Legacy of the artist

I have always been fascinated with art and the artists who create it, and what drives them to do it. The fascination is rooted to some extent because of my scientific mind that relies on observations, measurements and proofs. Art, on the other hand, leaves things unexplained as if it has given up on the world as we understand, given up on the norms, which made me wonder about its relevance. With time, as I discovered more and more about the empirical nature of science, the dry and circuitous nature of philosophy, the tribulations of leading a life replete with conflicts, I started to experience art from a different perspective. I started wondering if art contains the answers, the answers that science, philosophy and my experiences failed to give because they left nothing to the imagination, nothing for me to contemplate on. Art in its ever incomplete thesis, forces me to look beyond my scientific, conditioned mind, emotions, prejudices and such, to rediscover myself.

So why am I rambling instead of getting on with the post, you may ask. I wrote the above lines to justify why I keep posting so much about art and more so about the artist. This being the last in the series might come as a relief though, hope you enjoy.

Previous posts in the series:
Evolution of the artist
Revelation of the artist

Just like the Adam and Eve
forfeited the heavenly Eden for a fruit
are we wired to go for the forbidden
the so-called sins and short-lived pleasures
or do we seek a permanent bliss
that the Gods didn’t intend for us.
Is beauty in this world an artist’s fleeting thought
or is it a reality he discovers from absolute nought
is art a figment of ephemeral occurrence
or is it a construct of empyrean permanence.

On a daunting mission
to find the answers
to everything he was told
he already knew
everything that is, will be
and forever hold true
privations in love, faith and trust
he willingly went through.
In the pursuit of capturing
the ubiquitous elusive eternity
he learnt to discern the beauty
in everything, not just the material entities
toiling hard to capture this vision
in a way to masses that he can share
his life was spent in numerous creations
all intending to lay that enlightened soul bare.

A song you think of
when you look into your lover’s eyes
a rapture in the silence
after the beats and the rhythm dies
a smile that creeps in
when you remember your kind, forgiving act
a forgotten truth that hits
as you close the eyes to open your intellect.
His desires were not wealth, fame
or to be a part of the worldly games
but, as you witnessed and felt his creation
he craved to be part of the experience too
so he could witness the latent bliss in his soul
infuse everything inside and around of you.

Forget him, he didn’t care
his life, his suffering he never wanted to share
tending to which the artist grew
his world slowly transforming
unlike the life that we all spend
in a constant struggle to oppose pain
in embracing it, relishing it
he managed to destroy or probably disarm
harnessed pain to create his art
and a sublime world that resonated in disdain.
As we face the work he has accomplished
we see the reflection of the progress
an evolution and a revelation of his pain, his aching soul
conscience clouding the inherent contradictions
a life he lived defying norms, in unfounded self-pity
as the creator, the audience and the critic he,
the sufferer embodied in a coalesced trinity.

Hopelessness of love
enhances its beauty
absurdity of death
gives life the meaningful brevity
calming refuge of faith
a trust in the unknown
such illusions expose us
with their tricks and such vagaries
rendering our existence meaningless
vulnerable, we adopt the facades and the lies.
A path from the void winding into nothingness
life triumphs in the journey to its ecstatic death
and a triumph of soul is in seeing through
the futility and despair of sticking to a faith.

Art delights in rejoicing
these illusions with a romantic defiance
life is all about embracing
the failure of reason and joining the artist’s stance.
When everything, including you breaks
or starts to seem like a futile fallacy
to console you, to salvage you,
his art he left as his prophetic legacy.


On guilt and persecution…

There was water everywhere, imparting a sense of panic within. It is not that I am scared of water; on the contrary, I have always liked the sight, sound and even the feel of water on my body. Swimming in my opinion is the most exhilarating thing one can do when alone and want to be alone, erasing everything else around. The presence of a water body always enhances the beauty of any place, I can spend hours watching the ocean play with the winds, lakes undulating under the morning breeze, even the muddy pools, those leftovers from a recent bout of rain makes me long for paper boats, splashing it on an unsuspecting passerby and such insipid, innocent fun.

But the water that surrounds me now is different, it’s unbearably blue almost as if I am looking at a summer sky, or maybe it is the sky. There is only so much that delineates the ocean and the sky at the horizon, here though I felt like I am standing in the middle of the world on a rock projecting from the tranquil pristine water pervading all tangible dimensions as if I am finally able to see eternity. This vision though calming when juxtaposed with my presence makes me feel like a blemish and the asphalt rock my darkened soul that is holding me steady. I turn my head to find the unchanging waters stare back at me from every direction and with such serenity that it blinds my eyes. I squint and peer at it for some deviation, some distraction in this aquatic perfection, only to discover that it is shallow. The limpid water even lets me see the bed of sand so clearly that I can make out it’s not sand, the surface is polished and possesses the same color as the vitrified tiles in my room. This realization strikes me hard, I could just get off the rock and start walking, these are not dangerous waters and there is no reason why I must get this feeling of extreme unrest, why must I accept I am some deformation in the perfect creation and scheme of things. But try as I may my legs won’t budge. Any movement or change from the state I am seems fraught with an ineffable danger, a danger of crossing the thin line that separates uncertainty and futility.

Thus I am left with no choice but to ruminate, not just on this particular situation and the internal dilemma but about everything that my mind with its limited abilities would allow me to ponder about. As soon as you do that, giving your mind a free rein to analyze a unagreeable situation the first thing it brings up is guilt. If guilt had a face it won’t be able to wipe out the smirk, or at least mine wouldn’t be able to. Is this some kind of retribution, guilt suggests, the smirk getting a chuckle for company. I have never committed any crime in the purview of the laws that qualify crime and decide the fate of criminals. But my guilt feeds on the many moral and ethical transgressions, I have; for instance, been cruel to the point of harming people who loved and cared for me. There were and always will be reasons and justifications for my actions, not of the usual namesake or the superficial kind either. I truly believe in them. This is what my guilt smirks at maybe, but do I care or do I act snobbish with my educated reasoning for the most disconcerting actions. I say disconcerting because it affected others in a way I cannot really understand, behavior of people who get close to you invariably end up baffling you.

Once you handle guilt with such high-handed dismissal, the next thing your mind throws at you is the feeling of helplessness, an enquiry into what is fair and what is not. Why am I being persecuted I start thinking. Why should I be in this absurd place, who decides the course of my life, is there any logic that drives our existence, is there a free will. If I was selfish and in the process hurt people, or to be more specific two people and probably a few more, and a dog, then somewhere in the grand vision of this arbitrary arbiter they would be found equally responsible. I don’t so much remember the details of why I broke up with the girls but I vividly remember the dog and the incident in the dark of the night. It barked for no apparent reason, I did what it takes to get it silenced. Also, I am not even sure if it was much hurt because it ran back to his compatriots, who looked at me in synchronized vision making me take flight. As for the people, they were much better off without me as I was without them in my life, so in a way in the bigger picture I did the right thing and for everyone’s good. So why am I stuck here; why do I still feel guilt; why am I helpless; unable to move.

The answers dawned upon me with a shock; an alarming shock to be precise, originating from the inconsiderate phone lying hidden among the folds of the bed sheet, or probably lying on the floor next to the bed kicked out during one of my usual subconscious acts that dramatically end in my waking up with a bad hangover. Dramatic I say because more often than not, after the nights when I ingest more poison that I know I am capable of digesting, I find myself waking up diagonally opposite and in complete disarray that it takes a few seconds to register I was sleeping, and the world is still sane.

PS: I had misgivings about posting this, but decided in favor because of the disturbing and yet amazing images from the mostly reconstructed dream.


Love in the time of social media

when love, emotions and such feelings
were still expressed by the betraying tender eyes
not with twitching fingers making random tinderly swipes
FA fell in love with FD at the first accounted sight
with all his heart, in abandon and seemingly no foresight
she too felt something in her reluctantly stir
her heart missed a few beats but recovering, the affair grew
an unannounced love without likes and comments except just two.

love stories fester
when the lovers run out of ideas
so here we introduce the boy
to the dad, furious that he was
promptly asked the girl to forget
he took her to a land far away
so that the boy couldn’t bring shame
or write poetry to her every other day
love now distant and restrained
resorted to exchange of words on the phone
but the phones meant for romantic talks
betrayed lovers and became suddenly smart
people started communicated with lols
announced everything from death to farts
time and tide wait for none –
offline, the lovers soon realized
while he scoffed at the idea
she picked up and got her timeline apprised
books of paper turned into books of faces
that came foraging into all human lives
a profile he must create he mused
her timeline though already had a million likes.

meeting after her return
saw love take a different turn
this was a mistake, she said,
your old ways I have no choice but to hash spurn
you know nothing about hashtags,
tweets or even basic selfies
I need someone presentable,
with following, one of the modern social guys
we must part ways sooner rather than a tweet later
for you don’t even know there exists
something called an instagram filter.

he left with a heavy heart
and heavier cryptic terms
making love he realised has moved from
unfastening to liking with buttons
but he toiled and when he thought
he was getting a hang of this new game
we let JU of the viral videos enter
one of twitterati with unsurpassed fame.

JU looks at her profile, the selfies and tweets
proposes with fanfare in every media before even he greets
friends, followers, solicitors, well wishers
ask what more does she need
the dad gets to hear about it
even in his customized news feed
so with an unsure heart and a blushing tag
she changes her relationship status
FA watches the update from his blooming account
and hits the like without much fuss.

resolving to make himself worthy
outdo JU but return when the famous has gone
unrequited love drives incessant passions
he soon became master of all social mansions
many a chat sites he visited, many he trolled
he learnt to have an opinion on everything
be it rabbits, guns, religious debates or whatever did unfold
with an unrivalled following many women he seduced
but every update from FD
roused his undying love, got his libido reduced.

meanwhile the married couple ruled the social sites
making people acknowledge their conjugal bliss even the wedding rites
the days started with breakfast pics and ended with night selfies
not finding the sought love FD though never tweeted the stifled cries
and one fortuitous day fighting his pet peeve JU fell from grace
got his accounts blocked, choked and was put of the race.

hearing about the demise FA came flying
not forgetting to post a feeling sad at the dying
proposed FD immediately that got rejected vehemently
years of waiting didn’t deter our determined lover
perseverance and persuasion
with the preceding hashes did make a mark
FD united with FA, love consummated
without tags or updates, in the dark
deactivating their accounts
both now floated in the river of oblivion
true love might have won but without a post
it doesn’t register in the grand social vision
love in the time of social media is not poetry
says PS winking at you, it’s just ESP having some fun.


You and I, me!

you bemoan our thoughts, never resonating

I delight in the footsteps always rhyming.

you read to lose yourself in your books,

their similes, metaphors and images.

I seek to find myself in everything I peruse

subtexts, layers, pauses between the pages.

looking for magic in a reality mundane, you let out a sigh

perceiving reality in everything magical gives me a high.

the romantic song you listen tapping your foot, enchanted

reminds me of a dirge for exhumed memories unwanted.

you embrace the brilliant sun, I serenade the lilting moon,

a sensitive son who will inevitably fall through.

you are the detached reason, I the reckless action,

a virile daughter consumed by her insatiable passion.

always in dissonance you plot a sweet revenge

introspecting afterthought though desires you to change.

I am no different in that intimate scheming aspect

disgust I show, but for you I have unfounded respect.

so we decide to meet between the gray horizons

vast meadows of oblivion where the sagacious stars shone.

wavering between a grueling duel and a riveting duet

lucid glow the flaws in the cogent arguments as we fret.

looking beyond the facade and everything we thought we knew

I see the mirror, I see you, and sadly you do too.


maverick in the infernal tavern

pirouetting silhouettes

chiding the guides

minstrels sing spells

mutilating masses

in mesmerizing lights

phallic philosophers

partaking paradoxes

belch benedictions

on genuflected generations

a body nondescript

or a tavern lost in crypt

their netherly wine

tastes mildly of

a heavenly brine

sipping which the heretics

disdain mystics, religion

and such populist designs

incarcerated souls fight

the reverberating

incantations galore

cringing, craving love

and a freedom promised

beyond the pearly door

lacerated languid lovers

levitate on licentious lust

making agonizing agnostics

squirm as their prized

convictions go bust

anguished metaphors

pilfer the reluctant poets

while paraphrasing scribes

pay the unrequited debts

marvelling at such

metaphysical manifestations

the maverick stops writing this treatise of vice

imbibes the poison, amidst guffaws, rolls another dice.


The irresistible charm of music

There is just one thing that philosophers from various schools of thought and inclinations agree upon. It is the questions that they collectively ask, those that emanate from philosophical ruminations. These questions range from life, universe, God, existence, behavior, dreams and cover just about everything a human mind is capable of inquiring about. The nature of such questions are universal in nature, in the sense that they don’t discriminate between instances. Questions about existence, for example, applies to all equally. The same goes for enquiry into the metaphysical aspects of an emotion, say love between two individuals, the same question applies to both.

This plethora of questions has kept on adding up forcing mankind, starving for answers to take refuge in science, faith, religion and such systems of well structured beliefs. The reason why we have failed to address these questions in a satisfactory way lies in the conflicting premises of these questions and their probable answers. The questions may be universal, but the answers as it is more or less established are existential in nature. This unique combination brings to the arena the human endeavor of art. Art fits so well in this situation that the lines between art and philosophy have been flimsy since the earliest known civilizations.

Art, in its various forms attempts to answer the philosophical questions but it does that with an implicit approach. The artist tenders the answers for mass consumption but stops short from getting down to detailing, the intention and thesis is neither defined nor defended. This indirect approach makes art susceptible to attack from the philistines and fundamentalists. On the other hand, this circuitous nature of the presentation allows the individual to investigate further without external aid, it acts as a guidance on the path to discovery of the answers to the posed questions, paradoxes and dilemma that confounds the individual. This individualistic aspect of art might explain our fascination for it, a fascination that has pervaded time and space. To further elaborate on the idea, let’s take a painting and its import on the individual. It might evoke the feeling of longing, act as an exposition of love for one, while another person may derive a sense of peace, or an answer to the question on the apparent futility of existence.

Comprehension is essentially a sensory phenomenon, or at least it is stimulated by the senses. The wise men and seers may advocate detachment from senses and urge us to inculcate a method of understanding that comes from insulated meditation. What they also say, which is usually found in subtext is you need to envisage the world with enough lucidity as presented to you through the senses to appreciate the inadequacy of the sensory perception.

Art in its attempt to come up with answers to the eternal questions appeals to the senses, at least at the first glance. The purpose is half fulfilled in this appeal, as it triggers the latent sensibilities and inchoate profundity present in every human. What follows then is the path taken by the individual beyond the realms of physiological limitations of the senses and psychological limitations of a cognitive mind. This realm is visceral, a personal space that obliterates the existence of everything else, one that transcends the conditioning received over ages, it is that world within that defines the essence of the individual or soul as the romantics and poets would prefer to call.

Most forms of art are about visualization, they are meant for the eyes and even if it is not the case, they would require one to keep the eyes open. The intended transport to the surreal world happens with intermittent closing of the external eyes and opening of inner ones. But it is still intermittent, one can’t get away without the visuals and in this process one is inadvertently aware of the external world thereby impeding one in the unobstructed flight, the dive into the soul.

Music may be the only art that doesn’t rely on eyes for perception, it actually demands the listener to close the eyes and feel the art. As soon as we do that, we are cutting off the rest of the world, people around us, emotions we struggle with and the questions that confound us. The quest is expedited by the prerequisite. It’s easy to critique or discuss a painting, a book, a poem, dance, sculpture and almost about every possible form of art, because the critic visualizes the piece in juxtaposition to the external or peripheral reality. Thus the criticism is understood by masses since they also perceive it in similar circumstances, similarly a discussion on a piece of art remains pertinent. When it comes to music, and here we might leave out the lyrics which might require a rephrase. So, when it comes to pure music it’s almost impossible to critique, discuss, analyze or do anything that might require others to be in the same plane as you, or having the same perception as yours. At most one would give a verdict, the music is good or it is not. Equally impossible it is thus to find a person who doesn’t enjoy music.