, and I realized there were a lot of mental health issues in the country. Our students are facing a lot of pressure, and the pressure isn’t just about studies, it’s from multiple, complicated situations that young people are dealing with. To say that “College life is the best life” and “Youth is the best time” may not be true for everybody.
I began thinking that there has to be something that can be done for the mental health of Indian youth. I don’t have a psychology background; I am an artist. When I was in school, I was also in a very dark space and art helped me cope, so the thought came to me, “Why can’t I create a platform?” Before this, there were so many things I wanted to do but they never worked out. It took me three years to come up with the idea that art can inspire people. Can art be the reason for people to become hopeful?
So on January 2, 2018, I started my first online post and the idea was to reach out to as many people as possible. I also researched and discovered that there are a lot of artists working on mental health all over the world. They were doing a lot of dark stuffand I felt, “What is the point if I’m already in a dark space, and I see a dark illustration and I’m pulled into it? It doesn’t help. In fact it pulls me back.” So, consciously I decided that I would not use colors in my illustrations, only black and white in a minimalistic way. I would say something very profound in a simple way, so that it didn’t complicate, it didn’t overwhelm, it didn’t create more anxiety, it was not gyan, only something which would bring smiles to faces. I make a conscious effort to make positive art. It is very difficult, actually, for a subject like mental health. I had to really rack my brain and research a lot.
Q: You use art to tell a story or convey a message. Your illustrations also have a quirkiness, although that doesn’t take away from the somber topics you’re addressing. How do you inject that little bit of lightheartedness and still make the point?
It’s really a big challenge, but I believe one thing: unhappy people make other people unhappy, and happy people make other people happy. To be very honest, with the challenges we face in life, it’s difficult to be happy all the time. To make art like that I need to become happy first. I’m a mother of a six-year-old, I have my family to look after, I have my work to do, so sometimes it’s a challenge to make myself happy.
But I’ll tell you one thing, the secret lies in dealing with daily problems. Because I cope with them I know how hard it is, and I overcome them and illustrate that. Whatever I’m dealing with I’m illustrating, so the quirkiness comes from the fact that the problems are there but I’m going to overcome them. I have illustrated many books, but for the first time in many years I have been able to use art for something that creates value in other people’s lives.
My quirkiness remains the same, but what I create for Doc of Happiness is very profound. Sometimes, even I am encouraged by my illustrations – when I look at something I have made 6 months back.
Q: I don’t see your work touching on anything topical or political because that’s an entirely different subject.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The Ber Tree
V. RAMAKANTHA, Ph.D., is a former Indian Forest Service officer and member of the Green Initiative at the international Heartfulness Center, Kanha Shanti Vanam, India. Having spent most of his working life living in forests and jungles, in tune with the natural world, he shares his knowledge about some of the amazing medicinal plants of India, in this case the Ber Tree.
Decision-Making versus Implementation
DR. ICHAK ADIZES explores the different qualities and skills needed to make a decision and then to implement it – when to be open-minded and when to be closed-minded, and how to find a common interest so that all stakeholders can work together to implement a decision.
THE ZERO BALANCING POINT
JANMARIE CONNOR explores some practical ways to create harmony and balance where there is tension, conflict and disagreement. How can polar opposites coexist?
Feeling, Sensitivity and Consciousnes
ROS PEARMAIN, Ph.D., has been integrating the fields of psychology, psychotherapy and spirituality, through both practical and philosophical approaches, for over 40 years. Here she explores the way a spiritual practice opens up the levels of feeling and sensitivity, as we expand into deeper and deeper levels of consciousness, and how our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies are integrated through the heart.
Creating Balance FINDING YOUR COLORS AMIDST THE BLACK AND WHITE
MAMATA VENKAT opens up about the challenge of finding selfcompassion and self-acceptance in a world of judgment and criticism. She also offers 10 tips from her own experience about how to cultivate a self-nurturing approach to life.
Toward Zero and Beyond
ALAIN DESVIGNE is the CEO of a leading solar company, the Amarenco Group. He strives to contribute to sustainability in every field of life. Here he explores the nature of reducing and minimalizing our use of resources in the world, by working on our reaction emissions and inner climate changes.
The Birds of Kanha
RAJESH MENON is a photographer from Delhi, who specializes in images from nature. Here he shares some of the beautiful birds of Kanha Shanti Vanam, the 1300 acre property outside Hyderabad, India, that is the international headquarters of the Heartfulness Institute. It is also a green sanctuary.
Giving More, Taking Less
FRANCOIS BOUDERLIQUE learnt about the basic principle of Nature – to give more than you take – when he left a high-powered banking job in Paris to live and farm in Kutch, India. He realized that his understanding of eco farming was colored by his past and he needed to open his eyes to a new reality.
Megha Bajaj shares some simple tips on how to develop the capacity for intuition, which can be cultivated in daily life.
YOGA & PEACE
DEEPAK CHOPRA speaks with DAAJI about the role Yoga has to play in bringing about world peace. This is an excerpt from their conversation broadcast on International Day of Peace, September 21, 2020. That documentary is available at https://heartfulness.org/en/international-day-of-peace/.
MY BACK PAGES
Get what you need
The Cosmic Chaos of India
Just like the cosmos, when you see India for the first time everything seems chaotic and yet every Indian person finds his/ her own order in that hustle which all goes in tandem. Pavan Rajurkar a freelance illustrator based out of Mumbai, capture this Indianness perfectly in his artworks for many different brands and studios. Some of his recent illustrations have been displayed here.
Meet with clients amid the city’s kaleidoscopic sights and sounds.
Discover The Remnants Of Empires And The Seeds Of Independence In Mumbai
Discover the remnants of empires and the seeds of independence in India’s most populous city.
Building A Sporting Nation
Marathons are changing the shape of the nation. We ask the brains behind the Delhi and Mumbai Half Marathons, how exactly.
An Expat Learns the Key to Authentic Indian Cooking
Cooking lessons at home in Mumbai.
The 12 Best Rooftop Bars Around The World
The world looks different when viewed from these stunning rooftop destinations.
बिना मास्क यात्रियों पर मध्य रेलवे की सख्ती
मध्य रेल के मुंबई मंडल ने अप्रैल में बिना मास्क यात्रा करने तथा बिना अनुमति के सफर करने वाले लोगों से एक करोड़ 20 लाख रुपए वसूल किए हैं. जबकि इस सघन अभियान में 42858 लोगों पर कार्रवाई की गई.
कोरोना महामारी में 106 बेस्ट कर्मचारियों ने गंवाई अपनी जान
अति आवश्यक कार्यों में लगे हुए कर्मचारियों को परिवहन सेवा उपलब्ध कराने वाली बेस्ट के कर्मचारियों भी कोरोना से जुझ रहे हैं।
How city got breather: Yr before 2nd wave, BMC set up O2 team
Much interest has been generated on the ‘Mumbai Model’ of oxygen management after recent observations by the Supreme Court. I wonder what could make a management method unique and get its own name when the ingredients at hand seem to be common among cities. The success of the Mumbai Model can be attributed to centralization of certain aspects and decentralization of the services aspect.