Have been away for a while. So all ye readers out there (If there are any! But looking at your mails I hope some of you are still hanging in there.) let me apologize!
Actually, I haven't been idle so that is some consolation. I have been hammering out a perfectly mediocre story for past three weeks. To be fair to myself, the idea is not mediocre. If the story ever sees the light of the day, I am sure you would agree with me too. But it makes me curl my toes in embarrassment to say that the treatment is! (Having read Milan Kundera only recently only intensifies the feeling of how awful it has turned out to be.)
All these years that I have been writing, I have seen that I can either write reasonably good stuff or some really horrible trash. There is no middle way for me. To write the good stuff I have to be really tuned to myself. It comes, but oh so infrequently! It is such a beautiful feeling, I could never really describe. I feel like my whole being has become poetry and my thoughts and my words are both in a perfect symphony(Since it is my blog after all, I can afford to be conceited!)
It starts with a little germ - a tiny flower, a feeling of intense love, a brief smile, a terrible heartbreak - all those knock down the dam of my laziness and makes my passion flow. I write like one possessed and when it is written, it is done. Then it does not belong to me anymore. When I read it again, I see a different me - not the shy, at a times timid and unsure person but a pure, passionate, perceptive woman with strong convictions. Could we really be hiding so many personalities within ourselves? If I listened close enough, would I hear more voices seeking expression?
Then what makes me write dull, drab, mediocre work that I do write at a times? I attribute this to two factors - compulsion and expectations. I cannot write when I am compelled to write and that is why, perhaps, I could never be a deadline writer. I am just incapable of churning up readable prose by this date or by that time.
Another form of compulsion is the one that comes out of expectations - expectation to be published, expectation to prove oneself, expectation to be appreciated by people. The worst thing an artist can do to her art is to encage it in expectations. I read a poem recently by a noted marathi poet Madgulkar. In the poem he laments the need for an artist to sell his art to make a living out of it. But the artist of his caliber can create art that is, both, salable and exotic at the same time, for the rest of us, there is a need for constant reminder to preserve the purity of our endowment.
I saw Little Women yesterday. I greatly identify with Jo's character and woke up with the advice given to her in the film. When Jo proudly shows her first novel to the German professor who is her mentor, lover, friend and guide, he tells her only this, write about what you know, write about what comes from your heart! Although she is greatly disappointed she takes the advice to the heart and writes the story of Little Women, which, later becomes her greatest achievement. Not that I am poised to write something as wonderful, but the advice holds true for any tiny contribution I hope to make to art. To to be able to do that I have to follow what is the path of truth.
The path of truth, the one that goes through one's heart, is a treacherous one. There are twists and turns that make you wander away from what you really are. You don't even realize how far off you have gone until something like the mediocre story I wrote brings you down to reality. It is so difficult to have faith, conviction and clarity of vision which are all necessary to abide by the truth, whatever it may be.
I remember a prayer from the film Seema, titled Tu pyar ka saagar hai (You are the ocean of love) The whole prayer is beautiful but these lines touch my heart.
Ghayal man ka paagal panchi udne ko bekaraar
Pankh hai komal ankh hai dhundali jaana hai saagar paar
Ab tuhi ise samajha raah bhoole the kahanse hum
I am really incapable of translating these, but, still, let me attempt...
Like a wounded bird my crazy mind
Yearns to fly with the wind
My wings are soft and my eyes are weak
But I want to fly beyond the sea
Tell me oh lord, tell me
When it is that I wandered away...
Heres hoping that all you waywards find the correct path!