I’ve often wondered about couples that work together and have noticed how it sometimes results in acrimony and even divorce. Living, eating, ideating and working together can be a situation of too much of each other with very little breathing space for both individuals in a relationship.
Is it then a better idea to work in different places to keep a relationship going? I’m guessing it’s different strokes for different folks but I’ve always marvelled at famed artist Jaideep Mehrotra and his lovely wife Seema who live, work, exercise, cook, travel and party together, and look so in tune with each other all the time!
Jaideep works at a studio within his home and Seema works with him on the logistics and administration of his artworks in an office adjacent to his studio. What makes them so harmonious where other couples fail, even after 20 years of working together? “The one rule that works magically for us is that we clearly demarcate our work.
She leaves me to my work and I shut out the world in my studio when I’m creating my art. If she needs to speak to me, even though we are seconds away from each other, she does not walk into my studio but is careful to intercom me. We ideate and I wait for her feedback on so many things,” avers Jaideep fondly.
“We may not agree on many things, since we are as different as chalk and cheese. So, we sit together and discuss rather than argue, so that we can see each other’s viewpoint clearly enough and be objective in our understanding,” he adds.
The trick is, then, to set rules clearly and to stick to them. Clear out misunderstandings, never sleep over a fight; on work issues, agree to meet midway. Jaideep tells us that at the creative end, he has the last word and at the logistics end, Seema does. The final decision is always, therefore, a joint one.
“The important point to remember is that we love each other and are friends first. We value and love what we share,” Seema affirms.
What I’ve observed about this couple over time is that the philosophical edge to Jaideep’s work comes from his being firmly grounded in his philosophies of living and communication. His understanding that communication is the key to every relationship was most beautifully conveyed in his ‘Braille’ series where he created art based on the work of Louis Braille.
This ability to go beyond the obvious and always have subliminal messages in his layered work is, in my opinion, what gives Jaideep the ability to live and work with a sense of near meditative harmony. “As with art, with relationships too, the journey is one of learning and growing,” he says.
The author is a designer and luxury consultant.
Mail her at nishajamvwal@-gmail.com