Sunday, 31 December 2006

'i'ness: Graphic+Text

‘i’ness (graphic)
by - Remigius de Souza

THE GRAPHIC, ‘i’ness, as I call it now, was made around 1967 while I was staying at Ahmedabad. It was made on a wall-turned-black board with square line graph for sketching, writing etc. This is not an exact replica of the original. There were no circles in the original. They were there but invisible. The circles and ‘i’s are indefinite in numbers and at random places. The circles overlap and there is no centre. Ambiguities are obvious.

Do the circles suggest fields, or boundaries, or frontiers or a movement? Does the graphic show chaos within and outside? Or is it a landscape of mind? Is the ‘i’ a butterfly or a honeybee? Or does it represent an amoeba? The small ‘i’ certainly denies ego or a split or a fractured person. Is the graphic an attempt in self-discovery?
The ‘i’ is not an island but a drop in an ocean that evaporates, takes a ride on clouds, freezes on a mountain peak, falls in a pond, a stream, sinks in the soil, flows in a gutter to river to ocean, shines on a grass blade in the early sun-rays, but never lost.

The original has long disappeared from the blackboard, like a ‘Rangoli’ that is inscribed on a floor. There was nothing extraordinary to consider it as a work of art, or a formula in natural or social sciences. None of my companions or any of the occasional or regular visitors did any comment on the graphic. Like them I was also trained as an architect and a professional.

I remained ‘primitive’ in spite of my elitist education as architect and even though I moved in the elitist circle of professionals. I was looking at Corbu and others, and the works of the architecture at Ahmedabad and elsewhere. While my companions, colleagues, acquaintances were going to the West, I was moving with humility in the villages and forest habitats where the abodes, the languages and the ways of living were one with natural environment.

I had then come a long way, but did not fall for the masters, authority, religions, leaders or pyramids on my way. Though nonconformist I had been consistent at least in my thinking even in the trying circumstances, as it often happens while working in the organised sector that wants to maintain a status quo. I would rather move away and beyond, because I had seen not only two ends but also several of the world.

After decades I recall the graphic because a friend said, “I am depressed”. We all get depressed sometime or other for some causes. Why should a person be depressed? Stock markets are supposed to get depressed. Body and mind are just tools; they need to be revived, refreshed; they should be sharpened like a carpenter sharpens his tools when starting the work; they should be cleansed as a housewife cleans the utensils for the next meal.

Constant renewal of life is the nature’s way, so it should be with an individual and the society, along with ever-renewing miracle of love. A society – ancient or modern – that denies the renewal – constant renewal – of its life even in the third (and fourth) ecology, the society that turns love, gods, religions and humans into commodities, and monetises the basic needs, is a decedent society, which causes depression for its members. Life is larger than all the arts, sciences, religions and philosophies put together.

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Remigius de Souza

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