Image by Sangeetha Ramanathan


Keeping creativity alive

By Sangeetha Ramanathan

Unlike the extensive academic content here on our website—that has hopefully given you new insights into the field of behavioral development economics and about the work we do—the blog aims to bring to you the lighter moments we share as a team. Through this post, my intent is to share with you an account of a Sunday afternoon spent painting with friends from work, and to give you a sneak peek into the creative side of the team at the Behavioral Development Lab.
The Lab has some very cool researchers. You wouldn’t be surprised to find poets, orators, photographers, painters, dancers, and musicians among them. Until recently—when we hosted a mock Parliamentary debate at the office—I was unaware that a few possess remarkable thespian talent too! Conversations at the Lab range from highly significant topics such as current events in global politics, recent research in various fields of economics, and the perpetual struggle of formatting date/time on Stata, to seemingly less significant topics such as how best to organize our library, the arrangement of desks at the Lab, the spot considered akin to Sheldon’s spot, and how to minimize time spent on deciding between the two viable options for lunch.
I like to paint—though many at the Lab would call this is an understatement. I love the way pigments flow and blend on paper; creating symmetrical patterns helps me unwind. There are others at the Lab who are equally thrilled by the idea of painting. In early February, some of us decided to break the pattern of just conversing by painting over the weekend. We spent a Sunday afternoon painting at a bright outdoor space at a café in Chennai. So, for our small paint party, we chose one of SH Raza’s works of geometric abstraction that we rediscovered during our recent trip to Fort Kochi. We decided that would each create our own palettes of colors for our paintings. We chatted away as we painted, enjoying the process and the company (there may have been some gushing over chromium oxide green too).

Like most other forms of creative expression, art too is reflective of the creator’s state of mind. Much to our amusement, the colors we each chose, the styles we adopted, and the extent of details were all distinct. So much so that, back at the lab, the rest of our team could guess the artist with ease. Well, to be fair, some took the aid of proficiency in art over, say, the choice of colors to guess correctly.

At a time when we could all do with good company, virtual paint parties don’t seem like a bad idea to me.