Sunday, March 23, 2014

Driftwood ..... and the drifting sense of art

Many years ago when I read 'The Thornbirds' by Colleen McCullough-Robinson, a novel for those who loved to impose punishment on themselves, so to say, being penitent for misery caused to others, was a unique experience. Today we do see such persons (heroine of the novel) as Jain munis or cloister nuns? All for what? Is there a need to carry a cross or wear a crown of thorns just to invite sympathy.These days characters are not heavily laden with obligations towards society. The new rage is to be bare about your basic emotions be it a writer, a singer, a beggar or even a hand-cart puller as characters of your story. The last one is going extinct because in cities he needs a registered licence to pull a cart.He ought to sell his wares for little or no profit, then why the licence? So characters get defined by actions more not by words.

Books - To read or view 

Writers (sci-fi writers as well), struggle throughout their lives to churn out stuff that is read-worthy and even then the book doesn't sell, dare to bare the facts which appear like fiction but credible. Books can make the reader twitch his brows, snort his nostrils till they go out of shape, blush at the ear tips, drop jaws till the jaw gets hidden in the collar. These are the latest emotions - so trendy. If the words and characters are crisp, some movie-producer makes a film out of those insensitive words that crawl and then appear on celluloid. Oh - ho - oh comes a sigh not because  the book is written well, but the film is made. 

A/V Treat is treated as trendy

Why are our eyes near the temples below the brows (quizzical) - reason enough to lie low on the periphery of the brain. What? The contents of the book are prohibited entry into the intellectual realm of understanding so chalo, add some laughs and chuckles and droplets of tears and the book is ready for audio-visual playtime. Intellect takes a back seat. 

Books are meant to be relished? How many books were translated into films and have been relished? None. Some like Gone with the Wind, Ten Commandments, Godfather and Da Vinci Code were partly successful. That does not imply that the movies were relished by all.The books were a better vehicle to follow the writer's understanding of the world. 

When the (intellectual) gap between the author and the filmmaker is not wide then the film fructifies. If it is otherwise, then the idea (film) would not fructify. In the past, epics were made into films and movie buffs loved them as they were entertaining and they did sound moralising. Today books are churned out as scripts (like 'pappad' ready to be fried in hot oil).

Art has to be an expurgation of emotion said Aristotle but who cares about what he said. No art and no emotion should follow the latest trend. All forms of art evolve so also emotions but basic emotions do stand in good stead for humanity. 

Twiddle Thumbs for Literary Content

My sister and I were friendly to three Agarwal sisters from Ajmer who were crazy about some popular two-penny Hindi novels.My due respects to Hindi Literature. Then they would dish out the best ones to us to read. Oh Hindi? No you must read - why? A movie will be released next month based on this novel. Very diligently we nosed through the novel, finished it in a few hours as the Hindi was lucid. Not all of them were so praiseworthy (I mean novels) a few did manage to win our appreciation. Coming back to the rigmarole. Books into movies leaves one in an anti-climactic mode - a moron. 

A moronic drift

Finally if I end this piece by defining driftwood the purpose is served. Pieces, chunks, logs of wood when made to stay float over water for future use - what can we expect? Even the world's worst carpenter would call driftwood as soggy, prone to termites and fungus so unsuitable for making furniture. Has civilisation turned out to be a driftwood spectacle? Think! There lies ample scope for innovation and discoveries.We are happy with Issac, Galileo and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaArchimedes ...the rest are just tangents harnessed to the initial discoveries.Besides exploring universal bodies do we have anything new to offer or savour or cherish ? No don't think as your head may explode--- you blockhead.

Friday, March 7, 2014

It's Me Or It Is You Or The World

When does a person get emotionally extinct - when he lives in a 'box with just cardboard all around'. Forget it - only a piece of dialogue heard in a movie, yes it is true about people leading mundane lives with only activities to do, to sustain or to breathe. Then why not go on a holiday,  a vacation? What do vacations mean for a stick-in-the-mud antagonist. Not me but I know a few.

Dia has it all.......bears it all

Dia is someone one would like to associate with. She is not old or not too young, but an ideal partner for the man she married. Don't tell me marriages are made in heaven but Dia makes it look like. He, an ex-sailor, lived life to the hilt with water, friends and sailing all around. Just one swell of a time globe trotting and rich by any standard. Today he is holed up with hardly any friends, a chronic ailment that apparently has no trace of cure in the pancreas. Diabetes, a silent killer that drags its feet which drags the victim to death, slow and steady. Well, prodding too much is like turning the ladle in the gravy for better taste. Life which spins like a top must slow down or a bump can fling the top to a halt. So go slow. Be like Dia who bears it all.

Rhea got stuck in the porridge of life. 

Am I poking fun at lives which attribute meaningless existence. No, but then does life have to be meaningless till one gets philosophical and utter an 'O' that holds up a lot of meaning about life. You see that 'pretty' span of life which swings from the 30s to the 60s should have a hold on your ideals and goals or else life gallivants to unknown goals and then begins the unending search for solution to learn from mistakes. Rhea, hailed from a Haryanvi conservative family, got married a bit late by normal standards. Destiny struck an unusual blow when her ambitions to grow in the field of media got stunted. She was endowed with a disabled child which  keeps her indoors for the entire day.Battling with odds she does show an uncanny courage but only a divine blessing can steer her on with life.

Nay....nothing can stop her from enjoying Ramzan*

Sana, a name chosen for her, quite an ebullient character with unlimited vigour in all she does. Initially I thought it was a facade, for she and I joined the school together as English teachers. But being a few years senior to her and a bit more loaded with work May be she was trying to impress the higher-ups. The dual pressure for me of handling two languages - English and French - made me look like a female Atlas, carrying the globe as if it was a cotton ball. All said and done, needless to say, Sana was more popular as she could spare a smile. Thank Heavens for all the lesson plans that were doled out from my factory which she carefully worded with Sana-like language for presentation. But I never cribbed about it as she had a bigger mental baggage to carry.

Her life....still etched with the same question Why Sana? Oh God!

She underwent a major surgery at the age of fourteen which deprived her of a female organ for conception. For years together she underwent this stigma that she would never find a suitor. But as luck would have it, she finally married a widower with two sons. Sana donned the cloak of a do-gooder and stepped into matrimony. The honeymoon lasted a year (I mean the goodies that came unasked after marriage). After a year she was cajoled to look for a job in a school. Then the grind of working for an unemployed husband and two kids.The husband was not only highly ambitious for 'others' but was a stickler at making foolish investments. Today, Sana has moved on to a better position in her career with a university. But her role of being the sole bread-winner stays. Her sons have grown up to be responsible adults. The man of her life still remains unemployed with no entrepreneurial skills. Sana is a physical wreck with a broken back, a broken spirit still dodging wolfish stares.

*For years together I have seen Sana displaying her culinary skills from Biryani to Barfi.

March 8 every year a day to remember for all women and men (?)., My heart goes out for Dia, Rhea and Sana. These are the women who are not exactly ill-starred but lead lives that do not invite compassion but pride. How many do you know? Let them remain memorable stars in your life.

(Names used in this piece have been changed but their lives remain status quo.)