Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thinking of more

It was a nice weekend – a perfect blend of spending time with family, spending time with friends, and spending time with myself. And there was peaceful weather and of course, good food.

My cook had made a really nice, spicy-sweet chutney – grated coconut, lots of peanuts, lump of jaggery, and a hint of ginger and chillies. It was really tasty. In fact, I spent my time snacking on scoops of chutney with soft, hot rotis.

I saw ‘The Ugly Truth’ on Friday night with Jaygee and quite liked it. It’s clichéd, and there’s a very annoying cat in it, but the cast is quite competent. Especially Gerard Butler. He doesn’t look like the typical Casanova – with square jaw and razor-sharp nose. He looks like he’s rough around the edges, a bit of a boor, resigned if a woman out of his league exits his life, and pleasantly surprised when she returns. The movie had its moments. Although I did think that the script got drunk on Harry met Sally the night before and tiptoed in its hang-over the next day.

In the Landmark sale (which, by the way, I strongly recommend), I bought two books – ‘Burnt Toast’ by Teri Hatcher and, ahem, ‘Sun Signs’ by Linda Goodman. I have not read any of Linda Goodman’s books before. This brings to mind the question – what was I doing in college? I was, in fact, reading stuff like the Economic and Political Weekly. Waste of time all that was since Ariens are likely to be bad at both - money and politics. I definitely seem to be the poster-child for the wastrel-type traits Aries is supposed to have. As for politics, well, I’m told I demonstrate unmistakable traits of megalomania which some people have a problem with.

I’ve just about started reading Goodman – and I don’t care about how accurate she is...but man, can she write! The characterizations are just so interesting!

At some level, I suppose every human being will demonstrate traits of all sun-signs, but the way Linda has created this integrated, cohesive profile for each zodiac, in each of its roles (as man, woman, child, boss, and employee) is remarkable! She definitely should have been a scriptwriter!

Of course, if the book is to be believed, I am an Aries male. Oddly, I seem to display most male characteristics of various zodiac signs. I wonder why.

So, reading times have been fun. But I am growing restless intellectually. I think I want to go back to studying. Attend classes, take notes, pore over books in the library, write reports, and wait for my assignments to get their A plus grades (I am usually that good!). I’m still undecided about what I want to study. My favourite topics are phenomenology, history (especially historiography or art history), or do some kind of research on prejudice. I was considering literature. But my reservations about literature are the same today as they were when I was in college – I think it’ll take the fun out of reading.

My cousin also suggested that I do a creative writing course, but then again – I don’t think I’ll enjoy it a lot. First of all, what I like about my writing is that it is coarse. It’s not polished, doesn’t have finesse’, but it it’s adequate to convey what I think. It’s just about enough. I don’t want that essence to change. My writing, if I dare say, is like that Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi – imperfect, impermanent, incomplete. One must look for beauty through it all.

Anyway, I don’t think writing is a big deal. Any one can do it. The problem is that writers generally get so full of themselves...full of words. A good writer, or rather any kind of writer, should be keenly aware of just how inadequate words are. At best, words serve to provide a menu to someone who’s asking for food. Words are layered, they carry weight, they have several meanings...strung together they’ll paint one bright Rorschach test. But over and above that, words can’t do anything a reader doesn’t want words to do.

I think I’m getting tired of words. Perhaps I should stop writing. It’s irritating me now.

Maybe I should study design. I love design – as a discipline. It doesn’t matter if it applies to making clothes, or houses, or ships. I want to study design principles – what makes a design good, what makes it bad, what makes anything a design to begin with. For a while now I have observed that good design is about restraint. It is a natural tendency to create something for everyone. Good design, though, is created for a purpose, not a person. In fact, this is most apparent for me in writing. One may start writing to communicate an idea. But then, there’ll be a mental editor that’ll shart chattering about how this sentence is too long, and shouldn’t you try turning a phrase here and there? Or else, you picture an audience. Sometimes, there’s a face, sometimes there’s an imagined opinion. And unaware, you start writing to that reader. You write with shackles.

I suppose what I really want to learn is how to get free. And stay that way.


The Idle Devil said...

thats the best kind of thing...btw, the strand sale is in juhu this weekend...and for quite a while i guess. Btw, i love the way you write. Dont ever change it but do write a book :)

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

I suppose what I really want to learn is how to get free. And stay that way

And no course will teach you that :)

Mumbai Diva said...

am an aries too.

i'm a huge fan of your writing. I took a creative writing course. I came away shackled, unable to write freely and with a maddening urge to edit and re edit every sentence till it no longer seemed my voice. that's just my experience, tho.

Restlessness. to do more. to learn more. i'm keen on exploring book readings in mumbai.

Aditi said...

hey..I am a designer, and just about to take a creative writing course :) i think it would help me put my ideas across more clearly..