Monday, January 02, 2006

Pursuit of Arts...

From the Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya archives, posted on March 08, 2005

One of the sweetest-cum-bitterest ironies in life is related to the pursuit of arts; be it any art form! From the author's personal experience with people from almost every walk of life and himself, the irony can be explicated thus:

(a) Few view the pursuit of arts as a vocation. In this rat-race, where money seems to be the ultimate objective, arts is somehow treated as a not-so-lucrative opportunity. Arts - the expression of the soul, the process of self-discovery and re-discovery is not given its right place in the society. And whoever does pursue it as a vocation and becomes an icon/stalwart in his/her area of concern and influence, is considered a born genius or virtuoso. His/her toil, suffering, sweat, hardwork, perseverance, sacrifices, determination, etc. are simply forgotten.

Fortunate set of people who would be following their dreams. I bow down in reverence to these noble souls.

(b) Now comes the interesting part. The others: the majority of the people.

Some believe that they are interested in some other field (say Engineering, Medicine, etc) and consider arts as a hobby. They indulge in their passion, sometimes surrendering to them. Their hobby happens to be a way of life for them, at the microscopic level. They utilize whatever art form has been taught to them during their childhood and express their feelings through the right medium - Arts. Fortunate set of people, who seem to know what they want. Period.

Another segment of populace in this category, does not do anything at all. Whether it is a case of keeping passion at bay or lack of interest or lack of sensibility, it is clearly not evident. They however, are interested in something, that often seems to be vulgar or insensuous. Again, fortunate set of people who seem to be happy with their "non-art" way of life.

The "unfortunate" set of people fall into this subtle category - that is completely different from the ones mentioned before. They are grappling and coming to terms with life. They are caught in this whirlpool of life. They are the inbetween. They are crazy of arts but havent done "much" when it comes to the true pursuit. The world treats them to be eccentric characters - professing love and passion for something at the wrong time. Would it be possible for someone to learn bharatanatyam at the age of 50??? I know of an individual, who started learning it at the age of 45. I admire him for that. They have no reason to feel superior or inferior. It is just that they are slightly late by certain number of years.. but then, once they have realised their passion, I guess no one can stop them! So, these unfortunate set of people are in fact the most fortunate, provided their dreams come true, and importantly, they have the courage to follow their dreams.

The lesser unfortunate ones are those who have sacrificed the pursuit of arts, for reasons unfathomable. And usually, the sacrifice would have demanded this pound of flesh. May God give them the fortitude to carry on in whatever pursuit they have been forcefully made to choose.

The most unfortunate ones are those who have learnt an art during their formative years for the sake of learning them. They happen to be good at it.. but fail to realise the true beauty. For example, someone who plays amazing piano and fails to appreciate one of the piano sonatas of Beethoven (despite playing it well). For them the composition is nothing more than a chore, something that is only meant to be played because they unfortunately know how to do so. Well, this is the bitterest form of irony in life.

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