Sunday, November 10, 2013

Why do I feel what I feel

(Manoj Venugopal works at Kotak Mahindra Bank and is based in Ahmedabad.)

ART for me is an expression of oneself more strongly, than just words.

My understanding of the meaning of this word has changed drastically over the last 3 decades since I first heard it. From a normal period in school, whereby we used to sketch, scratch and pour colours on paper or for a few who used to hone their skills by singing (which we could never relate to). Just as years passed by I realized that there is more to this small 3-lettered word than what I have been able to understand and absorb.

The facets of this word slowly and steadily started making themselves known to me. It stretched its wings from plain papers, strings of the various instruments in my dad’s bhajan mandalis to street plays, various musical events, stage shows, dance performances, live life like sketches etc. People found so many avenues to express themselves so strongly. I felt lucky and unlucky at the same time, lucky because over a period of time I could get affiliated to lots of talented people who could express themselves through various forms of art. And unlucky because I was still stuck to the old tried and tested style of expression – writing.

My first brush with a third genre of art was in the summer vacations of 10th standard wherein I met a couple of friends of my eldest cousin who were thoroughly into Carnatic classicals. Their daily rehearsals, couple of stage shows were good enough to ignite the passion for following arts more diligently. Then what followed over the years was absolute bliss. I started learning Carnatic classicals for a few years, but fate had a better word to say and I had to leave it. One thing that drives art is discipline to follow your dreams with absolute focus. I didn’t have it in me, but there wasn’t any dearth for this all around. My friend excelled in instruments, another friend did her masters in dance forms, singing etc. I felt honoured to be associated with them. They did not only feel the need to share but make me a part of each of their achievements.

Yes, admittedly I didn’t understand much about everything. But the keenness to learn hasn’t stopped and the focus to cling on anything that remotely attaches me to this expression of oneself – art - I would always jump into. This for me is the way to relieve oneself from all that binds us like shackles and doesn’t let us touch ourselves, feel ourselves. It helps me find new meaning to everything that I have seen, understood, touched and felt. This is an ode to all those who have helped me remain in search of myself through this form of expression.

- Manoj Venugopal

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