{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Thursday, May 17, 2007

On Illness, Jolts and Past...

The last few days in India were very hectic and probably that’s why emotionless. There is no right time to feel right, or is there any right feeling. We feel and forget, and we feel again, and try to throw things in the dustbin of past. What we feel seems so random and misplaced that it seems like a trick played by nature to keep us busy. But sometimes, after a while, patterns emerge, some things keep coming back, others wither away, may be to come back at more unexpected times. Two things kept coming to mind in those last days. One is quite personal; other is more of a by-product of random thinking.

My last few days in India were hospital-bound. Three of my close relatives and family friends, old and not too old, were unexpectedly admitted to hospitals and were diagnosed with serious illnesses. Taking rounds of ICUs, general wards and homes, seeing people you have known for long, drugged and tired, talking with effort, is not a good feeling. People sitting next to them say things like "You cant share someone’s illness", and it seems so true at that time, not that you want to share anything but it reasserts that they alone will bear it, and you helplessly try to make peace with the fact that they are enormously loaded with pain. Does illness of loved ones humble you? Or it just makes you fearful that you will age too? I don’t know but to see people, whom you have seen upright, talking to you, scolding you, unable to talk and recognize you, brings a feeling of eventual collapse. If everything in you and people you know, will end so mercilessly, why try to be so smart and clever in life, and then comes a thought rushing, probably thats why, just to keep us busy and going. A thought of achieving a simpler life, closely knit with the knowledge of its futility, passes by unnoticed and we again stand here, as clever as ever.

The other thought originated from the Tarkovsky's quote at the end of this post. The quote talks about the momentary influence of art on the viewer; it says that art just provides a jolt -the occasion for psychical experience. Viewing this quote from the other side one might ask - when does an artist create [good] ?, I think it comes out as a jolt too. I acknowledge the role of past experience to create and shape up such flash, and the need of afterthought and introspection to polish the ideas to convey them. But I think the idea and the urge to create sparks from that momentary jolt. We all get such jolts through art or personal experiences (like the humbling in case of illness of a loved one) and we quickly try to forget them to move on but an artist stays and observes.

The main point, which may not be anything new or can be utterly superfluous, is that a person can become an artist when he has the ability to stay with the jolt for a longer time than others. It is not to say that an artist understands all the times, but to say that an artist elongates those moments of understanding to create something out of them, yet utterly personal. If we would like to consider the creative life-time of an artist as a better person, a more open and understanding person, then we can try not to nip the jolts, not to trash the past.


Vidya said...

For some reason this post reminded me of one of the questions a yaksha asks of Yudhishtira.What is the most amazing thing in this world.Yudishitira replies that we see creatures age and die every day but we still carry on.May be this is what the creative urge is, to immortalize something.Yes, it's true that artiste realizes this and tries to immortalize his experience while the others let them be buried along with them.

anurag said...

Thanks Vidya,

Also the people who lack skills (may be not the stupid urge) to create (like me), can also ponder on those jolts, and try to be them for some more time !