Sunday, August 12, 2007

stealing mesmerizing beauty

Tweaking words for a living conditions you to occasionally feel only watered-down thrusts of their sinew. Like the tick marks you perfunctorily injected as soaring birds in your primary-school sketches, thereby lending the most everyday hue to one of man’s deepest desires­­. Flight. In your doing so, flights of reality--of freedom, of aspiration--were perhaps reduced to prosaic chores. Gushing verses became mundane prose, news briefings. What did you pay attention to in your depiction of a range of low-necked hills, its valley bedecked with a rivulet that flowed by the threshold of a small cone-roofed hut with a garden and fencing and its plunging neckline covered by a rising sun with distinct rays of alternating lengths? Why did you sketch such grotesque distortions of reality and fantasy alike?

Slash and burn the produce of truly mediocre minds. Although this can perhaps be the gravest sin to be committed on dull faculties, running the risk of rendering them absolutely infertile, any semblance of cultivating herded blunt heads--conditioned collective mindsets--has to start with the disposing of indoctrinated soil and its poisoned harvests.

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In The Blue Umbrella, Rajaram, wily appropriator and helping hand to Khatri, a tea-stall owner, questions him about the sense in fixating on an oversized umbrella. Khatri, with a face that is peppered as much with pocks as it is engrossed in the cost of living, retorts by asking him about the use of a rainbow, about the need for watching the sun sink below the hills, about the intelligence behind a crazed craving for pickle, if I may add.

The movie is about everything mentioned in its reviews; it’s also about stealing mesmerizing beauty in the twilight of life and suffering the consequences of a losing bargain thereafter.

I’m a big fan of the sensibilities of Vishal Bharadwaj and Gulzar; however, what pulled me along was Pankaj Kapur. He’s worth every penny his character Khatri swindled off patrons.

18 comments:

SUCHARITA ROY said...

Without meaning to offend the collective not "dull faculties" you tend to glorify..honestly satyajit..how much do you think you know about people you call "dull..or blunt..or conditioned"...the mediocre..the obviously one-track and the outrightly mediocre exist only in characters people write or conjure up in their imaginations about people in their own minds. life with everyone is the same fight to the finish...the tools A has is different from B..and the mistakes eventually happen..and people condition themselves to accept..or refute..or win or lose..to suit their own means and ends...our glimpse of them as a cross section can never suffice to the knowledge of the whole of them...what do u call a kid hu becomes a bully because he catches his dad doing it to his sister evryday? what do u call the thief who first learnt to steal because he was denied food by his step mom? what do u call a foul mouthed virago who repeats their parent's quibbles....and the doctrines they espouse..those who are born with the intellect and the chance above it are the harbingers to a new tomorrow yes. but it would still be unwise to categorise them with a half hearted knowledge that exists of the people who have never got the chance....

and for most part..the child who draws such a picture draws it from the subconscious..the mortal enemies he faces inside him...its called transference..and if it becomes Sublimation the child becomes known as a Van Gogh..and people honor his tragedy..the real person still ends up dead..unknown. we would never know. living behind a wall allows us to see only as much thru the small hole people see us thru..a wall is never a see through Saint Gobain mirror is it? :)

SUCHARITA ROY said...

yeah i would love to see blue umbrella..for all we say..aint it the shadow that lends it the most brightness to the light? they have to go on..together ..to complete the picture..an absolute absolute cannot have an existence on its own without the weak..the corrupt..and the mediocre..( i lack the antonym of absolute in my knowledge) thats how its meant to exist. no good can ever be done without opposition..and it always takes a bad to be done to usher in the good..just that we have to move beyond pointing fingers at the person intended or the act committed and instate the right and the better...that is tougher than the act itself...thats the kind of responsibility we are born with..because we are innately more powerful than the rest.

satyajit said...

sucharita: i don't understand most of your comment, and from what I do, it seems to digress from my point.

I'm only talking about imagination and how it can be conditioned at a very early age. I don't think chilhood incidents matter in the example that I've given. Every child draws almost the same scenic countryside irrespective of his/her own experience or family background...not thinking before creating something is the isuue here

on a broader note, the hordes of fundamentalists that you see today, do you think all of them shared a particular kind of upbringing?

I also do not get most of your 2nd comment :-)

sanjibeeta said...

you know after writing the comment even i wondered if your second para meant meant the same...i was talking about two people i met recently...a muslim doctor in cuttack..who griled into us an incident about a man having his hands cut off in Saudi when he mistakenly dropped a wad of cash and then accused the bank of not giving it to him. the obvious glee this man took in justifying putting such "beggars" in deserts miles away and so we dont get to see any of them begging in saudi because there is a squad meant for catching them just like municipality does here for stray dogs...somehow the impatience written in your second para somehow perturbed me..

upbringing definitely makes a difference..not for the scenic picture everyone does..but a lot of kids vent out their feelings through drawings lot more than you see in hollywood movies..and if not thru that then many other ways...children mimic their parents..because it becomes natural for them to ape a promised father/mother figure..who holds promises for them.its an unconscious act.and by the time it is realised, it has become embedded in the memory. you have to think beyond the scenery thts a common truth and think about the perspective in entirety..thats where we lack the entire idea about how a person evolves..and we categorise them as "bad"..or "mediocre" or "banal" without considering the part of life that has shaped them so..

have you heard about inkblot tests? you would be amazed to hear some reactions to those kids give..the second comment was merely to put the fact that when u talk about abolishing the thought and the idea that you say issue from such minds...do it...but dont discount the persons involved with it.trouble is..if you go by psyche of every individual youwill end up thinking everyoneis justified the way theu act..in a way that is right...th second coment looks incomplete bcos i wanted to give an example of a child i came across recently undergoing therapy...imagination builds only from seeing things around oneself..and another's perception of it also comes from the environment the person comes from..thts wht i wanted to point out...what someone else potrays as red is not seen as red by the person looking at it..even if the color referred to by them both is same..i do hope u get it now :(

sucharita said...

aw shit i put th comment under apa's id....shit :( mornings make me groggy...

satyajit said...

sucharita: the 2nd part of the post is not related to the first. I didn't think it important enough to clariy, but it seems as if you see them as connected.

I'm only talking abt the effect and not the cause. Overall, i see a very general effect--that of a lack of ingenuity--in people. I agree childhood shapes us a lot and that we may be asked to tow the conformist line ofr which we check our natural imagination.

However, taking that into account, i still don't see any reason for forsaking ingenuity and originality once you reach the age of reason. I agree that a conformist's life is safer, and the returns more guaranteed, but then I don't even see a choice to be made.

While you have been emphasizing the humane aspect of all this, I don't understand how logical it is or how relevant it is in the context of the issua I raise. Keeping some allowance for the not-so-well-off class and those who can't afford to fall out of line, there's still a large chunk that is tethered to un-imagination.

SUCHARITA ROY said...

i meant the second para of the first part ignoramus...the second one abt blue umbrella i commented abt in one line..about being tethered to unimagination..i sense a lack of condescence which i object to..which is why i keep asking you to look beyond the wall we dont know exists..it becomes far easier to judge people based on their inability/disinterest in something...and to deride them abot it rather than silently push beyond it minus a divisive attitude...either in action or in thought..because we dont know them. and we wont know them unless we try to understand...understanding does not mean justification of their acts..it means giving a scope beyond the outwardly obvious

Ergo said...

Hmmmmm...

Goli said...

I want to see the movie.... I have heard a lot about it, it seems that fellow went all the way to thailand to search for the appropriate umbrella.

:D

nutty said...

wow! I think that debate on the comments was more interesting than the post itself! not to say that the post wasn't of course :)

the drawing of a child is just a simplified representation of the world he sees but doesn't completely understand. Its akin to questioning why we are taught to write the letters of the alphabet and why is each child not given the freedom to come up with his/her own script? Even within that structure every child can express himself uniquely by his choice of color for the flowers and huts or the symmetry/asymmetry of the rays of the sun,

Of course as the child grows older and more aware of his choices and opinions he if free to chose whatever field he wants (circumstances notwithstanding). You chose to write. You were taught the fundamentals along with everyone else with the same alphabet song (A for Apple). But your expression today is your own.

In a way I agree with sucharita. A generalization will give you an abstracted view of some very unique individuals. The banality is in how you view the cross-section. Dig a little deeper and you will find every creation has a story to tell.

I believe that work is your creation and the alphabet song was just a tool to help you get there.

SUCHARITA ROY said...

th discussion is going awry i guess..and satyajit will go nuts about the way i may have seemingly dragged his part of discussion and made it a big bang of sorts...i must say..my comments to this came after i read and reread two of his earlier blogs...unleashing a self seeking spirit...the inner life and this one..theres something of a disbelief in people and an ascription of mundaneness to the things in life....which i stand up against..because its only getting to know a person that will give us a better awareness of the situation..who is asking about judgement here because honestly..our job is to do our work and not label lives or works we do not know everything about..and if our work will have merit...it will shine some day or the other...and yes there are questions this guy puts up...dont we all have them? its only living it thts goin to give us the answers...no amount of walling will solve it for us...

enuf of nailing satyajit...i hope and i am sure you will find your answers...keep writing..i hope you do acknowledge my honesty..u will be a tremendous writer some day... just ask someone to link a dic to ur site/book cos i really lack a vocabulary :D

satyajit said...

nutty: i still don't get the entire drift of what you and sucharita are trying to say and am wondering if its the same thing at all...

let me make make things clear...When i address any post to "you," I dont include all strata of society..more importantly, economic state is not an issue i raise herein at all...my question is if everyone is really diferent, as sucharita points out, why aren't there more individualists? one's work (or the thing that one does with most passion) is to an extent a form of expression..if no two people are alike, neither should their work be...now you've hordes of students becoming engineers, and hordes more taking up jobs they're not cut out for and doing the same job irrespective of their bent of mind...and everyone who has been an engineer puts analytical skills as their USP in job interviews...it makes me wonder if we're are analytically brilliant as our CVs do say...

students opt for branches like architecture and civil engineering as the last option...now is this phenomenon equivalent to attuning ourselves in the way we do to reap the rewards of the times (as many will argue)?

you may now argue about the middle class opting for financial security over personal freedom...at what cost but?

education does widen yr horizons and expand the scope of yr imagination but do you see proportional results for a country as big as ours?

with all our diversity we should be making films of the most mindboggling variety but instead we choose to be limited to a handful of stars, a few languages, and cinema that we demarcate as mainstream and arty

the question of generalising without knowing everyone's unique situations escapes me because then i guess none of us can state anything with any degree of affirmation...

by and large, indian society puts people with a humane side on lofty pedestals; however, what they won't accept is a man willing to stand his ground, fighting for his own form of expresion, asserting his individuality.

providing basic opportunities to every child thats born is important; however, that doesn't excuse the second-hand lives that so many of the more fortunate ones lead.

I hope i've got my point across; you can still explain how imitating a bullying father or stealing beacause of childhood travails is relevant to a lack of imagination.

nutty said...

I do not refer to economic stratas or childhood travails either. Thats an "emotional blackmail" type of argument from where I see it.

I do agree that a lot of people tend to pick the trodden path and go on to be engineers or what have you. Like i said it depends on degrees of abstraction. And yes you really can't state anything with any degree of affirmation...

All that I wanted to point out was that most people live the life they choose freely. And rightly so. If it means they're conforming to the majority it is their choice and not for you or me to judge. Individualists exist because a majority exists for them to stand out against, sort of like shadows cannot exist without light and vice versa.

there are many paths to choose from but you choose your own path. whatever it may be. And it is not for anyone but you to judge if that path be right or wrong.

Ergo said...

"And yes you really can't state anything with any degree of affirmation..."

Hmmm... what degree of affirmation is asserted in the above?

"Individualists exist because a majority exists for them to stand out against."

Then they are not individualists, right? Why would an individualist need a crowd to stand out against? That is the opposite of individualism, i.e., other-centrism.

"And it is not for anyone but you to judge if that path be right or wrong."

So, if dearest Satyajit decides to shave his hair off and join the Neo-Nazi skinheads, I have no right to judge and condemn his freely chosen path? Hmm....

nutty said...

awsm!

completely concede to you on all points ergo!

But to Satyajit I just want to say - do your own thing, if people want to be part of a crowd its not for you to judge them. simple words. thats all.

satyajit said...

nutty: if i express my opinion on a subject and that is considered judgemental, then so be it...here i'm not talking abt judging people based on whimsical personal preferences; instead, i'm concerned with abiding by a moral code that is based on sound reasoning... i'm allowed to stand by my moral code and that makes me still stand against a lack of imagination

nutty said...

i didn't mean to offend you! I'm sorry if i did. I believe everyone deserves the life they choose. I only wanted to say if you're truly looking for something beyond the mundane don't waste your energies judging (or taking a moral stand) against non-issues. People are the way they are becoz they choose to be so.
Of course there are any number of arguments against this .. someone has to think of the greater good or someone has to speak up against a prevalent apathy. well if you do so then thats your choice.
Ok this is going in circles! No more from me! :)

satyajit said...

nutty: no, you didn't offend at all..don't bother explaining either :-)