Thursday, March 28, 2013

REMEMBERING MY FATHER




REMEMBERING MY FATHER

As I sit in the shadows with only the computer and the desk lamp on, I look at the date clock it is past midnight and the date 28th March 2013. My father died on 28th March 1963 and today is the fiftieth anniversary of his death. A strange coincidence both the days are Thursdays. I have never forgotten this date for it changed the course of my life. I was pushed suddenly from the carefree joys of boyhood into the hard ground of reality. The images are still vivid in my mind – I watched my father collapse in front me while he was listening to a discourse on the Ramayana in the temple. Later while offering their condolences, friends and relations consoled my mother saying that he had attained eternal peace as he had been absorbed by the lord in the precincts of the temple and while listening to the Ramayana and they said ‘what a way to go!’. But was it the time to go? He was only fifty three years old when he went.

He was a simple man, well qualified and could have risen much higher in his professional life if he had wanted to. The fact that he did not was because he was a contented man. He was well liked by all those who came into contact with him and he was ever ready to help out anyone who came to him. There was a certain serenity on his face that he retained even in his death, the serenity of a simple soul, one that did not cling on to the allurements around. There is so much that I want to write about him, but I have reserved that for my private space. He introduced me to the world of books and that has sustained me through my life.

He was a deeply religious man, but was in no sense an orthodox disciplinarian. He followed what was best for him. He never tried to impose or assert his beliefs over others, even on his children. I was never forced to recite a thousand slokas and believe that salvation was only through them. He was a humanist and taught me as to how important relationships are.

I have always wondered as to how he perceived life, and what his personal philosophy was. I was too young to understand then. It is only now, when I reflect, I feel that he was detached to the extent that he did not want anything for himself but was fully aware of his remaining responsibility and that was me, my brother and sister having already married and settled down. That is why I believe he was not ready to cut himself off, when he was summoned so abruptly to make his exit from this phase of existence.

When I was twenty six years old I wrote a few lines ‘on a father’s death’ which I am reproducing below:

on a father’s death

A decade and three have now passed,
Call it nostalgia or what you will,
My mind wanders back to probe,
Those pictures that persist still.

A brief contortion of the face,
Then, in sublime serenity,
His face set in rigor mortis,
As discolouration worked its way,
In an hour he was a ghostly grey.

Now clothed in white,
As incense filled the room,
Of whispers and monotones,
He lay oblivious of all this gloom.

I had never known what death was like,
Till I saw it on my mother’s face,
But her initial despair soon petered out,
And new resolve took its place.

As I watched this transformation,
Her tears ran out,
And as she clutched me,
I sought refuge in her lap

A decade and three was I then,
A decade and three have now passed,
And my mother smiles,
As she sees my father in my face.

This posting of mine is a way of saying ‘Father I remember you. You still live within me’.





Saturday, March 2, 2013

A SURREAL SUN




A SURREAL SUN

Yesterday I finished a painting and posted it on my facebook wall. This is nothing new for now I treat my wall as a gallery as I do not think that I have reached a level to exhibit my paintings in an art gallery. This painting was special for it was the first time that I painted, not from a picture or photograph, but from my dreams literally. Some people say you cannot dream in colour, I do not know. But I had been seeing a red sun with brilliant yellow skies as a backdrop. Though I do not remember coming across a similar painting I do as a hindsight feel that may be the brilliant reds and yellows in some of Turner’s landscapes or Van Gogh paintings have had an effect on me. The red sun had been haunting me for sometime now and yesterday I finally managed to translate it on to paper.
The painting does not represent the reality as we see it and that is why I titled the painting as ‘Surreal Sun’. Surreal is defined as something that is disorienting and has the hallucinatory quality of a dream, something unreal. For me it was not a question of feeling happy at having finished a painting but one of fulfilment, one of having a translated a dream. The vision no longer occupies my mind.
A number of my friends have liked it and some have commented on it and they are my art critics. A number of them may have genuinely liked it, some may have done it as an acknowledgement of my effort and a few have felt something was missing. It comes back to the way we look at art.
In my posting ‘On Quality in Art’ sometime ago I have stated that -
Our mind functions in two different ways while trying to understand a work of art. One is the through the direct experience of the external world, i.e the immediate perception of an image and through symbolic representation i.e the image plus its mental associations”.
Some look for the details and how close a painting is to the actual subject, some look for symbols and try to fathom the artist’s mind and some are simply overwhelmed by the colours. The evolution of art has moved away from the technical finesse and religious themes to subjective interpretations and impressions. An artist as technically equipped as Picasso slowly moved towards Cubism, his way of looking at the world. Art has moved from Realism to Impressionism to Expressionism to Surrealism and so on. At one point of time it was the patrons be it the church or the monarchy, who were largely responsible for the furtherance of art. As the paintings became more subjective it was the art critic who played a major role and still does for the selling of art to the extent that it has become a commodity.
Ultimately it is you who may or may not like it, for each one has is own perceptions, like the artist himself.