Friday, November 14, 2014

I saw my imagination in flesh and blood

The hobby of interacting with people in the nude, while sketching them, has never failed to inspire me.

In a recently made painting I symbolized life with an image of a strong, curvaceous woman--a figment of my fertile imagination


Last week, I sketched a woman who's a replica of the image I painted to represent my life. I visualized her without having seen her ever. I was bemusing to see my imagination in flesh and blood.

She spoke about her life, challenges and sufferings--some continue to nag her.

Her struggle is similar to mine. She trying to let go of things that seem to linger on with her.

I am confronting the need to confront issues that I can't deal with. 

I know me. I can't avoid me. I can't lie. That's a lie. See, I don't lie.

I feel helpless. But I do my bit. Try not worry about the rest. It's tricky. I do worry.

For the first time, in a sketching session, instead of my subject baring her mind, I felt the need to bare mine to her. I think it's to do with trust.

Usually while sketching, I voice my thoughts, or intuition, to my subjects inspired by experiencing their unbridled self. 

They mostly hear me out, sometimes react, rarely ignore. I mirror my subjects. But during this session, she was reflecting me. I talked a lot about me that afternoon.

My immediate artistic endeavour is to document her by way of a painting. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Berlin Wall that was

The  fall of Berlin Wall or the Berliner Maue is symbolic of the end of the cold war. This happened 25 years ago. The day was celebrated with much fanfare in Berlin: 'Some 8,000 helium balloons have been released into the night sky ' reports BBC. 

The fall of Berlin wall ended an era where not only a territory was divided, but also hearts, on ideological grounds. 

When politics enters people's life, like religion enters political mind-space, is a recipe of disaster. The people pay the price of faulty politics some bigots.

I was a child when the wall was demolished and people were united. I have faint memory of the day. Many of my parent's friends, who happen to be in Berlin on November 9 of 1989 or visited Berlin soon after, carried back an innocuous piece of the Berlin wall with them as mementos and was displayed in the glass-cabinets of their drawing rooms.

On my recent visits to Berlin, there are lingering signs of the two worlds that was--the East and the West, on the either side of now a non-existent Berlin wall. The integration is a continuous process, not yet complete. 

While the Western part is materially richer, and the eastern part, now I am not just talking about Berlin but the whole of Germany, is rich in nature, where industrialization hasn't tempered with the pristine nature in relative terms. The divide is still clearly visible. 

In the East Germany—communal goals decided by the political masters were the guiding force, not the individual pursuits. I was told that a potent in the East Germany a potent, and perhaps one of the very few ways, to assert freedom and individuality was nudity. Still, folks  are far more open to the play of elements on their bare bodies. 

This is a paragraph from my article on my tryst with nudity in Europe [http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/photographic/my-nude-vacation] 'So there seems to be a north-south divide over public nudity. With its cooler climes, the north is ironically far more open to nudity. Sunrays are precious there and summers celebrated. But that doesn’t explain the divide, does it? I asked Jan (Peters—my friend and co-traveler). The cultural split is true of Germany, he replied, but wasn’t sure if that’s so of Europe overall. After all, Spain in southern Europe has dozens of nude beaches; in July this year, 729 people even tried to set a Guinness record for collective nude bathing on a beach near Vera. Jan thought it over. “Nudity was the only significant way of self expression available to people during the GDR time,” he said, referring to East Germany before the country’s unification. It was a way to assert freedom and still is.' 
The old and new Berlin co-exists
In  Berlin, now a hub of cultural emancipation, of self expression by way of art, may seem radical or iconoclastic by erstwhile East Berlin  standards, is about freedom. And the freedom of expression is integrally linked to tolerance, and perhaps, appreciation of the alternative view or way of life.
  
Now a marking on the surface extends were the Berlin wall stood tall till 25 years ago. I stood there spreading my arms wide, on the either side, the east and the west. That we are different, have varied identities, belief and practices is a reason to celebrate, I reminded me. And not fight wars. Or erect impregnable walls. Or homogenize humanity that this globalized and connected world tends to do.

Friday, November 7, 2014

At home in Allahabad.

On a recent visit to Allahabad for a couple of days, I felt at home again, as always. 

It's a great feeling, brings out the worst in me. 


I will try explain what this feeling of 'at home' does to me. 

I make no effort to be anything other that who I am--mercurial and stupid. 

I don't have to prove anything to anyone, they know me very well.

I can argue with my elder brother, say nasty things to him, and he will give it back to me in equal measure. I get away with it. I can be intolerant towards the intolerance of my family members.  

I ask my mother, without slightest hesitation, to consider marrying the second time when she asks me about my marriage plan. Can marriage be planned? It just happens. I am lucky, it hasn't happened to me. So far. 

My prime activity is to hibernate. I sleep like a log, even Sheri's [the new bitch in my life] barking won't interfere my enticing slumber.

I indulge in free flowing gossip, relatives and friends, no one is spared. I vent my frustration on figures of hate, there are many. I talk recklessly with no remorse. I do it all the time. And my family, mother in particular, tolerates me. 

Someone will tell my sister about the harangue, she will call me later, politely ask questions pertain to my mental health. She has one panacea for all my ailments: get married!

And how so ever petulant I may get and misbehave, two hours before I leave  my mother gets sombre, and tell me in many times, "good you came." What makes me syrupy is that she means it.