If you've ever seen a man at work, totally focused, oblivious to every other world apart from his own, you've seen an artist. A week ago Deekshith and I had a long discussion about artists, art and if art is but sheer inspiration or just a god given gift. We argued to and fro for a bit and ended convinced that craft can be learnt, it can be bettered but art is beyond imitation, beyond learning, beyond emulation. It cannot be craved for, all that can be done is wait for it. But there is something which can be done meanwhile. The path for the art to show itself can be bettered. And this is what in the middle of the talk that we were really surprised to learn. That though nothing can be done to create the finest piece of art, sheer human will to make it finer and finer can be bettered through the craft. I don't know how I sound like talking all this but when you are sitting on the footpath at 3.15 in the morning, drinking tea and talking about Marquez, Rushdie and Ashok you realize somewhere deep within that you too are capable of producing art of the highest order, of stunning people with sheer expression and that if you wake up everyday and no matter what write, someday you will be writing your own One Hundred Years of Solitude without even realising it.
Its funny ain't it. How much of stuff you know but never follow. Somebody tells me running everyday is good, meditating is, you know stuff like that. You believe in it but are far too lazed out to follow it. Sucks. This wouldn't help it in anyway too but that line in Following still rings in my ears. Wanting to be a writer and being one are two totally different things. Last week I read somewhere by some filmmaker where he said to all aspiring filmmakers that the film's already there, in your head. All that has to be done with it is transport it from the theater in your head to the screen out there. That is all it takes. Boy, that's right ain't it. The art's all right there, completed. All you need to do is learn the craft to exhibit it to the rest of the world. There was this talk by Elizabeth Gilbert where she said you might not be able to produce the greatest order of art everyday but then the least you can do is wake up everyday and stubbornly sit at your desk despite your mind opposing the idea with sheer vehemence. I'm watching Golconda High School right now, and in spite of detesting it the first time around, I have to admit it really is an interesting watch because it makes some really good comments on the kind of society we live in. That apart, it reminded me of the kind of art sporting moments are. The kind of work that goes into the sheer beauty of Lara's square cut or Tendulkar's stunning stunning straight drive. The sound of it, the timing, the curve of the bat's path, the steadiness of the batsman, the sheer pleasure of existence when one is looking at that. Bliss. The kind of background work that goes into the making of instant nirvana. Watching a Cobain or a Bundy perform, oggling over their virtuosity wishing you were them is all fair but then I once read that Van Halen skipped parties and sleep to keep playing.
I've written about this over and over and over again. Because writing all this is much easier than writing fiction, which is what I want to do anyway. It is hard work, writing draft after draft hoping the finished product will be all that you ever wanted it to be. Its pathetic, I know. Maybe I should go out there and get a life instead of telling people how to get one. This ain't taking me nowhere but I'm writing this because this moment I want to write this. This is nowhere close to what I wanted it to be at the beginning but then I'm done for now. I love the end of the film, the two kids batting together, two really contrasting creatures, the chemistry's worked out superbly well. And despite me being in eternal love with sport, any sport, though predominantly tennis and football, I have to admit this. There is nothing like cricket. The sheer idea of the game in which, as somebody put it, a lot of discrete moments eventually add up to something so consequential. It lacks the free flow, the instant inventiveness of football and the gladiator-contest like feel of tennis but then life isn't like that. It's mundane, boring, tough work where there is gray all around which is punctuated by occassional brightness of the white. Maybe every sport is like that but I'm far too much of a bloody Indian to find anything that has my heart erupt in joy than Laxman's glance. Oh! boy, the old worldly elegance.
This is growing much longer than I expected it to be but I really want to continue writing. Watched Bala Vaadu Veedu yesterday and boy, is it brilliant. I now understand I why loved it. It does not assume anything, does not take anything for granted, does not dramatize life, does not attempt putting life into life. It just let's life be itself, lets it unfurl it at it's own pace. That has been Bala's masterstroke. There's a line in Arya 2 which roughly translates into, It doesn't take a lifetime for love to be born; all it takes is one moment. That is what instant gratification is all about, that is what is art all about. Its the one moment, fair, but then why doesn't nobody give a shit about all those years which have led the way for this moment to happen. Maybe this is not time waiting for answers. This is the time to write the questions on the wall, sit next to it and get back to work. When it is time for them to be answered, they will be answered. Boy, do I want to get back to work. Doing what you are supposed to when you are supposed to, like Thomas Huxley says will lead you into being what you have to be. There is this amazing scene in Bala Vaadu Veedu where the camera fades in on a gloomy evening, at a river where there is this huge tree at the bank of it and the camera pans up to reveal this fat man hanging by the neck. I so fell in love with that shot, the sheer melancholy of it.
Okay, its time for me to leave now and I leave with that cinematic pose of Chacha with his cycle, looking through us, standing below the streetlight; and Deekshith will second that.
Watch Elizabeth Gilbert's talk.