Sea of pain

Sea of Pain 1

After calculating the hours that would take me to reach Kochi from Goa, I realized I would not be able to take that big a chunk of time from my trip home. Sighing away, with my insides twisting with an unknown pain, I started sketching away, then turned to look at the pictures and videos of the one installation that I wanted to see, to experience and to sink in deep within me, in this year’s Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

I closed my eyes. I could see myself standing underneath one of the huge canvas boards on the wall. I could listen to the sound of water, of legs wading, of people whispering, of the conflicts within minds. I could see the crashing waves, washing in bodies, of Aylan, of Galip. I could see the sea swallowing many more unknown faces, unknown hearts that beat for a better future. I could feel the pain in the water that washed my legs. I could feel the sea.

“The sea of pain.
For Galip Kurdi

Alan Kurdi was three and his photograph circled the world.

He lay face down and the blue red of his clothes was striking
in its strange tidiness on the shore. Hours later the Turkish
coast guards recuperated the bodies of his mother and small
Five-year old brother, Galip, but of him there are no photographs.
….

… I wasn’t there,
I am not his father.
There are no photographs of Galip Kurdi, he can’t hear, he can’t see, he can’t feel, and the silence comes down like immense white cloths.
Below the silence you can make out a piece of sea, of the sea of pain.
I am not his father, but Galip Kurdi is my son. ”

The words of the poet.

The sea of pain.

Something startled me awake. And I watched the waves that kept on crashing in and out. The sun setting in the horizon. The stars starting to shine,and I couldn’t stop myself from wondering if the stars would have been the last thing they saw when they drowned. The stars and the sea. Depths of blue. Grasping for a hand to save. Shouting for help. The blue shutting it all out. The life ebbing away from their eyes, to the depths of the dark. Their bodies washing in, to a rising sun and a rising world.

Millions of hearts still cry for help.
And a few hearts still cry for them.

Please, hold on, at the end of the day, the dark clouds shall move away, and the stars will shine. The stars, will shine.
Please.
Hold on.

-This is for Syria, Palestine, Myanmar and many more across the world, who have lost and still lose their lives at the hands of politics, power and greed.

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Conspiracy

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It’s been 9 months since I have been interning. First in Kochi, now in Goa. 9 months of exploration. New places, new people, new experiences.

But you know what has been reoccurring all these 9 months? Art. In the weirdest of ways.

I used to be a pretty good one at art when I was little. I still have memories of my dad, teaching me how to draw an elephant and a lotus, telling me his stories about art. He would never have imagined his eldest daughter to pick art (read architecture), for a profession out of all the trades of which she was master of none.

Then college happened. 3 years where everything was undermined. The heart was told that you weren’t good enough. It fought in the beginning, but then gradually fell away into despairs of self doubt.

With the commencement of 4th year, I moved to Kochi. Away from everything. And guess what? Life kept throwing me into art. I met a girl who told me she was an artist. in the mornings, when I was about to go to office I would see her, with a bandana on her head, playing with colors. I stared at it from a distance. I listened to my heart beat. That weekend, I went home and brought back a sketchbook which was about an year old, but the pages pristine. I started with sticking the little things that I collected – train tickets, roses and abstractions. One day I went to Fort Kochi, walked it’s paths for the first time, experienced it’s charms, just took it all in. But it was too much for my little heart, that night I sketched away the beautiful memories, and slept in peace knowing that I had locked them away. Knowing that they would now, never fade away. That was the beginning of Kochi Kadhakal. The beginning of so many beautiful stories.

6 months later, Goa happened. And I still find myself experiencing art in ways that at times take my breath away.

For the first time, I find myself believing the words of Paulo Coelho,

And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it. 

 

I do not know what I want, but now I very well know that the universe is conspiring for something beautiful.

 

Time

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It’s been 2 years.

2 years ago, I remember walking down this way, taking in the beauty of the Mandovi, the simplicity of the lighthouse and the greens, complimenting the cultural hub of Goa, Kala Academy, one of the masterpieces of the architect Charles Correa.

We were then, 2 years into being students of the vastness called Architecture, laughing our hearts away, clicking endlessly fake candids exploiting the beauty around us.

Who knew, 2 years later, I would stand at this very spot, in the very clothes, looking away into the Mandovi, miles away from those people, reminiscing about these moments?

This time, is a funny thing.
It takes you to places, puts you in situations, make you experience things that you never even dreamt of.

Maybe another two years down the lane, I may have something more interesting and intriguing to share. Well, who knows?

May I have the good fortune to do so. In Sha Allah.

The thing about art

Each and every piece of art has its own soul and character. If we understand any aspect of that character is another matter. But, what one must realize is that, no art is just nothing, no art can be judged.
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A random artwork in Fort Kochi.
Art is just a manifestation of our heart.
Be it yours or the artist’s.
What you see in their is a reaction.
A manifestation.
I have seen artworks that have been termed downright childishness, downright real, downright abstract, downright simple.
If a person, draws a sketch, that’s art.
If a person, paints a scene from the real world, that’s art.
If a person, paints his mind, that’s art.
Art doesn’t have to be what you think. When the art itself tends to dissolve boundaries why are we hell bent on creating and compartmentalising them?

Bits & Pieces

The sound of the heavy rain filled my ears. It was raining beautifully outside. You know those rains, where you would gladly go and stand still, let your soul soak in the driving drops and let the rain wash away the pain and the baggage. But here I am laying on my bed, listening to its music with a million thoughts in my head.

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I have this emotional attachment with everything. Be it the little inanimate things or humans that I smile at when I walk to my office. Be it the guy at the cafe which we hang out every once and then, a little too often or the little boy who is neat and ready to play on my way back to hostel. Be it the masjid that I go to cry and pray or the lady who lets me pass through her backyard everyday. Be it the familiar roads and sights that at times I talk to or the elderly gang looking after their grandsons playing and discussing mundane things. Be it the colleague who left too soon or the strokes of my artist girl who flew away. Be it the beauty of paintings in an art gallery or the charm of Fort Kochi. Be it the magic with the fingers or the divine taste of that little chocolate lava cake which is my absolute favorite. Be it in the longing for home or the laughing moments shared with my better parts here. Be it the flooding memories of school when I see school students or missing the warmth of my best friend when I want to cry uncontrollably. Be it the weird equation with my fellow colleagues or the peace that I have at times in Kochi. Be it the voice of my mom over the phone or my obsession with pasta and fries. Be it convincing myself about my own goodness over the misdeeds or the wandering minds and thoughts when something doesn’t work out. Be it that bubble of happiness when the boy who smiles at me everyday while waiting for his school bus, waves at me while traveling past me some random night or that sigh of relief when I reach back home. Be it the little lift that I got from a lady who apparently knew me or that feeling of getting your siblings something. Be it the little twinkling stars shining at me or having food out every other night.

Each and every moment is too precious. Everyday I live down a day that is never going to happen again in my life. Each and every person, I share with them a piece of my soul, starting with my smile. And when they walk away or I leave, I let them have it even when it hurts a lot. They ask me why do I take everything to heart and I don’t have an answer. Is it because I love everything too much? Or is it because I want everything and everyone to stay? What would have life been like, if each and everyday was just the same? I know, boring.

But everyday this multitude of feelings and emotions,  sights and experiences, senses and complexities. Isn’t it a little too much for our little heart to bear and poor brain to process?

I will just have to let it all go, ain’t it? Everything will change in a month’s time and I will be again back to square one, in an alien place, surrounded by unknown faces and an equally intriguing culture.

When will I stop, feeling everything a little too much? Thinking about everything a little too deeply? Letting everything affect a little too seriously? Trying to catch it all in those pages of my little diary, in the form of elements so significant to the events? When will I learn to let go, completely?

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I can embrace easily.

It is to let go that’s hard.

 

Because in the end, I walk away with a little less of me, every single time.

The Last Picture

the phase of depature in parts

Part 1

The water seems to be slithering. Constantly in rhythm. Slithering away silently. The plantae living their life washed up and lulled into action by the water and its ripples, green and a bit aged yellow. The sea gulls seems to have made them their cushion, taking a break and a breathe in the middle of the rhythmically stagnant waters. A cool breeze making me sigh away in peace, the machines and the ships jarring in the distance, marring the peace yet merging with the scene.

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The day had started out lazy. We were all dozing till 11. Still contemplating where to go at 12, at last giving it all to the likes of the farewell girl. We had kept away all our commitments today, for her. After a heavy Chinese lunch cum breakfast at 1pm, we boarded a bus to Jetty to catch a ferry. Just like the usual, we bantered in the bus. Getting the tickets to one of our common love, Fort Kochi, we lined up waiting to board our ferry.

The familiar sight of the Jetty reminded me of my first visit to this place. I share that beautiful memory with them too. The beauty of togetherness in exploring something that has long ago taken a place in your heart, without even a sight. The charm so indigenous to the place.

A bell sounds, reminding me of reaching our destination.

Walking out the crowded jetty, and down the road that we have taken many a times, the charm that is so tied up with the world of its own called Fort Cochin, we were engulfed. The perspective shifting with each and every step.  Walking around, shopping around for ornaments, so unlike us. Haggling, laughing around, rejoicing the day. Sitting at the edge of the bridge, looking at the waves peacefully merging with the land. We knew we were all absorbing the beauty of a day spent well together.

1

We made a happy picture, laughing our heads off on our dirty jokes, observing people and their antics. Watching together the ships pass away, waiting to see the sun sinking, together for the last time.

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The horizon lined with ships, reaching our eye. The waters crashing upon the rocks. The spray on my face, the saltiness in the air. The peaceful silence. The sun that we so wanted to witness getting swallowed up by the sea, gone into hiding. We watched it slip away. Hiding behind the clouds. We watched it all.

We never got our last sunset.

That day.

Alternate Realities

My soul transcends through alternate realities.

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My body , my mind, my emotions are a mixture of my reactions to these realities, because of which at times, reaction for one reality comes to the forefront in another reality, messing up at times.

There is one, in which I live for the majority of my time. Where my body works, mind flits through different responsibilities, my heart beats, in a foreign city, among unknown faces, and new friends, where at the end of the day everything is fine yet foreign.

Then, there is one, in which your studies still awaits you, your old friends litter around, where your insecurities and worthlessness poke their heads in. Among familiar surroundings, people whom you call best friends, at the end of day, when you lay down to sleep, you still wonder why you feel so lone, so out of place.

Then, there is another one, which consumes your whole heart and soul, where you have your family to be comforted, you have to be the strong one, wipe away the tears of our loved ones, deal with your own pains in anonymity, put up a brave front in front of them and keep telling them, everything will be fine, when deep down even you are scared. Where you can’t even dream or plan because of the shadows of the evil which has made the future bleak.

We all have alternate realities which we fail to realize.
We all have different roles, different faces, different emotions in a single moment, only a shift of reality separating them.
We are not a single person, we are a culmination of different people living in different realities.