Zentangle, doodling to transform lives

Zentangle, doodling to transform lives

Sunanda Pushkar, a cancer survivor, found solace from pain through drawing beautiful patterns on paper.

Today, she credits her enthusiasm and zest for life to 'zentangles', an art therapy practice involving drawing patterns on paper.

Sunanda is one of the many students of Dilip Patel, a city-based zentangle teacher who is helping people across the world find inner peace and solace through the medium of art.

Patel is also India's first certified zentangle trainer. A former leadership trainer, Patel was introduced to zentangles through his wife Malathi.

Malathi learned about zentangling from the internet and was using it to pass her time while taking care of her mother who was bed-ridden due to an injury.

"I noticed a huge change in Malathi as she was very positive and full of enthusiasm. She used to be a little depressed and unhappy earlier as she was not able to spend her time creatively and she would express this every time I returned from my official travels," said Patel

When Patel asked Malathi about the change in her attitude, she showed an internet post on zentagles to Patel. Curious to know how doodling on paper could change a person's mindset, Patel researched on the art therapy and then was drawn to it after experiencing its benefits.

Zentangles are pieces of unplanned and abstract black and white art patterns created through an ensemble of simple structured patterns called tangles. They are created on 3.5-inch square paper tiles.

Zentangles is derived from the Japanese word 'Zen' for meditation and English word 'Tangle' meaning intertwined.

"Creating a zentangle is extremely relaxing and the benefits are similar to that of meditation. Zentangles are created without a plan in mind and are impulsive in nature, thereby allowing the pattern to evolve as you draw," said Patel.

"The art requires one to be impulsive, non-judgemental and accept the result. In a way, a zentagle imitates the pattern of life," he adds.

The couple has impacted hundreds of lives - from a group of young trafficked girls living in a remand home, to a gang of hardened criminals and dug addicts recovering at a rehabilitation centre - all of whom experienced peace and a sense of positivity after attending their zentangle workshops.

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