wild drift, lush fronds

Two regal betta princes survey their aquatic kingdom, tails flowing like royal robes as they patrol the dense emerald foliage of their jungle realm. Like adventurers in an ancient tale, the intrepid fish weave through the tangled wood, the vast and wild frontier their underwater Camelot. Their sapphire scales shimmer like armor in the dappled light, noble knights of this verdant and vibrant wonderland.

For those of you who have been journeying with me through the tangle of tales and art of words and ideas on this blog, you’ll remember my old posts on aquascaping. As a gardener of water, I’ve nurtured my underwater realm, shaping it from a simple basin to a bustling, verdant underwater jungle somehow. It’s been a labor of love, a test of patience, and today I share with you the fruits of my labor of several months.

Imagine, if you will, a jungle. Dense with life, brimming with an untamed symphony, where every inch tells a tale of growth. Now, imagine that same wild expanse, but beneath the surface of the water. That’s the essence of my Jungle style aquascape. It’s a chaotic waltz of the wild set free within the glass confines of my humble aquarium.

Unlike the meticulous rigor of other aquascaping styles, the Jungle style finds beauty in the bedlam. It embraces the seeming disorder of nature, the spontaneous burst of foliage, the unanticipated twist of driftwood. The heart of this aquascape is the verdant array of aquatic plants, a dense range of varied species, each contributing its unique essence to the tableau. Towering fronds of small and long-leafed plants stretch towards the light, their surfaces a playground for dancing shadows and shimmering reflections.

Driftwood, the skeletal remains of ancient trees, punctuates the lush greenery, not to impose order but to echo the intricate disarray of nature. They’re like brushstrokes in an impressionist painting, adding depth and texture to a scene that revels in its beautiful chaos. Creating a Jungle style aquascape is an exercise in controlled chaos. It’s a delicate balancing act of allowing nature to unfurl in all its wild beauty yet curating it enough to ensure it thrives within the confines of a tank. It’s an art form that challenges you to harness your inner wild, channel your creativity, and test the boundaries of your ability.

The allure of the Jungle style lies in this freedom of expression, the liberty to let your aquascape be as untamed as your imagination. But within this wild abandon lies a silent covenant – to nurture and sustain this vibrant ecosystem, to be the silent sentinel safeguarding the harmonious discord of this underwater jungle. In cultivating this aquascape, I’ve not just created a humble art for the eyes, but a subtle art of balance in my taste. It’s a living, breathing metaphor of life itself – wild, beautiful, and forever changing.

nourishing the craft.

Delving deep into the inner depths of a creative process has always been my piece of cake. I get thoroughly excited by souls who put that extra effort to have a signature in everything they do. They have that inner enticement of fulfilling and perfecting their craft. In my view which could be limited, I personally believe technology blended with liberal arts has been the most path breaking combination that has had an enduring ascendancy on most creatives & the creative process. It’s said that in art, the creative process generally include stages of inspiration leading to percolation which paves the way for the preparation which eventually culminates to the creation and eventually the period of reflection. I have always felt that such stages are applicable for any sort of creative process. It could be a painter working on a thoughtful abstract, an engineer working on a technical solution to a structural impasse, a poet making finishing touches to a sagacious prose, a dancer choreographing a graceful slide, a sculptor chiseling an authentic portrait. It could be anyone. It could be you.

Spectators visiting pavilions at Expo 2020, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 2021

I’ve been flicking through some of the excerpts from the book ” The Meaning in the Making ” by the renowned photographer Sean Tucker. In it he outlines a philosophy for a creative life. I like his laser focus on the creative process. He writes:

“When we pick up a paintbrush, or compose elements through our camera viewfinders, or press fingers into wet clay to wrestle form from a shapeless lump, we are bending things back toward Order and wrestling them from Chaos. But making things is often not enough.

We also want the things we make to be filled with meaning. We’re each trying to describe what we know about life, to create a collective sense of “safety in numbers.” When we reach the end of our traditional descriptive powers, it’s time to weave collective meaning from poetry, painting, writing, dancing, photographing, filmmaking, storytelling, singing, animating, designing, performing, carving, sculpting, and a million other ways we daily create Order out of the Chaos and share it with each other for comfort.

— Sean Tucker , The Meaning in the Making