Oct 01, 2023
Oct 01, 2023
No. I'm not crude. Though I probably hurt your eye. A death white hand holding a merry hat, a thigh joining an elbow and a knee, a foot kept twisted still. Yet see the calm that is of me. The leisure there is in the gentle tilt of the hat, the smoothness of the hand-hold, the quiet reconciliation of the foot. Everything coexists out here. Like life.
I'll tell you of an image to help you see me. A few days ago while traveling to college in a local bus, I met a strange scene. I was on a tar highway, amidst the warmth of other motors filled with people made to stop at the traffic light. Next to my road was a shallow dry wide mouthed drain, filled with leaves and dust. Beyond it stood the tall familiar shrubbery planted by the municipality. It's stems were soft, slender and a light brown, and grew independently from the base. The leaves grew like a continuous spiral, up the stems. Fine dust filled them. Across the plants another tar road stretched parallel to the one over which my bus stood. Motorists-in-a-hurry, had found their way to it so as to subcept the stop signal on the highway. The air was dry and still. The mechanical snake of motorists was slithering, under the steady sun, assembling itself everytime small spaces were created by a movement of some vehicle in line.
It was then that I saw. The leg; next to the shrubbery, where the mechanical snake of motorists slightly curved inwards and made room; where the motorists were pausing regularly, were dipping their heads down to look, taking a blank breath, then, regaining their balance, looking up ahead again- a short nod to themselves perhaps- steadying their horses, and getting going. It was a dark brown leg, with calf muscles that showed. Like the leg of a hardy laborer. A leg? I thought. An intact whole leg on the road? Next to a municipality shrubbery? I held my seeing. I looked the whole scene. No humanity, no markets, no vendors, no houses, no structures anywhere around. And a leg? Beyond the two roads were an immense flat yellow dry field, and beyond it was the red stone wall of the ancient Purana Quila- the monument. I returned to my percept. The leg was disappearing into the shrubbery. The foot was turned down on the tar road. I drew the rest in my mind. A body, face (and mouth, and nose) down in the leaves and dust, amidst the dark of the shrubbery stems. And silent. Dry. No blood, no shrill sounds, no sudden emotion, no accident it was.
Only death could do justice to the pervasive acceptance that was the scene. I imagined a man. Alive. Walking. A dark skinned laborer with fine carbon dust from automobile exhausts, settled on him, with thoughts only of how much he had already walked in the past many days. Walking was all there was to life now. And walking, one moment, his soul, hanging like a reluctant flag over his Being, unhinged itself. The glucose in his muscles over, he felt a feeling of weakness. A pebble obstructed his toe. He fell. And he just never could get up (and shake the dust off his face).
I couldn't believe it was all one picture. The still sky, light clouds, the vapourless, clear, comforting air, the daily routine proceeding un-erred, automated right through my own hand as if, the humming warmth of the motors, the unambiguous large highway signs, the straight unending clean road, the reliable undying rock in the fort's wall- without crevices or cracks, the smooth flat open space; and somewhere face and mouth into dry soil, a half concealed death. For a while I escaped from crudity to gaiety, from gaiety to crudity, to and fro. My head ached, to integrate, to behold life and death together, to make (his) misery and (my) comfort continuous, to make (his) bondage and (my) freedom coexist, to harmonize absolute alienation and society.
This is the fragmentation, the tension I am, situated here, at this gallery. A sculpted mix- a single object in which you can behold it , my physical symmetry is calling you in for an incongruous encounter - to ring a bell, to speak for life.
More by : Jamini Sharma