Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo

You Live In The Soul Of Every Woman.

Dear Diego,

As I celebrate my birthday today, I acknowledge the consciousness of your presence in my life. The innate vision that was able to see the agelessness in me. You saw my undying spirit that was reborn time and again.

I am like the creeper plant that stubbornly holds on, in spite of the strongest stem that has died a solemn death. The broken parts of me constantly evolve to birth new stems, holding on to life, helping me pave a path with the inner resilience to stride ahead.

We are divorced now and I am restless. I don’t miss your temper, but I think I miss the turmoil. The grief gnawing inside me tethers me. I know our hearts will always belong to each other.

Today, I sat to paint.
I stared into the blank sheet staring at me, like a slow death of the old me, from which arises the new me. All along both are constantly growing and keeping each other alive with memories and melancholy.

On this empty canvas, I pour my heart. My fingers felt the brush strokes as I drew two of me, “The Two Fridas”, one European and the other in a Tehuana. This is the duality of me you see in this painting. The duality of rejection and the love, the same duality you and I constantly played with. One Frida that was loved and the other Frida that remained unloved.

My body has been held together with needles, stitches and braces since my school days. What remains untouched is my spirit and my fearlessness of owning myself and the cultures I was born into.

I have been raised by two cultures and have always embraced both.

I believe, my darling Diego, that there exists no home or human being who can claim just one dimension to themselves.

I am known to be “like a man” in my attitude towards life, drinking, smoking and being boisterous. You have admired me for my dichotomies because in that paradox lies the little girl Frida, who loves dresses and flowers on her head.

Our experiences and what we do with them define us, and they define how we use gendered ideas. Sometimes I’m a “boy” and sometimes “a girl“. I am resilient yet timid, I am strong yet gentle, I am capable of loving so many yet my heart belongs to you like none other.

There is madness in all love, a sort of craziness that propels us into a sea of uncertainty, this deep sense of feeling that vacuum in the belly yet the heart leaps at every moment of living, I recognize all this and more with you.

I have felt loved and unloved and all my paintings are a self-portrait of the strength that arose out of all the weakness in my life.

Whether love lasts or not, my joy and inspiration, my pain and suffering lie in the garden of love. I have always believed that one must take a lover who looks at you like you are magic.


An alluring saree having the Frida Kahlo print by
Parama Ghosh.
In Frame: Mohua Chinappa

I wrote this article in honour of Frida Kahlo’s birthday, 6 July 1907. Frida is one of my heroes; I think there’s a bit of Frida in every woman, no matter what her background, nationality, ambitions, or personality.

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