Friday, December 27, 2013

Sidling, and friendships of convenience

A Japanese proverb Umeboshi to tomodachi wa, furui ho ga ii, suggests a splendid analogy. Umeboshi are plums, and like friends and friendship better when old, meaning when aged well. This proverb has raised some charitable and other not so benign thoughts.

Over time, earlier in frustration, later with chagrin, and more recently in relative calmness I have attempted to understand why is it that those who shared time together in apparent friendship lacked resonance in essence of their friendship. It’s as though one is immune to good influences. Were no congeries of understanding developed over the course of sharing a bond? It seems nothing was ever learned! Was it perhaps that there was no friendship really or that only one side presumed it to be so, or was there merely a crass comprehension of the attributes of their friendship?

Apparently, these are charades revealing an alacrity to exist merely for oneself while corroding ones friend. Nothing dumb here or anything new; and ostensibly, the gains are dutifully one sided. How such venality sullies the brine of friendship, Obviously one wishes the best, and is inadvertently aware of practically shortchanging the other, as also oneself. 

Such unanticipated thoughts are coming to my mind: Perhaps its a good plan to not reveal anything that enlightens such friends to ones virtues and refrain from alerting them to deeds one rendered unto others. Like loaning resources, lending a book, giving time: lest you be seen as an object of convenience. Hitherto not as aesthetic subject. Scheming papas’ and mamas’ response to such interpersonal and existential intelligence is: Well, you are a fool.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Yeah, how many roads must a man walk on?

Yeah, how many roads must a man walk on before expectations materialize that he becomes one with the spirit of awakening? For that matter how many furlongs need to be covered to awaken to one’s being. Dasein. Must we allow modernity to tame us, certainly neuter/sequester us to give in? Should we be keeping a patch of wilderness alive for our numbered days? 

In wildness is the preservation of the world. —Henry David Thoreau 

The answer is a blowin’ in the wind—the whoosh of a fist looming toward the face. 

In idiomatic vein: we come to blows over long embraced pet peeves; whereas in idiomatic veneer some gain an identity, with one blowFurthermore lugubriously striking blows at the indigents. Sledge hammering their way through time! 

Being driven astray is a wildering—an estrangement that deposits us into that cauldron of uncertainty. Wilder bewilders. 

Wild thing you make my heart sing you make everything groovy. 
—Wild Thing, by The Troggs. We add our choice of veneer to our lives, mindlessly covering up tarnish with varnish. Garnishing never really helps when the core is rotten.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fortitude: Encountering the Beatitudes while bypassing the ravines of Crassitude

Recently, I shared news with a few colleagues of a win—news of an artistic effort that had garnered recognition, and to my mind a win of sorts. I had received intimation from Radek in Poland that we [Radoslaw Nowakowski & Venantius J. Pinto (Poland/India – joint runner-up)] were runners up in the 4th Sheffield International Artist’s Book Prize for the artists book CorrespondAnce.

Among the few people were those whom I had served in various capacities, those who had approached me for various things, those I had bailed (not balled) out on projects. Professionals ahoy—the parakeet in my mind squawked. Also, in that clan were individuals who had been feted, some wined, others dined, their angst condoled, and “confessions” heard. I received two responses celebrating the success of CorrespondAnce or about 20 percent. This was a new surprise since I would have thought that its not always that such successes small as they are their news du jour. Simply celebrating others is what I cherish. I was not expecting anything beyond the fact that I existed as also for reasons above which fall under the banner of being a professional. 

So what could some of their “dispassionate” reasons be. Is it that kudos are worth proffering only to certain people. Ergo, it does not sit well within certain minds if you are not one of those anointed ones, regardless whether ones skills have played a significant role in their having been able to rest easy. 

Or is it merely a coagulation of fear and torpor? Both of which being indecent as far as they taunt our sensibilities in wanting to disregard each other as part of a brotherhood of cogs in our endeavors, labors, and in love—whereby, in giving and partaking we receive.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I will do it

14 Blades (2010, dir. Daniel Lee) is a Wuxia film set in the Ming dynasty. The Jinyiwei were the government's secret police, rigorously trained since childhood in clandestine combat. The following words uttered by Qiao Hua who deeply loves Qinglong, a Jinyiwei—struck a chord in me. 

Whatever you tell me to do 
I will do it 
No matter if you are lying to me 
Or not

But such words will only be reckoned with by those who have complete respect for the significant other in their life. Often, although we give utmost respect to the other—the fruit of our senses, the aesthetic object if you will rejects it, or does not allow for the embracing—whatever the extenuating reasons may be. 

The point for reflection is in the what, the why, and the how of such a reality. During our existence as individuals, repeated mis-readings of the stirrings in our being are akin to a selling out—as in ones core being hollowed from within—our perceptions deceiving us. It occurs on account of a lack of direction; an inability to go headlong into the wind and learn about each other, as also a lack of realization or awareness, and an inability to cherish holding onto the strength of the other. As also, the sheer lack of awareness to strengthen oneself, as well as the other, and the relationship. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Calligraphy reveals the person! Really and who says what?!

The point of concern as said and stemming from Chinese calligraphy is that: Calligraphy reveals the person/individual. That being accepted as truth, what I am saying is that, that realization cannot possibly be realized/comprehended by any and everybody. Such awareness only comes to certain individuals, and not necessarily those who practice any form of calligraphy.

Furthermore, I am not saying that I have the ability to discern how to see, or worse judge an individual by their calligraphy; and aside from that, I am not talking about myself or even remotely interjecting myself into any of this. These are specific distinctions.  Essentially the rupture on my part is to not make it simple for anyone to run with the maxim that Calligraphy reveals the person, and proclaim it in a cavalier manner. To even embrace that idea the mind has to be able to see, contemplate, examine as also adjudicate various aspects of any skill at shaping letterforms at deeper planes.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Satyagraha and Being

Satya+agraha. The insistence on truth, a belief that I will never abandon. It may perhaps sound hokey, but the embrace is real. So, as we approach the midnight hour, tomorrow Aug 23 being a new day—for me, the day I will become an American citizen. Have no irrational nor extrapolated fears about me losing my Indian being—that evolved existence will not be eclipsed nor compromised. Yet, I will owe allegiance to the United States of America (the U.S.A). The yakshas and yakshis, the apsaras, the dhoots, and among other entities the devas will not be rejecting me, and neither I them at 8:30 tomorrow morning, nor shall I my composite Indian composite being. In my case how could that possibly happen? I know that many of my Indian pals do not like to hear such thoughts, and that is good since now we can keep looking at each other from separate shore. Or as the Heart Sutra puts it: Gate gate para gate Parasam gate Bodhi Svaha!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Schemas, scheming and placating ones inner lemming

Frank Schneider as Gregor Samsa, at LaMama Etc., NY green roon.
photo: Sean Sullivan  body paint: Venantius J Pinto

Why is it uncommon for individuals to smile when they encounter another say in workplaces—depressingly, a de facto place of worship one might add in the times we are in. These individuals too often superiors, in positions of leadership and stewardship surely have nothing to lose. Of course, other than running around with some heady confusions written on the slates of their minds. Could it be just perhaps ensconced as they are in the haze of multitasking—that a smile could just cause their day to shatter? Just perhaps. Still, how could one shatter the tool that they are? 

But it appears that humor aids in hiding the extent of scheming resorted to by those who cannot but help themselves deploy their schemes? So could it be that they see a smile as an investment which they’d rather not be flashing around. other than being amiable in those moments when standing face-to-face. A self-hypnotic sleight in a compendium of mind-numbing states. And to add to the above, being highly aware is a quality very much in their pouch of talents! So I am all confused then. Do spare me any further ignominy.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Awesoming is the new Auming ॐing

Awesome, said one of them and promptly proceeded to toast my gray matter. Once again the synapses held. It must be that I am now better able to parry their thrusts. Indeed, being the ward that I am of some very old souls, I must not come across as complaining. 

While so many hope to have a job, and others struggle to hold  theirs—individuals who lack personhood, redolent as a swarm of locusts keep lacerating even the more grounded sensibilities, by diminishing anything brought to the commons: talent, skills, virtues, even respect. Thereby they satiate their bloodlust, acquire their pound of flesh! A win in their minds, a high of their senses. Well, you get to pick up your pieces, dust off yourself, and hope for a quieter span of time.

They could well have been saying Aum [ ॐ ]—welcome to the Gods, when saying Awesome/ Awesum, to mean in my parlance: welcome to us Goaders. We cannot help but want to know whether we hurt you enough. Goad comes from the Old English word gád, and was first recorded in 725 CE as the word “gaad.” Of Peace-Weavers (from Old English freodu-webbe) there are fewer and fewer of them. Beowulf anyone? 

So, should I keep cherishing the thought of meeting a Brünhilde? A Gudrun perhaps, or should I perfect suffering fools gladly? 

photo: Cecilia Castelino

Friday, July 26, 2013

Figuring out the Figureheads

Detail of Biomorphic Déjà vu
Much like the mermaid and merman figureheads built into bows of sailing vessels of the past, their contemporaneous titular counterparts do not benefact in procellous navigation. They are a cadre of overseers marking time for their workforce. 

Any analogy to storm petrels would be as though one had become sightless. Along with the titles, and possibly enviable remuneration packages, their blank eyes know at what length to behold those in their charge. One cannot speak truth to them, other than remembering that they shape it.

By virtue of being possessed, and as also possessing an exoticism redolent in seraglios of the past, they truly are akin to janissaries, and odalisques—creatures clearly beholden to their overlords, delivering and prevailing over those they oversee.

At times some being or ones demeanor may elicit a surprise in them, but they will not revel in the sensation lest their own being and natures rebel against them. It has to do with having a strange sense of their own abstraction—and ostensibly with a close eye on their gains and their perches. Any movement that arises within their core upon encountering new knowledge renders a shock—the revelation that this other has been formed differently. One may presume they are snug in having their vibes of feeling entitled!

Frontline charmers; splendid Kafkaesque gatekeepers; tight lipped they sit, wearily raising their heads, fanning your presence with wan smiles. There is a quiet sordidness to their being, and its true that beauty can dislodge ones focus. The only option is to hold on, develop and with every struggle gain ground, that one may only hope to hold on to. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Monsoon Majja MMXII

The monsoons are a big event in India. They help raise spirits. and minds, besides bringing much needed rains to the parched earth. India rises and falls on the timely onset of the monsoon season. For the past many years my mates at JJ Applied, Mumbai, including the seniors have made it a point to hold an annual meet. A get-together—to greet, reminiscence and party. I have not managed to attend one, but I believe they are loads of fun. 

This poster is a small commemoration—my contribution to event. We are alumni of the Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art. Mazza, means fun. I have played off the Roman numeral MMXIII (2013), cascading to suggest rain. The text in Devnagiri Amhi Sagle JJ, means: We are (all) JJ (ites).

Btw, Rudyard Kipling was born in the Deans Bungalow which is on the campus. His father Lockwood Kipling was the Professor of Architectural Sculpture at the Jamshedjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art, which is on the same small campus.

Best all.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Venantius on Broadway. On the street dummy!

photo: Mo Riza
Do do anna lekar aana popat ko lekar jana. (Bring two two anna and go away with a parrot (take along a parrot with you).

An anna—an unit of currency was 1/16 of an Indian rupee. In my early years we could not afford much other than the basics, but it made me very happy when the parrot seller came by with a beam full of paper parrots and hollered (parroted) the above in Hindi. I never got to buy one of his parrots but always appreciated the skill of the popatwallah ("parrot man”; seller of those handcrafted parrots).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Petits bourgeois naïfs (or, Of callow propositions and schemata)

Sundry Sunday thought (April 28, MMXIII):
In India it is a summarily “chalta hai”** towards any concern that is raised about methodology, process; heck, quality assurance, or any process. Here, in my US ambit as also quite vast experience, it has been the summarily dismissive: whatever; I don’t care; and, the indelicate—in your face: “Is it bad to say I don’t care,” more often delivered in the most naïf manner (way)—an attitude in itself.

Anagrams for naif: fain, an if! Archaic though it may be—fain is synonymous with happily, and gladsome / ness.
**from Hindi, chalta hai: ’twill do (nothing more needs to be done / delivered), (it) will suffice,…

**whatever: a. just get it done sans concerns / precise questions. 
b. I don’t care: just deal with it. Additionally, ** and get it into your head that you are alone in this

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Stains on the wall, or who flung dung

Dancers falling, La Guardia Perf. Arts, NY
Its strange — the sense of entitlement a marriage can bring to a young persons mind; and appears too often to dovetail with a belief of being owed a career. You better contribute to that notion by making life convenient for their consuming selves or else…
Fittingly? His mind sees it as a piece of cake. So, said he: still!… at it? Like: you must be dimwitted — ergo dropped the ball. And to my being, my mind delivered a message: steel yourself, yet not use the blade. Maintain the edge, dull you are not; a dullard you will never be.
And what to make of those steeped in the lackadaisical? Teach them? Perhaps the shock of a slap may just revert them to the presence of the beam in their eye. One teaches those who yearn, to do things right. How does one get someone to overcome their shortcomings towards learning to help themselves — those who obfuscate meaning!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

RISK, and seeing risk head on... a DRAWING sung!

Tandav, Silverpoint on linen 5' x 3' 

For those of you who know RISK this is where it is at… Crosby Stills and Nash - Suite: Judy Blue Eyes - Live 2012 (posted by pauljaros videos).

Listening to the CSN original, one absorbs the huge risk Crosby Stills and Nash took in the 2012 recital of Jusy Blue Eyes. To my sense, the choral melds—proceeding as though its a DRAWING being sung ! What they did is so hard and it COULD HAVE FALLEN APART at any time. 

…a whole philosophy of being and consciousness here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cloudbursts on the front lines

From on aloft, King David espied Bathsheba bathing in her courtyard.
He had her brought into his presence; entering… 
into her scented precincts — ensuing a pregnant tussock.
Summoned he Uriah come home, wash his feet — attend to Bathsheba.

A consideration then by the King one might think? 
An anachronism today, but then, contact between the two however brief
would surely have shrouded the nature developing in the sprouting womb.
To hide the mushrooming pregnancy… that was the brief!

Steadfastly refused Uriah, the Kings command — attend to Bathsheba.
A Hittite beholden to Deuteronomy; in essence renege your command, 
to smite "anything that breathes,” those teaching you to follow all, 
the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods.” 
Towards this obedience; in the pains of battle all coital relations shunned. 

There would be no washing of feet, the carnal would be spurned. 
King David not immune to this understanding; dispatched he —  
into battle Uriah, ordering Joab, commander and kingmaker rolled in one: 
ensconce him at the front — have his men move away; let him perish!

Thus was killed Uriah, whose name means: 
God is my Light; one of King David’s mighty men!
And Nathan the prophet said it as it was:  An abomination — 
he decried, pointing at David leaving nothing unsaid…
Absalom insurrected.

Coming down to today, we have King Davids acolytes… morphed 
into his erstwhile enemies, the Ammonites. Even the marrow shudders!
And one has made it to the front, or was it that the front moved behind 
or is it that, the front is the pasture where the wolf seeks the lamb? 
Yet there is no barbed wire. But food must make it to the table. 

Before one knew it, one turned itinerant.
An itinerancy of a nature much like illiteracy, the denial of movement, 
tongue, be-ing, humanity: a state of being where titles mean little, 
the earnings even less. But food is now on the table. 
A repast in lieu of past deprivation? That deserves thanks and praise!? 

On the front, smitten by cloudbursts of deceits… 
a fakery of cooing, a consummate dispassion extracting labor,  
rolling eyes, soft shoe shuffling, bodies packed in two sizes too small.  
And pain is all around. We maintain politesse! 

There is no discernible ball and chain. Yet we surrender to the treachery.
Is there a Nathan now, other than that faint namesake for hamburgers! 
Who sheds light? Will things pass? Will they overrun my being?

Now pain livens up my being. How is this possible? The front is cold;
warm those ensconced in the knowledge of conceits: pain embraces.

Christ resurrected on day three. Is there hope through his becoming man?