The spinning earth with dynamic cosmic energies and variable wavelengths is rotating, skewing and stretching every individual’s world. Luck, magic, illusion, wizardry, horoscopy and occultism; all being delusional words of perception are diluting the sagacity of being in the absolute tangible world. As we strolled through the majestic lanes of Kathputli colony, Shadipur Depot, New Delhi, I could recall every expression from Salman Rushdie’s book – Midnight Children. He glorified the ‘Jadui’ ghetto full of magicians, street artists, puppeteers, dancers, snake charmers, acrobats, singers, actors, traditional healers, and instrumentalists. The art is self incepted and caressed to perfection by each individual.
‘Bhoole Bisre Kalakaro ki basti’ is what they call it, as the art is dying and the artists are dying from the death of art. Vinod, who belongs to Rajasthan, is carrying the family’s legacy of manipulating the strings of self made dolls and storytelling for the sole reason to entertain his audience. His experiences are vivid and waving in every respect. His artist neighbors from the slum are frequent visitors of Middle Eastern and European countries. But, the visits are short and not wealthy enough to keep them away from the narrow drains of the slum. The locality was a garland of cocoon where all the residents are tied with pieces of art, and children are willingly learning the traditional activities.
The originators of World famous Indian Rope Trick, Indian Basket Trick and Mango Trick had been the residents of this colony. Their progenies know the secrets to perform these tricks and are still trying their best to preserve the street art; but we, the progenies of fictional science, addicted to technical aspects of life are unaware of the esoteric virtuosity. We move on the rhythms of electronic dance music and we put the tunes of Dholak into oblivion. While the residents of Kathputli colony breathe on the nuances of traditional art forms.
Relocated from Kathputli Colony, Shadipur Depot, the residents faced a lot of problems to settle down. We fear, they might lose on the cultural heritage in the pretext of rehabilitation. Having said that, it is also true that their skills relocated too.
The transit camps are similar to refugee camps. It is one of its kinds of experiment for the redevelopment of the slum by DDA. The residents have inhibitions and concerns due to lack of trust for the authorities. DDA persuaded quite a few residents to shift but the relocation becomes useless, if adequate facilities are not provided. The artist used to get most of their work through phones, so change of location should not be a concern but small businesses were affected.
Anthropologists redefine the word ‘place’ by stating that ‘it is the way through which people constitute sense of being’.
“Social World is not confined to a particular place or marked by a boundary”.
We truly hope that mental world of the residents of Kathputhli colony never gets disturbed.
Geographical relocation might be empowering if the residents are in a happy state of mind, which could result in social and material gains. But, one thing is for sure, every element of Kathputli Colony made it the ‘Jadui Ghetto’, we need to relocate all these elements – the physical, psychological and emotional elements.
By Anuja Sachdeva
The play of shadows and lights is intensive and it reaches the psyche in its purest form. Shadows contain embryonic and enclosed potential of all kinds. Darkness and light co-create and co-exist. Every color has an emotional belongingness. Delayering the folds of this enclosed space exposes us to the immense scope of expanding our horizons.
Anuja rediscovered herself when she met an accident, although she was into designing always. She got into painting to kill time as she wasn’t able to walk due to her broken leg. What started as an activity soon got polished with professional finesse. With great acceptance, she joined the art world and is now exploring her newly acquired skill.
LIFE IN COLORS
The Art Palate, The Club, D.N Nagar, Andheri West, Mumbai
1- 30 June, 2017
11am – 9pm
Imagine the muse in the centre and artists around him/her observing every breath, moving eyelids and trembling lips. The elegance is documented in measured smile and body curves are depicted with bold strokes, but how about watching oneself while illustrating the nuances of one’s features. The first thing that comes to our mind is the perfection of the mirror image. One cannot possibly authenticate the reflection of inner emotions while drawing? Isn’t all about peeping deep into the body vs soul conflict – amalgamation of inner and outer self?
Most of the times it is expressing one’s delusional state through colors and canvas, what we call as a self-portrait, when deconstructed, it narrates the story of the artist’s mind.
Dolce quoted “Titan’s portrait are of such great excellence that there is no more life in the life itself and are all of Kings, Emperors, Price, Popes or other men of stature.”
“ Artemisia’s rape caused her anguish is an admissible hypothesis about her, , but it is not thereby a fact about her art. The story of the artist is not the story of the artist’s art.” (Silvers, 1990, 365) He discounts the idea that circumstances outside of the art itself could in any way contribute to how it is produced and the genius inherent in it — a “purist” interpretation that theoretically effaces the creator in favor of the creation”
– Anita Silvers
Although Selfies are the new self –portraits that freeze time and emotion, the art of creating self portraits can portray clouded emotions, colors of contemporary society, metamorphosis of oneself and the turbidity of time.
Likewise, Neonwhitexyz(Instagram handle- @neonwhitexyz) is an artist who uses vivid colors to glorify psychedelic tenderness. His delusional vision reflects the mirage of life and merges his sub conscious thoughts to his consciousness.
Your sweat drips down your face with no hindrance and your muscles stretches to the maximum – but you give your best shot to climb the hardest of rocks – Ton Sai beach in the Southern province of Krabi, Thailand is every rock climber’s dream. One can see many climbing ropes hanging in a row on a fine day, and the voices of their effort echoes from every direction. It is mesmerizing to watch rock climbers creating their own mark on the stones untouched.
It is a place where artists, bag packers, wanderers, mountaineers, and beach lovers dwell in peace to enjoy the everlasting scenic beauty. If you stay at Railey Beach(mall peninsula between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang in Thailand), then there are two ways to reach Ton Sai – One is the Hansel Gretel Forest Walk and the other is a rocky path. While the forest route is mysterious, the rocky route is adventurous with no sign boards and one can get confused often. I suggest, one must take both the routes to imbibe the true sense of nature.
The tree houses here teleport you to the amazing forest set up of the 18th century where electricity was a farsighted thing. The vividly colored graffiti on the walls are a sign of a revolution that indicates the accumulation of think tanks at Ton Sai. People indulge in music, philosophy, painting and express themselves through different mediums.
Ton Sai is amazingly flooded with cats and insects , which shows how urbanization has taken over and claimed the spaces which truly belonged to all living beings and not only humans.
If you need a break from the monotony, and then Ton Sai is the best place to relax, climb mountains, or to enhance creativity.
How to Reach
From New Delhi
Air Asia Fligts Till Krabi, Thailand
Take a cab till Aao Nang, Long Tail boats or ships can take you to Ton Sai
Colors glorify the white spaces of a canvas and the much desired interplay of strokes and colors create rhythmic alliterations that recite the monologue of a virgin poetry. For centuries different forms of art have played a vital role in shaping the history of mankind.
Early man’s cave paintings, stone age carvings, Egyptian pyramids, renaissance, realism, romanticism, surrealism, abstract and modern art – all these eras dogmatically reshaped, revamped and reinvented the artistic appeal every time. There were constant adaptations and experimentations for creating masterpieces that can stand high on intellectual grounds. Some art forms retained their status and were carried forward by admirers but the others were at the verge of extinction, only to be rejuvenated later.
The “Paper Doll” series by Lisa K. Salerno
“It was unfolded by accident, or perhaps it was by luck? I discovered a dissonant joy and longing in the repeating nameless-faceless forms of the vaguely female shapes I cut while playing with my daughter. While my initial intent was to entertain my little girl with these fun and innocent cutouts, I found myself imagining a story and character for each strand of figures. The repetitive patterns that unfolded reminded me of the ways in which our society so often ascribes stereotypes for each woman; ones that we impose upon ourselves, and ones that are imposed upon us.”
“As the ambiguity of each doll shape faded away when paper, paint, canvas, and pen combined, the narratives of each painting emerged, so too did their titles. Each painting is named in a manner reflective of the way in which it investigates the contradictions and complexity of the female experience, sometimes playfully, sometimes flippantly, and sometimes defiantly…”
“The intricate layers of color in each piece are as unique as the layers that make up each individual. The overlapping and/or transparency of the paper doll shapes symbolize interconnectedness and how through our connections with others,we ultimately become ourselves.”
Lisa K. Salerno is a New England painter, artisan and art writer associated with Lyrical Abstraction, feminism and equality, as well as projects that promote awareness and empowerment of those on the autism spectrum.
In the words of Marx,
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of the soulless condition. It is the opium of the people.”
If religion is a system of dogma for the benefits of a particular sect than analysis has no value but if religion is a construct of moral codes, maintaining decency in society than beliefs and benefits can be kept on the two sides of the balance.
“A view that tries to please both sides of the debate and, like most compromises,
ends up pleasing neither. It stands, it seems, for lack of belief or commitment,
for indecision, for non-engagement.”
-Robin Le Poidevin
The delusional religious beliefs denounce the core of logical questioning, maintaining that curiosity is demeaning and non- believing is blasphemous. Religion and Antagonism beliefs are only parallel in the vicinity and they might intersect in an imaginary world. The foremost argument that vividly distinguishes the two is ‘reproducibility’. Logical and scientific methods are reproducible under pre-defined circumstances, but unquantifiable beliefs cannot reproduce, they have no solutions for a previously worked out problem.
But ‘Faith’ is the master of all trades, we create delusional Gods for our conveniences, a very prominent example can be observed in ‘life of A Pie’ that explains why people who have choices between believing and non-believing go for the former one. It is a perfect agnostic take on voting for the one that is more interesting and accommodating at a given time. At the same time just because one wants to believe in a version that contains fantasy, does not make it the true version.
“If you stumble about believability, what are you living for?
Love is hard to believe, ask any lover.
Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer.
What is your problem with hard to believe?”
– Yann Martel, Life of Pi
About agnosticism as the belief system, Martel has to say the following:
“To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”
– Yann Martel, Life of Pi
A novel of the Second World War “My Name is Five” by Heinz Kohler is another example of how one becomes a believer and a non-believer under different circumstances. Spitfire guns kill the protagonist’s best friend dieter while standing right next to him on a bridge, which makes him curse the existence and belief that someone called God helps people. And at one incident his grandmother died and he keeps on believing that it is because he took out the mark of a 14th person present in a celebration, as in Germany it was believed that 13 people present in a party can be a cause of death for any of the members. And then the ironical statement that “We Germans Fear God and Nothing Else” is shouted by the nationalists throughout the book.
However, the protagonist moves from being agnostic to atheist after he witnesses the cruelty done in the name of God and Religion during World War II.
In ‘The God Delusion’, author Richard Dawkins questions the agnostic beliefs and insists that we look at the available evidence closely and decide on the probability of existence of God. One of the major errors the agnostics make is to confuse God for nature, spirituality and morality. In current scenario, there is a need to understand that God as a phenomena is irrecoverably linked with religion and there is an urgent need to accept or reject this version of God and religion.
“One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.”
– Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Dawkins also contends that most agnostics are actually atheists being nice to the believers and it is time for them to come out of the closet.Also, the question he asks is- do we need evidence for non-existence of a phenomena. If we have so far found no scientific evidence of existence, can we not rule in the favour of non-existence!
Sagan, a self-proclaimed agnostic, however, could not find enough evidence for non-existence of God and hence chose to reserve judgement.
“My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it. An agnostic is somebody who doesn’t believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I’m agnostic.”
– Carl Sagan
You cannot deny that there is something called coincidence and the probability of coincidence is 1 minus the number of events with no coincidence. Here, one can find God in the condition called ‘minus one’ to become a believer, or believe in the pure statistical concept of probability to become a non – believer, or become an agnostic by trusting the instincts of randomness.
Image Credit: jagran.com
Here is a list of movies that we think would have done much better if released later –
Pyaasa: The whole concept of existentialism was dug and presented in the soulful song of the movie “Yeh Duniya agar mil bhijaein to kya hai”. The words of Sahir Ludhianvi transcribes Guru Dutt’s tragic take on this materialistic world that repels soulful emotions. Pyaasa (The Thirsty Poet) runs after recognition and spiritual fulfillment. Waheeda Rehman plays a prostitute who admires his work and helps him in getting his poems published. The lead character played by Dutt is a poet who understands in depth emotions and can truly express the same through his words, but rejected by publishers, his family and the love of his life, he becomes a man of self pity. The narcissism in him takes a front seat. Although a box office hit, we say that the film came much ahead of its time because it was an experimental movie that explicitly exhibited the many aspects of human behavior and possibly the audience was not ready then to take in so much at once.
JhankarBeats: “Boss Kaun Tha, Malum Hai Kya” – Remixing of the old classics with the western beats is what the title stands for. The different sides of relationships among friends, family and lovers were given a different treatment and simultaneously the film is a fine tribute to the maestro of music – ‘R. D Burman’. The dialogues are witty and real with a cast unforgettable – Juhi Chawla, Rahul Bose, Sanjay Suri, Rinke Khanna, ShayanMunshi, and Rinke Khanna. By integrating the sub-plots of the movie that refers to a nagging mother in law, a frustrated wife, a condom ad and a lover who cannot confess, the filmmakers never tried hard to take away the third world problems and keeping it real – the three male protagonists are after winning the competition called ‘Jhankar Beats’, which is not in any way equivalent to ‘the Grammy’ but is important to them just because ‘it is’.
Ijaazat: Who could have ever thought of capturing the complexities of relations with such ease and beauty! Characters are not complaining and their silences are audible. Journey from the waiting room’s darkness to the past life and back to the waiting room was a graceful poetry in itself by “Gulzar Saab”. Maya’s (Anuradha Patel) character -that too in the era of 80’s was even unthinkable. She is the flowing poetry of the movie. She was the beautiful crazy spirit who balanced the abnormal society, even her death signified her radical lifestyle. When Sudha (Rekha) returns Maya’s belongings to her, she enticingly and emotionally asks her unforgettable moments back – ‘MeraKuchSaman ‘- the ultimate amalgamation of lyrics, music and singing for Gulzar, R D Buraman and Asha Bhonsle which can be never resurrected. The mature subject was delicately handled. This movie enhanced Rekha’s elegance and Naseeruddin’s individuality as a person.
Even the ending, when Sudha asks Mahinder for his permission to leave, gives it a perfect start(for a new life)’Ijazat’ to leave him forever (this time). We say, Ijaazat came before its time because Maya’s eccentricity, Mahinder’s interpersonal struggle and Sudha’s mature outlook towards life was too much to take in for the audience then.
Dor: It released way before ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ and claimed feminism in its most simple form. The bond between Gul Panag and Ayesha Takia disregards the popular notion that only boys can be friends, rather friendship as a concept is far more superior to gender, and no matter what gender, one can get motivated to spend some quality time with the other person, irrespective of any reason. This movie based on the lives of two women is intricately woven around overcoming adversity. Released in 2006, the movie was critically acclaied but was unable to drive audiences to the theaters as subtle feminist themes were still unheard of.
‘My Brother Nilkhil’: It was the path breaking film when the mainstream cinema was all about love triangles and romance. Director Onir decided to experiment with the concept of homosexuality and AIDS. With no over sensationalization, the film delayers itself from different angles – how one thing or ailment can change people’s attitude towards you. The movie came as a ray of hope in the country where everything and anything unknown becomes a taboo. However, if the movie was released today, it might have gained a lot more viewership than it had upon its release in 2005.
Monsoon Wedding: Aptly showcasing the madness of the Indian weddings, this movie was way ahead of its time when it released in 2001. The movie has around 5 subplots running simultaneously- a bride still hung up on her lover, a groom who does not know what to expect out of marriage, budding romance of the wedding contractor (an amazing Vijay Raaz), a struggling father-son relationship, a crumbling husband-wife relationship, younger cousins flirting with each other and most importantly, child abuse. The subplot involving Shefali Shah and Rajat Kapoor was wonderfully handled and went on to show how child abuse is a common reality, we do not want to face. With the subtle movies like ‘Kapoor & Sons’ winning the box office, this movie would be a definite success if released today.
Socha Na Tha: This is the most realistic a romantic comedy ever got in India. No virtuous or perfect characters, totally confused protagonists and essentially, no villains or big dispute keeping the lovers apart. It is only the confusion they themselves created that lands them in a mess and both the protagonists actually end up hurting a few people in their quest for love.This is perhaps the first movie in which lovers are not cocksure about whom they love, the importance their lives and family. The debut movie of Imtiaz Ali, this one might have struck a chord with the audience now rather than a decade before when characters were largely black and white.
Lamhe: The bravest movie by Yash Chopra ever! A young woman falling for an older man who was actually smitten by the girl’s mother. The topic itself is a taboo in India where woman taking charge of their own sexuality is unacceptable, the people with younger partners are frowned upon. Even ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, released a decade later, which had a subplot of a young man falling for an older woman, took the safe path wherein the old woman does not reciprocate the man’s love and conveniently dies before the situation needs to become social. Yash Chopra on the other hand makes the protagonists battle their social and moral issues, involves the friends and families in this hot mess of a relationship and gives us a movie which is perhaps still ahead of its time.
No Smoking: The Kafkaesque movie featuring John Abraham and Ayesha Takia might be the most abstract project by Anurag Kashyap. There is no time space continuum, the line between reality and fantasy is blur and there is a hell like place resembling the concentration camps. As per Kashyap’s own version, smoking in the movie is akin to freedom of thought. The wife (secretory in fantasy/ alternate reality) wants ‘K’- the protagonist to stop smoking and ropes in Baba Bengali to make him quit smoking. As per Wikipedia, “the film has an unusual storyline comprising with elements of surrealism, fantasy, dream, reality, horror and dark humour which left critics and the cinema-goers baffled, this was frowned upon by Indian audiences, as it was unconventional, pretentious and they had never seen anything like it.”
JaaneBhi Do Yaaro: A cult classic, this movie bombed at the box office when it released back in 1983. However, it has gained a tremendous fan following in the later years and is considered one of the best movies in Indian Cinema. A black comedy on Indian politics, media and corruption, this movie boasted of an extraordinary ensemble cast with unforgettable performances by Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani and Bhakti Bhave. How can anyone forget the hilarious Mahabharata scene towards the climax which had a Wodehouse like innocence to it? And maybe that’s what lifts the movie above the ordinary – the courage to laugh at ourselves. Re-released in 2012, it received an enthusiastic response from the fans.
Love Sex AurDhokha (LSD): Released in 2010, LSD is an experimental movie shot entirely on digicam and presented in the found footage style. There are 3 largely unrelated short stories on the themes of ‘Love’, ‘Sex’ and ‘Dhokha’ in the movie. The themes of the stories involve honor killings, voyeurism, modern day relationships, media ethics and moral values. The themes as well as presentation of the movie is extremely dark. The typical Indian cine-goer still sees the movies as a form of escape and might not be able to digest such a big dose of reality in a movie. An important film nonetheless, which will leave you thinking for days.
Women wear an artful camouflage – the signature curves, the smooth pastel strokes of luster on the skin and the coquetry behavior make them the muse for many. What goes unnoticed is the spiritual and intellectual inclination that has subdued itself over centuries of dictatorial patriarchy.The world famous artistic paintings have used women bodies as a consumer of passion & love, as a possession of the lover, as a portrayal of chained emotion. Hardly, if ever, we come across such work where men are depicted submissive!
One of the most expensive paintings in the world – Nude, Green, Leaves & Bust by Picasso, the painter’s mistress and muse Marie Therese can be observed in full obedience to Picasso, whereas he is guarding and enveloping his love, also branding her with his own initials PP for Pablo Picasso, a way to make her tied up to him in all forms. The artist always believed, ‘there are only two types of women- goddesses and doormats’, so he depicted Therese as a fertility goddess and positioned her in a submissive way to portray her as a doormat too.
Alternatively, there are artists who have questioned this submissive behavior by women through their work – If we keenly observe the work of Indian artists then many have questioned the taboo surrounding women’s body – Amrita Shergill’s each painting depicted a unique reincarnation for women. Gogi Sarojpal emphasized on the animal instincts of a woman. She perceived woman as KaamDhenu. It was important in the medieval period that women showed animal instincts in her behavioral pattern.
Virginia Woolf’s essay ‘A Room of One’s Own’ analyses the many layers of prohibition because of which we didn’t have great women in art & literature in the Shakespearean era. She imagined a scenario where Shakespeare had a wonderfully gifted sister, called Judith.
She goes on to describe –
“She was as adventurous, as imaginative, as agog to see the world as he was. But she was not sent to school. She had no chance of learning grammar and logic, let alone of reading Horace and Virgil. She picked up a book now and then, one of her brother’s perhaps, and read a few pages. But then her parents came in and told her to mend the stockings or mind the stew and not moon about with books and papers.”
With the given facts of that time, she came up with the most probable outcome –
“She died young—alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the cross-roads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here tonight, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh”
In Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical book ‘Persepolis’, she explains the effect religious restrictions have on women’s intellect and identity:
“The regime had understood that one person leaving her house while asking herself:
Are my trousers long enough? Is my veil in place? Can my make-up be seen? Are they going to whip me?
No longer asks herself:
Where is my freedom of thought? Where is my freedom of speech? My life, is it livable? What’s going on in the political prisons?”
The constant war against women’s intellect had severely damaged the thought process, where the nerves of emancipation have become numb. Even if societies have become so called liberal, these issues have not become archaic but are contemporary in ever form.
On the other hand there is literature like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and ‘Twilight’ which is not supposed to be taken as serious reading but still goes on to form the culturaltone of the society. These works ultimately state that women have a chance at a happy marriage and fulfilling life only if they choose to forgo their identity or have no identity of their own to begin with!
As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie points out in her essay and a TED talk by the same name, ‘We Should All Be Feminists’:
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
As varied the descriptions of women in the arena of art and culture might be, whether it is holding a mirror to society or dreaming a big dream of an equal world, we definitely have a long way to make our women free in their wilderness.
Featured Image Courtesy : The Atlantic
The vagabond soul continues its travel until it reaches the pinnacle of its spiritual gratification. During the journey, it comes across myriad obstacles – the dilemma to face or to escape, to liberate oneself from the shackles of hedonism or to stick around the lingering materialistic aura. Thinkers and poets like Rumi and Tagore, although born in different era had similar thoughts about solving these inner conflicts – both of them had an uncanny resemblance of thoughts about spiritualism, mysticism and romanticism, and were soulfully nomadic, who believed in noble love. Continue reading