Bana in East Aleppo

“There’s Internet in East Aleppo. There’s solar in E. Aleppo. There’s Bana in E. Aleppo who’s suffering & tweeting. Good night. “- Fatemah

“Good evening my friends. What are you doing today? I am happy I lost two more teeth. – Bana #Aleppo ”

There is internet in East Aleppo. Solar in East Aleppo. There is Bana in East Aleppo.

Good evening, friends. What are you doing today ?

We are buying vegetables for the night. We are writing poems. We are staring at the computer screen. We will tell you when we are through.

You have lost two teeth already? Ok. We had lost all ours long ago.

She tweets like a tiny bird on truth
Who is searching for middle tooth.

Tooth fairy fears to come to sooth.
The uncles hurl bombs from south.

She’ll come after they finish drops.
And then there will be no love left,

And no sweet birds in the blue sky
Nor her tweets, her sweet tweets.

(Referring to seven year old Bana’s tweets from Aleppo about the horrors of the war in Syria)

Inner speech

“Language is the hallmark of humanity—it allows us to form deep relationships and complex societies. But we also use it when we’re all alone; it shapes even our silent relationships with ourselves. In his book, The Voices Within, Charles Fernyhough gives a historical overview of “inner speech”—the more scientific term for “talking to yourself in your head.”

https://goo.gl/T5Hn3M

The author says besides talking to others we talk to ourselves a kind of inner language that has no words or words fewer than words of our language but that which runs faster .

Just now what is taking place within me as I am thinking and writing about it?  I think I was meandering and now I reach a point very different to what the normal language may have taken me to. But at the end if it, I land up in a poem about a leader who is speaking her inner language from below the earth where death had reached her yesterday evening. In the normal language there is no sense to what I say I was doing.

In my poem it makes sense, if I think all this through the inner language in me that runs faster than a language. So I am in a mess. But poetry is about being in mess, in the inner language that takes long leaps across spaces between words .

Alive and blinking

When you wake up in the morning you reiterate your existence saying aloud “Alive and kicking!” .In the morning walk you are blinded by the brilliant morning sun in the tall grass waving in the breeze .You say “alive and blinking”. The grass re-asserts your existence as the sun continues to shine warmly on your skin. In the distance the hillocks sit pretty against the blue sky waiting for the golden sunshine to cover their flanks.

Instead of the long time frame one sets for oneself in younger days, the time horizon is now just one day –between today’s dawn and tomorrow’s, now, so uncomfortably close.

You want to be alive and blinking- at the far horizon where the hillocks sit pretty waiting for the sun’s golden rays to cover their flanks.

Art is a deathlike experience

The human mind has this constant need to conform because it is otherwise free beyond any limitations that define structures governing human activity.There is this need to be like everybody .The moment we are free we feel lost and disoriented in the vast wild wastes of logical possibility. Hence the defining structures.We always try to devise newer structures because we are afraid of being sucked into the uncertainty of the infinity,the kind of borderless existence that fills us with fear.Human existence is a matter of so much enclosed space with a dream which refuses to acknowledge contours. Art is a uniquely human endeavor to break down structures ,to demolish contours and become part of space which is not defined by any outlines. The only way such a thing is possible when the body disappears . Art is a death-like experience when the individual attempts to burst out of enclosed spaces.

Dance is an effort to extend human existence into the infinity of space.When the dancer throws her limbs in space in her dance movements she extends the frontiers of her own enclosed space. The abstract artist demolishes the outlines of physical objects and abolishes form and structure in order to experience freedom. That is the only way one invents freedom,the freedom which is hiding behind form and symmetry.When we dream on the side of our pillow we experience scary freedom ,when we disappear in the vastness of space . We have invented our God , a finite God with arms akimbo ,enclosed in the claustrophobic space of a human-like form because we are scared of an infinite God who is not enclosed in finite space.

Beauty in nature and art

Does beauty in nature conform to the known and accepted aesthetic principles of color,balance,texture,symmetry,harmony etc.?

Actually we do not see such principles in application in nature. For instance does a painter paint bright green foliage against deep translucent sky as we often see in the summer sky, without playing down the blue of the sky? Yet this is what we see and enjoy in nature. The combination of colors in nature is dynamic and relative to the time and space of the moment.A painter cannot achieve the same beauty if he does not employ the commonly accepted aesthetic principles of color combination,color texture,contrived color effects, creating an ideal artistic space which can be appreciated by the human mind.

The “combo” effect of several elements present in the beauty of nature cannot be reduced to the enunciation of a few principles as in art.The beauties of nature are something we all enjoy without the need to break them down to a few principles of critical appreciation.

The beauty of nature goes much beyond the aesthetics of human appreciation .There is something about nature which appeals to you even when there is no conformance to the known and accepted principles of aesthetics. Take for example the texture and shapes of the straggling boulders of our Hyderabad rock-scape which are pleasing to the eye despite the randomness of their arrangement.A sculptor would impose some formalism on their existence ,position under the sky,sharing of space with foliage,their own textures and colors related to the sky of the moment etc. You will not find in them a symmetry such as we attempt in art .For example an artist will not paint just a single rock under the sky but juxtapose it with another flatter rock ,a road or passage and fill the canvas with two or three palm trees.That is how symmetry is sought to be achieved .In nature we find randomness which is the opposite of harmony and the absence of deliberate positioning of objects.

Death

We may look at death as cessation of consciousness , the subject experiencer becoming  the object that is experienced. Looked at this way death does not mean obliteration but only an extension of the subject’s existence.

I look at death in yet another perspective.A person who is born becomes an Idea in Time and continues to exist as an Idea even after death.Thus all those who had lived and died before us are not obliterated but remain rooted in existence although they have ceased to exist in space.

A squatter’s perspective

When we were children we were eating our meals while squatted on the floor as the women of the house would serve food into our plates. As we grew up we adopted the western system of eating on a table.

I now find that squatting on the floor gives us a novel perspective, a unique line of vision in a world of standing people .Our sense of space suddenly becomes enriched with vast new spaces released into our visual perspective. Our vision becomes linear with furniture legs and table cloth frills .

When we raise our eyes we look at the ceiling fan with a curved perspective , a breath taking angle from which we see the fan as a kind of crooked oval object with its shadow playing on the intersection of the floor with the wall. Then all those people seem to be strutting about in the room like midnight shadows shuffling their large  feet grotesquely disproportionate to their comically lean torsos and tiny faces stuck up on them.