Le de ke apne paas faqat ek nazar hi to hai

After all, my only real possession is my viewpoint

Sahir Painting

I generally try to avoid adding whole posts that are simply a lengthy duplication of what (little I have read of) other great thinkers, writers and artists. Obviously, this is not because I do not value their creations, and certainly not because of any delusions of grandeur where I believe my words are more significant – far, far from it!

I feel my simplistic and amateur writing has some value to myself. It is extremely personal and depicts my world at particular moments in time, as seen from my eyes. This space, like my other creative endeavours is a mingling of my memories, experiences, feelings, observations and dreams – my realities from the past, present and future.

However, once in a while, I come across literature, or an anecdote that I find so truthful that it connects with me on an emotional and even spiritual level. It speaks to my inner most self in such a way that I feel the words are the unspoken thoughts that I could not express due to my limited talents. It is those time, that I am compelled to share it and the feelings of longing and love that they arouse within me. Continue reading

Fear of the unknown (So…I shot my first film and why it took 15 years – part 8)

7. Fear of the unknown

”If what you’re doing does not have the possibility of failing, then by definition, you’re not doing anything new. So the only way that you can do anything new or interesting, is to open yourself up to that risk of failing.”

(Charlie Kaufman)

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (Caspar David Friedrich: 1818)

Society has trained us to be afraid, to be very afraid of all that is unfamiliar and all that we are unable to understand. The journey of fear begins with most parents who – aside from trying to live vicariously through their children and passing on the burden of their unfulfilled desires and ambitions – project their fears that have prevented from living freely. Then it’s the turn of the schooling system to cement a fear of non-conformity, of authority and failure at every corner. Organised religion manipulates us into being forever petrified of a wrath of God that will surely strike upon us, and confine us to eternal damnation. And government, well where do I start?

The greater the amount of fears, the more intensely we are socially controlled. We lose the freedom to make life choices out of love for ourselves, and instead we are compelled to make life decisions that emerge from the exaggerated fears we have been fed and by over-rationalising the threat of failure.

It becomes so deeply internalised, that our life decisions made as a result of these underlying fears are justified as being ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ or accepted reluctantly as being a ‘part of life’- an unfair, yet necessary negotiation. By the time most of us reach our twilight years, there is not even a flicker of the creative, curious and daring child who once made pretty sandcastles and chased butterflies. We simply exist as an accumulated mountain of fears that are now passed onto future generations.

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Crippled by self-doubt (So…I shot my first film and why it took 15 years – part 7)

6. Crippled by self-doubt

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

(Bertrand Russell)

Does this mean I believe myself to be a wise person? No, the term comes with too much baggage. But I do know that I am neither a fool, nor a fanatic of any kind.

And, that I am filled with constant and stubborn self-doubt about my capabilities, and about every single thought and story idea that I have written down. Neither does it help in any way, when I read that apparently, self-doubt and creativity go hand-in-hand. No. I want to be confident, even arrogant about my ideas so that I am propelled to bring them to fruition and share them with the world. I don’t want to be wasting away precious time mulling over how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ I think they are, while the days go by.

But what I want to be, is different to what I am.

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Embracing the waves of melancholy (So…I shot my first film and why it took 15 years – part 6)

5. Embracing the waves of melancholy

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”

(Edgar Allen Poe)

melancholy

Melancholy (Edvard Munch: 1894)

Feeling shrouded by melancholy, has meant being haunted by ghosts of past, stifled by regret , an inexplicable and insurmountable sense of loneliness and longing, a perpetual uneasiness with the crude and selfish ways of the world, an overwhelming burden to pursue truth, meaningfulness and destiny, while accepting the futility and insignificance of my existence, and a dream of a dawn that I know will never arrive.

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Ambition handicapped by laziness and inertia (So…I shot my first film and why it took 15 years – part 5)

4. Ambition handicapped by laziness and inertia

” I don’t do anything with my life except romanticize and decay with indecision.” 

(Allen Ginsberg)

francis-bacon-self-portrait-1969

Self Portrait by Francis Bacon (1969)

You’d think that after making obsessive efforts (which I excel in), to trawl the internet in order to track down two favourite Indian filmmakers in their secluded office hideaways in suburban Mumbai, asking one of them if I could assist them on set – and then actually getting a positive response –  that I’d be really serious about learning filmmaking.

Nope. 2007 was yet another year that passed away. Only this time I could brag about my feeble attempt at how close I got to the magic of real-world filmmaking, and then lament about how my (already booked) flight next day meant that I could not have stayed and made something of it. Continue reading

The burden of dreams (So…I shot my first film and why it took 15 years – part 4)

3. The burden of dreams

Sisyphus

Sisyphus by Titian (1549)

Having come from a completely non-creative, working class background, understandably, my folks were not equipped to recognise, encourage or direct my creativity – I even wonder in their defence – if it even manifested itself during my adolescent years. They, were simply the products of all their influences and experiences, and just like the masses they understood schooling as a means to secure ‘respectable’ and ‘successful’ (financially rewarding) employment, that would perhaps also be a source of pride for them.

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