Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Art and the Asinine

Hung on the far wall beside a lone curtain, strained away from the streaking shadows of the lamp holder setting the mood for the tunes that played the dim light stood this masterpiece of art. The ambience of the elite , at the Royal Orchid had little to do with art. The big industrialists, businessmen,doctors and maybe kids of a rich sahib adorned this lovely Chinese restaurant this Sunday evening.

I was there too. Not that I was elite in anyway. Although I felt the elitist blood craving to flow through my veins. I was with a Pakistani Businessman who hosted me dinner for reasons inexplicable to anyone who thought dinners were just suppers. For him, dinners meant business and business meant me!

I do not know much about art either. But I know enough to appreciate it. So I remained aware of this silent and sad but pretty woman with her clothing that covered her hair staring at the merry dinner makers. I remained aware of the silence of this painting.

Paintings are like poetry in may ways. They always have something to say. What they have to say is often hidden in the beauty of the way in which it has to be said. Very often the beauty supersedes the message and you enjoy art for the sake of art.Back in my school days I remember a favorite teacher saying this about poetry, "Its the feeling that matters, the rest is passe".

The painting in the Royal Orchid was sad, and mystic. A woman with strained eyebrows and the sun at her back, seemed to signify to me a message that i found akin to the message in the life of every Bangladeshi resident. A message that perpetuated through the shiny streets and the dusty paths of this Great Nation, through the British cultured Sahibs of Gulshan, to the petty impoverished beggar of Gazipur.

I used to love a painting in my grandparents house at Palakkad. The painting of a boatman. A lone boat in a huge winding river, flowing through tall mountains on either ends. The magnificence of the painting-- as I found -- was the enormity of it. I found the tall mountains undiscovered and challenging. More importantly,I found them mysterious. I don't know if you can appreciate this but I dare say that my young days were always immersed in a marmalade of mystery. I got to like mystery way back since a kid. I still love mysteries, and I still find life a mystery.


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