Padma | Ruby Bay, Nelson

“Over the last year, I’ve been reflecting on that in a slightly different way and it’s three little experiences, I recall from my life.

I have three quite distinct memories, experiences of places, and one is as a child growing up in Fiji, and my memory of constantly playing, splashing in warm ocean water. So, I kind of associate that experience with lots of joy and laughter and playfulness, and I call it my three watery experiences or wairua experiences, and the second one is when I went to South India with my sister and at the tip of India, if you recall the map, there are three oceans, three bodies of water that come together. I think it’s the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, and what I experienced when I went to that tip, which is quite a spiritual place, is it’s dynamic and energetic, and there’s lots happening there, and it kind of made me think, gosh it didn’t really matter whether these three bodies of water moved in the same direction, different direction, whatever the permeation was, it would never be still. It would always be really, really dynamic. So, that kind of dynamic energising, it was confrontational in a way. So they were two strong experiences that I’m connected to, and the third one is in Ruby Bay when I came down here. I’ve got no whānau from this place, or didn’t really have any close friends, so I just wanted to try living in a different place other than Auckland, and when I passed the experience of water there, I could walk along the beach, and it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve done it, it’s always draws me in. I guess it makes me quite introspective. There’s a real strong reflective quality about that experience. That’s a long answer but it’s really just about connection. It’s about something that you connect to. It’s not about birth place. It’s not necessarily even where family exists or its point of connection. So, they’re three little stories that I’ve reflected on during COVID and how I see home.

Three significant places which kind of explain my life journey. Born in Fiji, ancestral place, Southern India, now living here in Ruby Bay. A diverse background in terms of work. I’m involved in education. Trained as a teacher, as an architect and now an arts practitioner. I don’t see myself as having a career path. I do things that are of interest, really. Hence working with Tanya in Cultural Conversations. 

This is coming from my architectural background after having designed many houses and homes for people, it’s not about the bricks and mortar. It’s not even about a place which is a receptacle of your belongings. Is it about identity? Perhaps. To me it’s more about that connection. I can’t remember the name of the artist or the exact quote, but it was something like the home is a place for perpetual negotiation and growth. It’s not necessarily even a tangible thing. A connection is the best word that I can think of, and with that, a place of negotiation and growth, to me raises words like safety and comfort, and that could be in a tent somewhere in a wild landscape, or it could be in a beautifully designed home.”

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