Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Oh, Those Creative People.
(Disclaimer: Do not read this if you are either thin skinned or an easily offended type. This post contains vitriol, invective and absolute truths. If you recognize yourself anywhere in this post, then rest assured it is really you. Read on at your own risk. Or better still, do yourself a favor and dont read beyond this point.)
One of the things I would blame on the mushrooming of social media is the ease in the disbursal of the “creative efforts” of our friends and acquaintances on multiple on-line platforms with the expectations that everyone on their friends list should like and appreciate their amateurish efforts. Don't take me wrong but I am like every one else, a connoisseur of fine art, but what I cannot abide is the execrable creations often shared on social media platforms by over enthusiasts in the effort to prove that the person is also creative. Everyone but everyone seems to be following this new trend. Everyone is now doodling, drawing and sketching imagining themselves as modern day Rembrandt's. Everyone is writing books and thrusting them on unsuspecting Facebook followers as the next great classic in the Hemingway and Faulkner heritage. And so on and so forth.
Previously there used to be a limit to which this kind of self promotion would go on. They could hire an art gallery, hang their sketches and invite a few selected friends to wine and dine at the gallery and said friends would go just for the free booze and offer a few inane comments while secretly laughing in an aside at the pretentiousness of the creativist. But now that social media has brought the gallery directly to your screen, even the limited inducement of free booze to digest those horrid doodles is now missing.
Imagine the shock of switching on your Facebook account on a calm morning and suddenly being faced with the “creative arts” (i am being sarcastic, of course) of a Facebook acquaintance staring straight at you. And if the said acquaintance is a pretty female rest assured the continuous likes and comments from male admirers will keep the post on top of your news feed for at least a couple of days.
Its even more so with novels- aspiring authors add you as their facebook friends with the sole intention of using you as beta testing drones. They start of slyly by talking to you about books generally, favorite authors, then inquiring about whether you have any idea of turning novelist, sending you a few motivating messages about jumping on to the, say the NANowrimo bandwagon and then when you are lulled by their solicitude they unleash their latest creative effort work-in-progress on you and demand that you provide candid feedback.
If and when you provide any such candid feedback, god forbid, they will unfriend you on Facebook, block you on watsapp and go bad mouth you on all other online forums for not being supportive and encouraging enough. Forget the fact that they cant write a leave letter to save their lives- they have imagined themselves to be a great novelist, their bosom friends have all agreed and you better fall in line or else.
I wouldn't mind so much if any of these newbie creators can actually write something half way readable. But the truth is, they just dont have it in them. Creativity and talent can never be achieved by hard work – you can train for a thousand years, but you cant write like Dante. Artists, atleast the sublime ones are just born and not made. You can be a published writer but your work will not stand the test of time as it will not be able to bridge the gap between being a book and being art.
Now why are these people so intent on inflicting their agonies on us? Two reasons I would say- the first one is the ubiquitous mushrooming of engineering graduates who have scant interest in engineering. They have either not worked hard enough at their engineering studies, learnt enough to be a good engineer or they are just plain lazy. Not being able to shine in the profession they choose and studied for, they assume their creative talents merely need an outlet for them to make it big – forgetting that if you cant even do the basics right you can never get anything right. They take up all the pent up frustration at being also-rans in their respective chosen professions and release that rage on the unsuspecting art world- thus you have engineer trained doodlists, engineer turned artists, engineer turned novelists.
While the best engineers in the world , the really talented ones build great houses, great bridges, great nuclear reactors, even beautiful software codes with nary a bug in them and where the brevity of the source code will bring tears to your eyes with the sheer artistry by which so much is attained with so few lines of code. Such artists showcase their creative talents in their respective fields, they transcend the limitations of their own field with works of art destined to last a lifetime while the other kind, the failures at their own profession who crib about how boring their jobs are, aim for instant stardom via a book or a canvas and a load of pliant on-line friends who sing their hosannas for them.
The second reason is universal – it is the wide spread belief that everyone can do everything. This is the same mentality that rewards mediocrity and ass licking in bureaucratic setups as the incompetents rise beyond their own levels of incompetence. Not everyone can be an airline pilot who effortlessly flies a 747, not everyone can be an F-1 driver and drive like Michael Shumacher did, not everyone can be a good enough tennis player like Andre Agassi and retrieve everything sent against him, not everyone can run a hundred metres under ten seconds and not everyone can be a neurosurgeon who navigates the living brain while the patient is still awake. Everyone cant do everything. Oh they can try, i am not saying they cant. They just cant have that sublime touch the superior confidence of doing something so effortlessly that it looks natural when its done by them.
Finally, art like anything else in this world is highly subjective what i find offensive you might find fascinating but taste is a matter of choice. And so to safeguard my sensibilities i am actively considering shutting down my facebook, twitter and watsapp accounts to escape the ceaseless assaults on my fine senses and my refined tastes. Its either the Sistine chapel or none for me. Save me, save my aesthetic sense.
P.s. I have deliberately left out talking here about all the camera owners masquerading as photographers and whose idea of a balanced composition is using photoshop to make a color picture into black and white. They have their legions of followers going hoo and haaa as they are mostly young, female and pretty. I think they deserve the honor of an entire blogpost by themselves. So hold on for part 2 of this post.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
I sat there watching her sleep. I knew she woudnt want me to but i still did. After all what she didnt know woudnt hurt her would it She had been complaining of bad dreams, of nightmares, of something slithering and crawling over her as she slept. And she coudnt sleep deeply anymore as she feared to experience it again. And so there i was to watch over her in my self appointed role as her guardian, to sit in a corner of her room and watch that nothing evil came to her while i watched over her. From where i sat in a shadowed corner of the room, the better to let her sleep undisturbed- i could see just her face and her neck in the moonlight. The soft light framed her hair as an halo around her face. She looked so ethereal when asleep - compared to how she acts when awake- that i felt a slow yearning to reach out and caress her as she slept. To run my finger through her hair and twine a strand around one. To bend down and softly kiss her there - low down on her neck where it joins her collar bone. To blow softly near her ears in the hope of startling her. To give her a hickey - a small love bite on her throat - right in the small of her throat where she usually dabs a bit of perfume in the mornings. To slowly put my cheek against hers and rub it softly with the rough bristles of my beard rubbing against her silky skin. And using my lips and tongue to taste her- her forehead, the bridge of her nose, her ears and her cheeks. But not her lips - no, never her lips- those long slit like lips she kept tightly closed as she slept - unless she woke up and invited me to them. As i sat there running these things through my mind, refining them more and more in my imagination, i saw the window lightening with dawn outside. Time for me to leave, to fade, dissolve with the dust and float out on those sunbeams for my kind are not allowed to walk this earth in the light. She would wake up later in the morning - after a deep sleep with no nightmares and woudnt even give a glance to that corner where on a dusty old chair i had perched all night - watching over her - her very own guardian angel - to return again another night
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Interviewer: welcome, please take the seat opposite.
Candidate: thanks. (grins nervously)
I: we have gone through your basic biodata which you had mailed us but before we get into the nitty gritty of stuff, how about you give a brief introduction about yourself?
C : Hmmm, specifically which areas would like me to elaborate?
I : why dont you start from the beginning - your schooling, college, and work experience and then we will get into your personality and current job experiences- you know, fleshing out the details from your basic biodata.
C: my school and college reminiscences? How relevant are they to this discussion?
I : isnt that for me to decide? When someone refuses to talk freely and holds back things then it does look suspicious doesnt it?
C : not necessarily. What if i had the usual boring school life and college days- filled with studying all the time and usual student pranks with friends – a typical teenager thing?
I : well that does tell me you could be a staid boring character, someone not necessarily looking for adventure in his life and afraid to take risks
C: whoa, isnt that quite stretch from what i told you. Well, what if i told you that i had a pretty wild rockstar past and i was heavily into the grunge music scene and i used to get into fights a lot before i matured and wisened up?
I : hmmm...that tells me that you wouldn't hesitate to lie on the spot to impress me by making your personality reflect our requirements?
C: your requirements? What are they? Why wasn't i informed about them earlier?
I : but we have just started. Its far too early to get into our requirement list. I have a prepared 20 point questionnaire to which you have to answer yes or no and depending on your answers i would ask you to elaborate on certain points or not.
C: A questionnaire? 20 separate questions? Oh my.....and here i am winging it on the fly. I had never even thought of coming prepared.
I : Precisely. You are like all the other candidates i have interviewed till now- absolutely no clarity about what you want to do with your life which is sure to lead to a mess later on. My way is better- to clarify things right at the outset so there are no misunderstandings in future- no fights and heartbreaks.
C: But, but doesn't that make it all business like? Doesn't it take the romance out of the situation? The slow teasing? The learning about things one by one. The understanding of the other person as time develops and a slow ripening of feelings. I thought that was the essence of dating.
I : well, i see you are a regular rip van winkle. Where have you been all this time? Hiding in a cave? All that you speak off is so old school- something which school kids do when they date for the first time. We are both two mature responsible adults checking to see if we are compatible enough to marry, we dont have the time to do the slow dance now- i would advice you to get out of your fantasy and open your eyes to face reality. I see now that you are totally unprepared for marriage and never given a though to what follows next. Would you like to take a break to go home and consider all your options?
C: Yes. Thank you. Damn, I really feel my age now. I guess romance is now officially dead. Its all crisp business like dealings now. But what the hell, let me be the last romantic on earth and marry for love. I cant coldly select someone based on whether they pass my test or not. I would rather tear up my list if they touch my heart. I want to fall in love with a stranger and marry a girl because she completes me and not because she is compatible with me. Even if in every little thing we are opposites, as long as there is a spark of romance between us- i want to go for it. If that makes me a fool then let me be one happily.
I : i pity you. You seem to be good man but with strange fantasies about life. I hope you dont get dis-illusioned. I think you have confused a marriage proposal with a “proposal”. The two are quite different and i am surprised that for an otherwise intelligent person you still havent realized the difference. You should think about this before wasting any more of others time.
C: yes i should and i thank you from the bottom of my heart for straightening things out. Its been very enlightening talking to you. You have made realise things about myself which i never cared to think through till now. I realise that in the eyes of the world I might look like a fool, a romantic fool and i am probably destined to die single and all alone. But let me be the way i am. I dont think i can be happy marrying a girl for reasons other than liking her. I just cant coldly marry a girl just because she has studied a certain degree, works in a certain field or earns a certain amount. It just woudnt feel right with my heart and my conscience. Sorry for taking up so much of your time. Bye.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
I believe in being strong when everything else is going wrong
I believe in unicorns and pots of gold at rainbows end
I believe in happy girls being the prettiest girls ever
I believe that a nice smile is headier than even a vodka high
I believe we live just once and its better to blurt it than keep it in
I believe my friends are the best even if my enemies are all the rest
I believe in peoples words and that they will stand by them
I believe in soul mates and that everyone has someone sure
I believe the time is now, to stand up and say i do and always
I believe that people leave only to find their way back soon
I believe we are born a way and we cant just turn someone else
I believe its logical to tell people when we believe in them
I believe we don't die and we just turn into a twinkling star
I believe it doesn't matter, in then end we always turn up right
I believe in a lot of things, but who believes me? That's the thing.