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.
the outsider sits not alone, not in depression; but in this pure restless curiosity. she pokes at the things concealing the hidden. she prods them with a stick she found on her way there. her only determination: she’s going to let whatever happens to happen by itself.
is this the death of common sense? an old voice asks. are you seriously going to let things so loose? haven’t you heard of the dangers? the dangers in a world where labels like hippies and anarchists are derogatory?
i am a certified schizophrenic [just that i convinced the doctor to give me a chance to probably figure out another way than prescription]. something, i take to pride. because, that probably gives some odd credibility to the craziness i like to have when doing something. i just see my human brain, when charged with language, images, memories, something like a search engine that is having an epileptic fit. it keeps jumping, making random associations, jumps up and down like a pogo stick. for instance, why did i choose to say pogo stick. i’ve never really seen one before or used one at all. movies. maybe, the image from mary poppins i saw when i was six years old. and thus random associations and disassociations pop up in my head.
i approach even blogging with this craziness.
this is something i wrote on this very same blog, that i advertently moved to drafts, only because i felt like it. with what i’ve been saying, what follows makes sense:
So blanking out is a very crucial part of my things-to-do in a day. It is the frequent blank-outs that take me to different worlds or spin me around in the same world where I am now washing dishes and makes me think…
“Rust, grease or oil are not permanent. Lime and vinegar manage to wash it away with a light scrub. Maybe, I should start making my own soap instead of buying all these brands. Maybe, many more things can be made like this at home. Maybe, that would reduce economic strain and would also give me so many nice things to do at home. I should really bring this place down and clean it.” Slowly, I’ll blank out completely, and I’ll have memory of only a few words after hours of work – blue, desire, journey, and lime. These were the words I came back with after making coffee.
I think it is extremely important to let our minds waft in the wind jumping from reality to what may seem unreal. It allows me to freely associate, correlate and understand this world and all that it throws to me. Of course, just sitting blanked out doesn’t help. This same family, my mother, my father, my sister and my partner, write, draw, perform, and make things in this process.
so, yes art, writing, theatre, body, thought, breathing, balance, understanding of society, understanding of self…actually merge into one another. it’s the how part of it that makes life fun.
to be called abnormal is fine. to be asked to become ‘normal’ makes me ask, what is normal? getting up at six. drinking caffeine. going to work at 9. eating lunch at 12. eating supper at 7. sleeping at 11 p.m. ? there is actually no one definition of normal. only things we are used to seeing or sensing vs things we are not used to. the latter confuses, irritates, and questions our already perceived notions of life. why do most people find any mentally challenged child to be weird? Because, they are reluctant to break through that confusion and irritation.
for me breaking free is actually a privileged and cushioned process. i have the money, the house, the family, and the friends circle that support immensely. there have been days of hunger, of depressions, of fights, of crying, of walking out, sometimes even of police. nevertheless, there is support and the lack of societal pressure, whether it is colour, class, caste or religion that decides it. my gender or sexual identity too, with the people that surround me immediately (other than those whose acquaintance could not be diverted or averted, or those whose acquaintance i just accept despite their politics), hasn’t been an issue.
so, what actually is there to protest about personally? i have to ask this now. a small diversion, much needed. i may not protest for myself all the time. i join hands because i see sense, i see energy, i see life there.
back. breaking free is a personal process. i am my jail. i am my freedom. there are so many things i’ve jailed like my body. it never does what it wants to. once when being part of a play production, i wrote to the director because i saw where i was so totally wrong while on stage. it is that i understand acting and especially performance in theory, maybe even visually. but there is this block that is refusing to translate it to my arms, legs, butt, eyebrows, or anywhere in my body. it was like all this understanding was just circling in my head. after, a month of exploring and repeatedly falling on my face as probably a hopeless performer/entertainer, i managed to identify two problems that my body faces. my body, which is me, a large part of me, does not understand breathing and balance, two very basics function of a moving living thing. i have been trying to unravel this for me more.
and from here i want to ask. how and why do we perceive or understand? breathing and balance are supposed to be instincts. but, in fact, so many of us get it all so wrong. like flying for a bird, a land mammal should in fact know how to walk, how to climb, how to breathe instinctively. we don’t. we all walk differently. and most of us have walks that actually injure our bodies. each of our breathing patterns are different. some take short breaths. other always breathe slowly. some times, for a minute or so, i have forgotten to breathe, especially when i tense up.
all this meandering. writing. going. writing. going. reading. eating. writing. has brought me here.
adolf wölfli. jean dubuffet RAW ART | ART BRUT >>>> OUTSIDER ART
there is no image. there is no form. there is no structure. there is me. there is what i do. there is performance. yes for the public. but no ulterior motive to be placed in galleries, printed in books, quoted in newspapers, or recognized. there is me. there is what i do. and probably the only true public outlet, even that not forcing anyone to read or follow: is this blog.
it is probably not too good to go on and on reading to find names for what it is the outsider does. she merely takes these words, these ideas, allows them to enter her own realm of consciousness, only because she knows it wants to enter. everything is gluttonous to this outsider, floating around. whether it is an idea or a person. she opens out so what is hidden might reveal or go further, making the journey better.
i think umbrellas would also be a good idea
wire and thread sculptures could add to the ambience
i remember for the bhopal protests similarly ‘a dead march’ was done
these slime putty toys are available i think in parry’s corner. they actually come in tin that look like small barrels of toxic waste. we could have stickers on them that say ‘nuclear waste is not fun’ – a thought for merchandise.
and poster below:
maybe not for content, but for images, layout, effectiveness, blah blah
an ode to the spoken word poem
I hear across so many curtains of time, Charles Bukowski call out to me: “There’s a bluebird in my heart…” I am sitting here wondering what is in mine. As last week, I persuaded myself to check Velvet Verbosity’s 100 word challenge.
I need to be pushed to understand that I can do and that I need to do it. It is so with work, with brushing my teeth, and even sometimes crapping. I got to push myself every second of myself. And so her challenge, resistance isn’t new to my mind or to my body. What do both of them like – a calm quiet flow? Something that I can just keep hearing and typing constantly. I like to walk long distances, but it takes me long to push myself out of my house. What is in my heart? What am I so scared about? Today, I was lying down, flat on my back, looking up, not exactly anywhere. I was thinking about the lotus, huge like in a temple, carved on the ceiling of my hall. I was thinking, What made someone do that? I resist because I am tired. This world tires me a lot. I cannot stand the sound of horns, the traffic smoke, the loud and tired faces on the early morning road, the dejected and lost faces of late night road, or the lone faces of forgotten men and women homeless on the roads. I have no tolerance for these things, or at least I have not managed to cultivate too much as time went along. It is true I was born in the city, with few urban luxuries, but more than needed, in modest, but radical backgrounds. I roamed the theatres, the streets, the backyards, and the editing studios where I knew for sure something about this world is very dissatisfying. Something about this world is trying. And anyone with a genuine need to change this world, will get tired. And at some time, will be posed, because of a multitude of responsibilities, to submit to the systems that do this to them. It is true, what I see, when I see myself, you and everyone else around us are a web of interconnected and skewed systems all concerned in specialization, bureaucracy, and you know, I don’t know what. But, this bloody world tires me. School, college, work, rent, everything tires me. I can hear you snickering at me. Please do. Just a little bit more. You can even think I am a lazy fucking bum. But, you know what I am not. At least not up in my head, at least not when I am hear trying to create a space for dialogue. Because, I want to understand from you what life is. I would always be ready to talk to you, do what you do, give this that and everything a try. Because, my dream, you know what, is not to be a writer, not to be a pilot, not to be anything with degrees and money flying around. My dream is far more ambitious: I want to remain in this world, in wonder of life, like a curious and humane child. But, yes, the world has taught me that it could be a never endless trip. I wish I had never read philosophy and fiction. I wish I had read the facts, known the facts, and read capitalism and imperialism instead. I don’t know why I ever saw those movies that made me question. I don’t know why I studied in a school where I was left to explore. I don’t know why I can’t get myself to work in a proper organisation. I don’t know why. I don’t why I cannot confirm. I am resisting. And this is not like the push I need to get out of my door. I am abnormally resisting these systems. I abnormally dream of monks lost in a desert. I abnormally wish I was don Juan. It is like I have this huge allergy for what the world is now. It confuses me and repels me. I just so wish it does not. Then all of this would be easier to me. I could answer to what is in my heart. I could say in my heart is money. But in my heart, really is a forest of birds and mythical creatures. In my heart are sunshine and flowers and people who love and swoon. In my heart is magic. And when I confirm to any of these systems, after some time my allergy develops and I feel itchy all over in my head. I feel restless and then I resist. It is like daily I am pushing this huge wall away from me. No, when I try something I am not so stubborn. I actually took many large sips of college, I let it do it works and I even topped my exams with hundred percent attendance. Then why should I in my third year, be the exact reverse. I was dwindling in energy. I would fall ill. I would resist so badly, because the magic keeps me alive, that keeps me writing, that keeps me with stories die. For the past few days, while I have been working with Karan and Naren on the Short and Sweet Festival play – The Fruits of War, I have had this voice pounding in my heart: Perform. Everything in my body, my mind, my writing, my speech, my interests and everything says if I perform, I will find that space for questioning and dialogue. I am unsure. I am scratching slippery floors. But, yes Charles, the peacock in my heart is telling all the creatures to perform. To dance this for magic now.
- Resisting Writer’s Block – 100 Words (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)