Sunday, October 30, 2005

" Where did you sleep last night?"

Pics taken from the exhibition at 1 Shanthi Road.
Silke Kaestner's show.
In an earlier blog I remarked how, inspite the useless conditions many of us Indians live in... many still show a heart. Well, I just mentioned it in a few words, but yesterday I found a person who has lived it through! And she is not even Indian.

Now, I am no 'artist' ( should I be?) or a critic to write about this with authority. But I am touched enough to feel I got the right to!

Silke, the girl who feels for India/Indians or maybe just people or maybe life alone, is from Berlin in Germany and has been wandering around India. She's been to the Himalayas for sure, I know. And she travels alone. She is an 'artist' for sure too but fortunately she is also a very sweet person!. And yesterday I happened to visit her show, which I hear is called an 'installation'. An installation, termed 'Where did you sleep last night?'.

At first, when I entered the studio, I saw just a few crates piled up on one another. And I said to myself 'that's easy & now what am I supposed to understand?'. Instead, I first went picked a drink for myself, munched on the snacks...

And then I returned. Nervous about revealing my ignorance and even more nervous to make a politically incorrect statement ... I slowly went close to these crates and peeped in. And there I see the picture of Silke sleeping on the pavement midst of traffic. And suddenly the surrealistic nature of the event struck me.

Everyday, I see these scenes on the road. But never did I see a blonde lady in that place. And for a moment my heart melted at the possibility. She was fragile, alone, far from her country and lying there in the middle of local junta. What did people think? Is she making fun of us? Did they think they need to help her? Did they feel shame that they considered her being, while many of our own people pass besides our wheels each day without anyone 'disturbing' them? Or were they already full of their own little issues to bother about it?

For me, the circumstances, made me wonder. When did I put everyone who slept on the road, on pavements, in the cold, in the heat, into their autos into a box? And how often do I peep into it? The box, the contents of which, remain hidden from my other box - my other box, which includes my colleagues & friends and me. All of us who sleep within fourwalls, mostly privately. Who taught me how to store my world into different boxes? Was it a way for me to focus on one single box - defined by those watching me each day?

Should I break these boxes? But if I do that, what? It will only open doors to a world I cannot swim well in or deal with. I rather the doors I open lead into private places only... ones I can handle and which contain nothing that will interrupt my daily routine. Do I have the guts to let go all my wants and learn how to remain happy... as long as I get a place to sleep, eat food and dream? Is that more happiness or is it estrangement?

As I stood thinking all this, without any conclusion or consequence, I felt another sense. The studio was the big box of all of us! General viewers, Artist, critics, conoisseurs, students... Silke had painted the walls in the nice colourful schemes, that seemed to reflect the colours of Indian sarees, quilts, and those we find in shops - so that we could feel comfortable with each other and ourselves.

For our sake she also put the pictures of our ancient stories, so that our faith remains intact.

On the walls she was talking to us, so we could see her smile. But her heart - she had put into another box - into those wooden crates. Her heart and feelings connecting to an India, which she can feel for, wants to talk about... but one which must remain partly covered - until someone tells us how to break the boxes or how to remove those experiences out, without hurting the subject, herself or us.

Well... having said all this, its very possible that Silke is reflecting on the multiple options of living life. A house, car, and ownership of people & land may not be everyone's agenda. And she realises that. As long as you can sleep somewhere... one thing is for sure, the world is still your home. Wherever you may close your eyes.

Well all this is my interpretation only. Probably, far from what she wanted to say or communicate. But does it matter? As long as we have our own boxes to live in... ?


Blogger JD said...

My first contact with Bangalore was 1962. I was 12 years old, in Seattle, USA, and I had a 13 year-old "pen pal" who lived in your city. For several years we exchanged many long and happy letters, revealing our lives and cultures to each other. To this day, I have many beautiful postage stamps he sent to me those many years ago.

Now 43 years later, I as a newcomer to your blog, begin to feel that deep, warm, and thoughtful feeling again from Bangalore. With every article, I come away with something of deep substance to give me meditation fuel for the rest of the day. Life in another land, another culture, another perspective.

It's nice being reconnected to your part of the world.

5:48 AM  
Blogger trangam said...

JD: Thanks for your kind words and I am glad for your comment. And thanks on behalf of Bangalore too!

By the way, I am new to bloggin and you are just the second person to comment and the first I have no contact with already! So, its special and I will remember always!

6:53 AM  
Blogger Selba said...

I like the style of your blog. It would be very interesting to learn more about India from your blog! Keep it up :)

7:56 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

You brought up some really interesting points about living in boxes too, Trangam. It's funny how different groups of people begin to seperate themselves. Reading made me think of the people that Bangkok's "working class" classify as beggers, or even tuk-tuk and taxi drivers, and how different these people are really from me. Hmmmm.

Anyways, thanks Trangam! I enjoy reading your blogs from time to time.

10:31 PM  
Blogger trangam said...

Selba & Dan: Thanks for your kind words. Glad to hear your comments & thoughts.

1:19 AM  

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