i was sleeping in the night, and a pineapple crawled in to me. it kept on hurting me from the insides. i shook, i wiggled, i coughed, sneezed and spat. but the pineapple didn’t exit. so i jumped up and down and yelled. i yelled so much that the ears next to me tore and the hearts went sore. i yelled so much that the glass castles shattered and the light came through. i yelled so much until all i could hear was myself. i yelled so much and jumped up and down, until my head squashed in to my toes. and then out came the pineapple, squished and mushy, and ran for its life.
There was anger that had to be expelled She grabbed the rusted aruvaal over which the grass had already grown How irritating it was to do the work once someone had reminded her Left to myself, just to left to myself she mumbled in rhythm with sharp arched blows she brought down on the erukampoo plant The fucking knife would keep turning to its blunt side the problem was her fucking wrist. No skill, no skill, she muttered, grabbing holding of a large branch She twisted it till it yelped and yanked it off the plant. The first smile for the day. White powdery milk smeared on her By the time she had uprooted the entire plant, she looked like a white lady enjoying a sunny afternoon. Someone had told her the milk was poisonous if ingested, but she had used it to heal a large puss-infested wound under her left breast last Thursday. She could not understand why this plant had to die. She anyway went on to pull out its brother, grandmother and sister, left the lover for tomorrow.
Story and story making is an object of study, much like food is an object of study. The realization of muse creates.
Story, story making, eating, making food, is a way of living. The muse is the realization of itself.
Why not personalize?
in search of focus, for the past two months – i’ve been in my shell, hardly getting out. no public ‘appearances’. not too many phone calls. very few friendships. so much i’ve been thinking for myself – i need to catch up to that, this. a friend recently asked me to think of an image that obsesses my head to know where to go –
treading somewhere between my no ‘formal’ training and experimental know-how, whether it is the fierce urgency of now, like Aijas Ahmed said in 2008 and i heard in 2012, or like Sadanand Menon reiterated in the same 2008 Indian Theatre Forum seminar, Not the Drama – it’s about asking the right question!
then about space, today they were two questions. one in the context of my voice, with Kalairaani. second, in the context of chai kadai with Siddharth who has just joined us. the consistency of how we use a space, much like a medium. doubting my strength. asking if i am asking the right questions. four years after the fierce urgency of now, only now learning the first steps of theatre, i stand sometimes so ‘foolishly’ dejected, come on… besides everything else i can talk about… it’s the turn of Mayan’s End of the World.
then, we tell stories for hope in a sense. but, when in theatre, writing, i should have at some point read Tagore, the giant who stands on an sentence like, ‘hope is the greatest human folly‘.
i am not tempted to draw the curtains and sleep. instead, just feeling every minute a loss of time. now in basic understanding, i know this is part of my urban existence. just that it doesn’t still erase the fact that I feel like I am running out of time to speak.
this could be like kalai pointed out this morning, i speak from the base of my mouth, actually with a titled lower lip, and this is closer to the place where thoughts flow. maybe, that’s why i feel overwhelmed all through the day.
on not speaking, an important piece on the language of silence, The Artist is Present by Marina Abramović, Russia –
everything about this reminds me of this frame in Rhapsody in August, Akira Kurosawa –
this scene of silence between these two old women who have survived the bombing in nagasaki – this silence is what i hope to achieve with sisters. and then before this, questions – how do I want to do theatre? what is my body? what is my voice? what is my script? what is my understanding of the politics of performance? where does the backstage me come in? what scripts am i going to write for this play? what ways do i wish to affect my audience? who is my audience? – and this is just the share of the personal. what then do others part of this question?
here, on voice there are two videos I would like to share to bring this small note to a close.
Odin Teatret, Denmark. Vocal Training. Video Archives. (Eugenio Barba 1972)
Ulay and Marina Abramović, Yugoslavia . ‘AAA AAA’. (1978)
my images – voice | space | now | never. reminds me of the earlier an idea. a box.
Last week, at ACJ they had organized an evening interaction with Sudeep Chakravarti, the author of Red Sun: Travels in a Naxalite Country and Highway 39: Journeys through a Fractured Land. In early romance, when Sudha was traveling day and night in the Bombay trains, a few years ago, Red Sun kept him company and found him strange friends who shared the bogey. When on holidays or short escapades when my pockets are full enough for a pitcher of beer every week, I’d be in Bombay or Goa with him. Bits of the book, that’s all I have managed to read in five years. It’s expansive. What I knew of the Northeast states, Tibet, Kashmir, or Sri Lanka was from mainly from my friends from these places at college, parent’s friends, or work friends. The idea what is a home gets invariably altered. The AFSPA; the Assamese going ‘home’; Operation Bluebird; Liberalization, Privatization, and Corporatisation; the corruption; the Media; the history textbooks; they all say a very grim story. But from her own confusions that reflects a generation from Nagaland, Vibi spoke before the discussion. As soon as she had finished, I hurriedly jotted down, ‘must speak to her at the end of the evening’. I knew it was something Chaikadai could definitely create the space for. But, we are not a newspaper, magazine, or anything so concrete. After maintaining Koodankulam Speaks, this became a small editorial project for me. With the help of Sudeep Chakravarti, Vibi Yhokha and Nityanand Jayaraman, I have compiled a small set of reading and links that will help further the discussion. Though, the small nooks and corners of this as in Tamil I might call it is ‘nachu vela’ (courtesy Sukumar, Aakur, referring to sitting and cutting glass pieces one by one by hand for the kattaikuthu kreedam decorations).
Linking things. Changing it blue. Making sure everything opens in a new window. But, everything put aside, it has been a very good process for me to spend the week reading and collating. Now, that we know this is possible and have learnt many more keyboard shortcuts, we should be able to publish good comprehensive posts.
by Vibi Yhokha
“The single story creates stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story….Stories matter, many stories matter, stories have been used to dispossess and to malign but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize, stories can break the dignity of a people but stories can also repair that broken dignity…..”
– Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi, The Danger of a Single Story
People, especially mainland Indians, have only a single story of Nagaland. No, in fact they have different single stories. They associate the Nagas with headhunting, Hornbill festival, Rock music, fashion and yes, Conflict. Nagaland the land of myths, where life is one long festival but is also a place where life is one long, long war….
But there is so much more to Nagaland than just conflict, music…
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half way through the essay. too many parts of my body are ill for the moment. cleaned one loft. the new house still alien and jatax pink. one more week to go there. i will only miss the lotus on the ceiling here, such quirks are rare. but feel like i really have no control about anything in that house, he he. we’ll all have to set it up together. ha. ill – so going and finishing reading for the essay. *cough* *cough* *cough*. he he he….
house-shifting. taking this time to do some study. collate notes. construct thought-lines. piling premises. sketching images. will have in a day or two some good comprehensive summaries and extensions from my pile of notebooks and books. will share here. library cleaning. making essential reading lists.