Meet Dhruv Chugh, Young Visionary


Dhruv is that person who’s both everywhere and nowhere at once. Always working, but never strained. Always thinking, but never distracted or inattentive. Yes, he’s the kid with the killer glasses. With a suaveness that is dually charming and indescribable. While he may appear a drifter — a dilettante in the world of art and living — he’s all substance underneath that mellow voice and Gucci sport coat.

These past few weeks have been busy for the both of us here at Mod & Bean, so when we finally sat down to write up our interview for Dhruv, we couldn’t help but compare the brilliant weather from the day of our shoot with the current chill. The setting of our shoot was midterm week. The campus was abuzz with housing day planning and the promise of impending relaxation: spring break. Now warming our hands over hot cups of tea, we laughed over the inconstancy of our beloved Cambridge weather.

Our day with Dhruv was a true, to borrow from the much-used expression, Indian Summer — an unusual period of warmth in late fall or winter. Then it hit us — how fitting for our interview with the Indian prince of Harvard himself to fall on the day of one of those elusive Indian summers. It was as though Dhruv brought the languid and comforting warmth of his home — New Delhi — with him. For a dazzling moment, the heat of that day breathed life into the humdrum routine of campus life, and everything burst with new enthusiasm. Then again, that’s also just the kind of person Dhruv is: a genuine character.

Tell us a little about where you’re from. What do you miss? What do you not?

I lived in New Delhi before coming here. I miss my parents’ positivity, younger brothers pathetic sense of humor, food (mainly shedding tears while eating spicy food), cows on the road and lately talking in my mother tongue.

I definitely don’t miss inhaling copious amounts of carbon monoxide.

Soundtrack to your life?

Happy by C2C (Thanks to Jenny [Horowitz – another incredible and utterly mod human bean]).

Aside from bumping into Dhruv en route to the Berg or around Lam Caf, you can probably find him in the Carpenter Center. An extremely talented artist, he admits, “I used to draw but wasn’t really serious about art until my gap year, and that was the time when I started to think about art as a form of expression and started to think about what art is for me.”

Tell us about your art. What inspires you? When did you start? What’s your favorite medium?

All my inspiration comes from my society and people and emotions around me. Although the definition of art is highly debatable — for me art has to be meaningful and in some way evoke a visceral reaction in the viewers.

All the art I did initially was in traditional media like painting or drawing, but recently I have been more experimental with my works.  I am very keen to do installations and am currently learning more film, audio and video, and expanding my knowledge of different media. In our times, the expanse for expression is limitless, and I ultimately want to be able to mix media, and that’s why the main focus for me right now is to learn. My favorite medium until now has to be 16mm film — using the Bolex camera and editing physical film not only takes me back to a different era, but also feels like a very special experience.

How do you balance your art with your schoolwork and social life?

I couldn’t do much art first semester, and my VES class this semester has made me realize that art is something I really want to delve deeper into – at least during the duration of my college career. I am very seriously considering pursuing a concentration in VES as that will allow me to incorporate work and art.

Who do you make your art for? You? School? Someone in particular?

I think I make it first to understand myself better and secondly to bring attention to whatever I feel is important to me and could be to others.

Tell us about your work in Nepal and the art you made during that time.

I was there as a part of an earthquake relief trip. The natural beauty really inspired me to come back and do watercolors of the natural scenery.

Would you describe your art as a passionate love affair or a tumultuous relationship?

I sadly don’t see the difference.

Not only do Dhruv’s talents manifest in his uncanny celebrity depictions, gentle watercolor paintings, and unique sculpture plans, his artistic eye aids in his sense of style as well.

Go to outfit. What’s your uniform? What is a classic look that everyone would say, “That’s so Dhruv.”

I like to think it lies somewhere between comfort and elegance. I love to wear an elegant jacket, something like a trench coat, with black joggers and comfortable but well crafted shoes – like loafers with tassels.

What’s an accessory or piece of jewelry that you’d like to be remembered by or that is iconic you?

It definitely has to be my glasses — the uniqueness of the design helps.  

What’s a current trend that you really like?

The transformation of street-wear joggers or sneakers into high fashion is something I really like and I am intrigued by.

What’s a trend that you wish would die?

I don’t want it to necessarily die, but seeing people wear caps indoors like in library and in classes really baffles me  I think it’s an American thing.

If your hair could speak, what would it say about you?

I think it’s time he lets us grow into our true selves.

What item did you wear to the ground?

My first pair of Jordans.

What’s in your pocket?

Card Holder, tickets to a show, keys and a pen that doesn’t work.

Spirit dessert?

Brownie Cheesecake.

If you were sentenced to the death penalty, what would you be convicted for and what would be your last meal?

Procrastinating sending an email to the law enforcements stating that it wasn’t me.

Sushi Burrito, for sure!

Describe yourself as a human bean

I am just someone who loves people, learning, and risk.

Xx, Katherine & Maia

Photos by Katherine