SPOTLIGHT | Kothai Kumanan
I’ve known Kothai over a year now and although our lives are each uniquely full, every single conversation we share has been one of depth, encouragement and intelligent inspirations. What she has to share is true and deep insight to reflect and soak in.
How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as creative, passionate and spontaneous. I don't work on a daily basis in the traditional arts community, nevertheless creativity is an important part of my life. It is a lens I see life through, whether it's to instill an appreciation of the esthetic in my children, to centre myself by engaging in the creative output of others , or to use creativity in my work, which likely appears rather removed from the world of creativity! Passion is one of my favourite words- my mother used to say that if you're going to do something, do it fully. I think she was describing passion to me. Whatever I jump into - mothering, a business opportunity or my everyday work, I think it's important to be driven by a higher purpose and to engage in what you do fully. And finally, spontaneity is a way of embracing change and being resilient in life. To have a gypsy approach to life and to embrace opportunities as they arise is powerful to me.
What role does creativity play in your life?
I touched on some of this in my previous answer, but I do think creativity is foundational to having a healthy perspective in life. Even in the most mundane things- like cooking a meal- creativity is nourishing to the soul.
What are you currently working on?
My professional and mothering life doesn't leave me a great deal of time to work on the 'extras'- yet these two things offer me many creative outlets, too! Outside of that, I am currently working on consulting work that touches on how palliative care services can best be organized in Nova Scotia. For me research is a highly creative endeavor that also engages my need for critical thinking. While I typically engage in the arts- music, dance, theatre, exhibitions and art shows- as a consumer, I am trying to get back to my first love- Indian classical dancing!
What was the last book/movie/podcast etc. that left an impression on you?
I recently saw the movie, The Wife, starring Glenn Close. In it, she is the supposed muse of her husband, whose literary genius has earned him a Nobel Prize. As the story unfolds, we learn she is so much more- and so much less. It left an impression on me as a woman and a mother of daughters: what we are taught to value in society as women and in particular, creatively driven women. As Glenn's close's character, Joan, does, I , too, have considered my decisions and thought more deeply about choices I've made and have yet to make after I saw this movie based on Meg Wolitzer's novel.
What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?
I'm not sure that I would be qualified to give advice, but from my own experience, what I'd offer is don't let the world or society or others define what creativity means to you and where its outlets are for you that give meaning and depth to your own life.