Saturday, 24 December 2016

#5 Dear Me: Where I Question Life, Thank Virginia Woolf and Comfort Vincent Van Gogh

Dear Life,

I remember images. They stay with me. I have never been able to remember things for example, where I kept my glasses before hitting the bed or where I put down the book I was reading last. But, I can recall suddenly vivid images of places, moments, people... and they may not be great bookmarks in my life. Yet, I remember them clearly,

So, a few days back, I had this flash from the past. I remembered one afternoon in college. There was sunlight streaming through the windows. I saw myself sitting in a feminist haze of golden yellow that made everything around me opaque. I was sitting somewhere in the middle of a class full of students - I knew they were there though I never saw them in my flash of memory. But, I saw our petite and beautiful professor quoting Virginia Woolf to explain 'Stream of Consciousness':

“Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semitransparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.”

I was really impressed by the quote. To me with my perpetually hazy and myopic vision it may have hit a bullseye on my young and impressionable self. Who knows? Perhaps that is the reason why I suddenly remembered that day.

This quasi-opaque luminous halo has been chasing me around like a mist for a very long time. Some call me a dreamer, others perhaps worse. But, that has not changed a single thing for me.

Thanks to Ms Woolf, I always knew subconsciously that life would not be a straight and narrow path. She had indeed promised that life would be an adventure and I saw myself riding the rough waves and winning. It pleased my young self a lot.

It's therefore not strange that I remember that day and those non-descriptive yellow walls of the lecture theatre with such clarity.

In the years since, I've had my slips and victories and falls but, have pushed ahead and enjoyed the ride all through.

Dear life, today I suddenly wanted to thank Ms Woolf for that quote. Maybe she can read this post in her afterlife or maybe it will be conveyed to her by the universe in general. I have hope that after today, she will know.

Life is definitely unplannable. It cannot be put into neat little compartments to be opened at will or left to be incubated for the right time to hatch. Hell! I can't even hatch a plot by plotting it when I write a story! It just happens and so does life.

The other day I chanced upon an information so astounding that I was blown away. It seems that the Impressionist movement was spearheaded by artists who were actually myopic. The great French masters like Monet, Renoir and Degas, suffered from shortsightedness and thus drew from their - you got it right - impressions. Had they planned it, it could not have worked any better.

For once I was so glad to be a myopic since childhood. No wonder ma says I cannot smell danger even when it is staring me in the eye. I only see the deep green haze of jealousy, the red of anger and myriad other colours that all look so vivid to me.

I love colours. They fascinate me. That make me happy hence, I ignore all other signals that wish to emit. No wonder I trip and fall so often, but, I hardly take my fall badly. It's all good. It's all experience.

However, I sometimes worry about Vincent Van Gogh. His was the most beautiful mind that saw colours and patterns in everything around him. Yet it took a couple of generations to figure it out.

I wish I could also find him somewhere and tell him not to despair. I see his despair in his art - even in his most celebrated works. The decaying flowers, the scavenger crows circling ripe and harvested fields, the barrenness of the vistas, the gnarling of the branches, the claustrophobia that I can smell from his painting of his bedroom. I just want to shake his hands once and quote Ms Woolf to him.

I just want him to be happy. Wherever he is. Because despite his towering talent, he did not have my indomitable spirit thanks to Ms Woolfe's quote.

And here is what I worry about, dear life, that despite the spirit, there is a vital flaw in my thinking. It is self-criticism. I am always criticising the last thing I have created. I can never be happy with the end result of anything I have finished working on. I hate it when someone says they have read or seen my writing. I believe they are all making it up to make me happy.

I wonder at times if it is a big flaw or a small one. I wish someone could answer the question honestly.

I am my fiercest critic. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Should I not be proud and self-promotional in my attitude?

As an artist, I cannot be untrue to myself. My inner artist has very lofty tastes. It refuses to settle for anything less. It insists that I look at myself and rediscover, recreate and rework everything I make from food to hanging up a print on the wall.

It keeps searching for that elusive state called perfection that is practically impossible to achieve. Or is it? Because, it keeps telling me that it is possible.

I await your answer.

Get back to me soon.



1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately there was no hope for Vincent, there was no recognition or treatment for bipolar disorders or depression in his time. But what he accomplished was phenomenal, he did his best and made his mark in spite of all his problems that life gave him. I find that inspirational.


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