Mumbo Is Jumbo

Reasonable Art

White softness, submissive and complying, sits before me with its back against the easel and asks me, “Do you see me?”

“Huh?”, I ask, my eyes returning to focus on the perfect edges of the paper.

“Do you see me?”, it asks again, quieter this time. Much quieter.

“No”, I say and run my index finger over my eyebrow.

How could I? I’m an artist after all. I’m supposed to see things on the paper. The paper alone means nothing to me. It hides behind colour in near perfect submission. It lays no demands for the focus of a trained eye or the sweet caress of a surrendering hand. It wears whatever I give it and flaunts it in absolute stillness. Why would I ever see it?

But today, I’m forced to. Today, I must surrender my title and see nothing. I must do so because the only way to open a closed door is to forget there is a key. At least that’s how it works at the cul-de-sac inside my brain I call ‘creative space’.

And today the door is closed.

It’s blocked.

And I know it because I can hear it. Yes, I hear it when graphite touches paper. I hear it and I know that the door’s closed.

You see, there’s music in the air and on paper when the door’s open. A swish here and a swish there. They’re all expressions of the past, a reproduction of decisions made seconds ago. An experienced hand will handle the temporal separation with fidelity and resolute organisation. What you hear then is music. It rises and falls, bubbles up and explodes, and stomps with grace at a full stop.

But today, I don’t hear it. What I hear today is graphite choking on paper like a cat choking up a furball. My hand is moving over the paper like a drunk man at 5 a.m. on the subway. There is no fidelity, no organisation. My mind has nothing to say to my hands and I’ve lost all control. I turn the room upside down looking for the key. I must get out. If I don’t, I will kill me.

It is in this quiet desperation on a Monday evening that I find myself in the company of a perfect sheet of paper. It is offering me a way out. A way to convince myself that there is no key. A cheat code that will connect me to reality and unlock potential. So I cave in.

I frame the blank sheet of paper and I hang it on the wall.

I tell others I did it because art should never make us blind, even to paper.

Author’s note:

This piece is part of a series called ‘Mumbo is Jumbo’, where I talk about weird concepts and ideas that I have. In this short piece, I intend to highlight how art lies in the reason why you do something and not just in what you do. I also believe that we sometimes experience creative blocks because we forget this. The fact that I can get away with calling a sheet of paper art has to be good enough evidence. I didn’t even make it. I just came up with a reason to call it art and identified the reason as art in itself. You can too.

P.S. The 4D family is growing fast 🙂 If you like what you read, do share it and consider following the blog. We’re all friends here. Remember to always have a blast just existing. God bless!

Philosophy Of Life, The christian life

Clothes For My Pimples

Photo by Justin Veenema. Source: unsplash.com

Treat it for what it is. A minute real estate on your face with very little resale value for the next few weeks.

Why do we wear clothes?

Go ahead and google it. It’s amusing to see how the web manages to give relevant answers to questions like these.

We wear clothes for protection, for decoration and mostly to keep what’s private, private.

When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit. they lost the glory of God that clothed them and they clothed themselves with leaves.

I sometimes wish I had clothes for other stuff. Like pimples and scars.

My skin has a thing for pimples. Despite my mother’s incessant instructions not to pop them, I still used do it. And because of that I had trouble walking with my head held up high. People sometimes don’t see how much pimples can affect someone. It was torture for me. My face used to shrink to the size of a small spot. Metaphorically, of course.

Here I was, a teenage kid with a lot of potential. I had everything going for me. I mean, I did struggle a bit during high school with academics (regardless of which I ended up at my dream university). But other than that, I was doing great. I loved meeting people and having a good conversation. The only thing that kept me from enjoying every single minute of my day most days was the number of pimples on my face. That’s sad.

You do get better at living with your pimples. It gets easier. But I didn’t want to live with them. If I was not responsible for them and they were going to be a part of my life regardless, I could not afford them becoming even the slightest of my worries.

I learnt, though at a very slow pace, that nobody actually cared about my pimples. At least not as much as I thought they did. I also learnt that sometimes not every part of who you are will serve your confidence and that you have to choose what to focus on.

Me being a born-again Christian, realised that it is in God that my value is found. It is his glory that now clothed me and made me who I was. That realisation helped me a lot.

You, dear reader, have to realise that I am talking about a problem that is nothing compared to the millions of problems that are out there. But it definitely is one. Which is why I thought I should talk about how hurtful it could be when you stare at somebody’s pimple or even point it out in public. Even when it seems like it’s no big deal.

Before I go, to all my friends with pimples: Really, it’s not a big deal. Don’t worry too much. Treat it for what it is. A minute real estate on your face with very little resale value for the next few weeks. If you really want to make a mountain out of it, call them volcanoes of purity or call yourself pompously pimplified. I hope that was not gross.

Anyway, if you’ve actually read till here, you deserve an award. Please claim my respect by saying a hi in the comments. Joking. You don’t have to do that. I love you all nevertheless.

Have a blast just existing!

Philosophy Of Life

Witnessing Rain

This is a small piece of pure spontaneity. There’s no rhyme, no alliteration. It’s just a couple of verses that came out when I was chilling at the balcony, watching the rain. Things like this resonate with me more than the poems with rhymes and refrains. What about you?

Photo by Anna King. Source: unsplash.com

It’s raining outside. In phases.

Fast? Slow? It’s a rhythm I can’t tap to.

It smells nice. Like gentle familiar novelty.

Smell with my eyes. I smell colour.

Like colour on a fresh painting.

It’s preaching into the air.

It sounds like love.

If there is silence in between, that’s all I feel.

My arms are feeling the drops that I only see.

I’m under construction, a puzzle.

Oh, Lord, your creation is in awe of itself.

Hope you enjoyed this. Thank you so much for reading and have a blast just existing!

Philosophy Of Life

The Right Shoes

I’m an Indian kid doing his undergraduate course in English Literature. Most people don’t know this but in India, the number of kids trying to get into Medicine and Engineering is insanely high. The competition is so high, there are literally lakhs of unemployed engineers. It is in the midst of all this that I decided to study English. When I tell people that I am studying English at college, they are mostly extremely unimpressed. And I can’t blame them, IITs and Medical Colleges rule India. I mean it does hurt sometimes. I mean, I did get into one of the best universities in India and I love what I do. I love it so much that I would rather be at college than enjoy a holiday. I would never be at such a great place in life if I had done what everyone else was doing. A lot of people go through life doing what they don’t love. Instead of their work life nourishing their personal life, it sabotages it.

A few days ago, I made a small track and wrote a small poem (though it’s not a proper poem) to articulate how hard it is to go out and ‘do your own thing’. I hope you enjoy it.

Th track is called ‘Leg-Shoe’ and I’ll share the Instagram link to the track here. You can also listen to it at my YouTube channel at Stef Guitar Geek but there’s something wrong with audio at some parts.

View this post on Instagram

Something I made ft. another weird drawing. It's kinda long and I couldn't fit it all into a single video. It's about learning to make a career with the things you love and care about. Which is what all of us want to do and what God made us to do. But at the same time, your work has to feed your personal life, not starve it. Your relationships have to remain intact. Here's a small poem ( if you can call this that) about it: I feel burnt out. Utterly inexistent My legs have grown out of the shoes that i have come to love  I find myself locked into a room full of old worn out shoes And I must choose. For the world is not for a man with no shoes. But I can't. They stink and they are revolting to the eye. They are torn, bleeding leather, but  they are warm They are warm because they are worn. Everyone wears them. They wear 'em till they die. Some never even take 'em off. They go to bed in them. They bathe in them, some even make love while still in them They are definitely not for me. My toes want to feel a virgin pair. So they can in time rest in a pair of their own. A pair that has formed onto the shape of my feet. Not in worn out shoes they can't even feel. But I am locked in. The keys do not even exist. I do not know how to pick a lock that isn't there. So I examine the worn out shoes. They are introduced in pairs, yet are undeniably incongruous. But I persist. I put aside my pernicious eyes of judgement and peek into the intricacies of creation I see where the needle cut into the leather. I look at the lines and curves. I search for marks made by time but seldom come across one But I come across in plenty , marks made by man. Marks made in his haste to conquer, but sometimes because he lacked succour. For years I've been dragging my shoeless feet, leading my eyes onto more worn out shoes. My mission is to make my own worn out pair, a pair that Iooks like my feet. I pick up the pieces of leather falling off the shelves, I bring them together with the threads that survived. I sew them over my feet. In doing so, I feel a prick or two but never in the same place. Like the men with the worn out shoes whose toes feel pain again and again.

A post shared by STEFAN | Musician & Writer (@brood__mood) on

Here’s the poem. I don’t have a title yet. So feel free to suggest one. 🙂

I feel burnt out. Utterly inexistent

My legs have grown out of the shoes that i have come to love

 I find myself locked into a room full of old worn out shoes

And I must choose. For the world is not for a man with no shoes.

But I can’t. They stink and they are revolting to the eye.

They are torn, bleeding leather, but  they are warm

They are warm because they are worn.

Everyone wears them. They wear ’em till they die. 

Some never even take ’em off. 

They go to bed in them. They bathe in them, some even make love while still in them

They are definitely not for me. My toes want to feel a virgin pair.

So they can in time rest in a pair of their own.

A pair that has formed into the shape of my feet.

Not in worn out shoes they can’t even feel.

But I am locked in. The keys do not even exist.

I do not know how to pick a lock that isn’t there. 

So I examine the worn out shoes.

They are introduced in pairs, yet were undeniably incongruous.

But I persist. I put aside my pernicious eyes of judgement and peek into the intricacies of creation

I see where the needle cut into the leather. I look at the lines and curves.

I search for marks made by time but seldom come across one

But I come across in plenty , marks made by man. 

Marks made in his haste to conquer, but sometimes because he lacked succour.

For years I’ve been dragging my shoeless feet, leading my eyes onto more worn out footwear.

My mission is to make my own worn out pair, a pair that Iooks like my feet.

I pick up the pieces of leather falling off the shelves, I bring them together with the threads that survived. 

I sew them over my feet. Sometimes, I feel a prick or two but never in the same place.

Like the men with the worn out shoes whose toes feel pain again and again.

I really hope this inspires you and encourages you to go out there and do what you love to do. God has a plan for all of us. So be brave!

And as always, have a blast just existing!

award, challenge

Sunshine Blogger Award!

It’s so awesome to be part of something like this. I’d like to thank my dear friend, Stuart L. Tutt for nominating me. He shares his life, the highs and he lows, at his site over at stubaby777.wordpress.com. He loves God and it’s a great joy to be a part of his life here at WordPress.

So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Here are the rules :

• Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him/her.

• Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.

• Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

• Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.

• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.

Here are Stu’s questions to his nominees along with my answers to them:

1. What brings joy to your life?

First of all, my family brings a great deal of joy into my life. A lot of great friends (including the ones here at WordPress) also are a big part of my life. But when it comes down to it, on a very personal and intimate level, I find great joy in art. Although music is what I enjoy most, I still find a great deal of joy in many other art forms. And I’m thankful to God for that every single day.

2. If money was not an issue, what would be your dream job?

That’s a great question. I really want to be that guy who goes on stage and does ted talks and inspires people. I really have this dream of being able to combine philosophy ,music and art and being able to present that to people. If I could make a living out of that, that would be awesome. I love being on stage and sharing something I care about.

3. What are two gifts the Lord has blessed you with, spiritually or physically?

I would say music and confidence. But that being said, there are a lot of other things that I am very grateful for. But those are the two that popped up in my brain first.

4. What post or posts touched you so deeply that you felt “everyone needs to read this!”?

That is a hard question because I’ve not been on WordPress for a long time. So, I’ll just mention one post I really enjoyed in my meagre exploring on my Reader. Tosin over at Alethea’s Mind wrote this beautiful post called Sitting. Watching. Doing. Nothing. You can read it here: https://aletheasmind.wordpress.com/2019/06/27/sitting-watching-doing-nothing/

5. Which blogger would you do a Blogger Spotlight on and why?

To be honest, Stu, you’d be one for sure. I think you have a lot to say, whether it be about your journey out of pornography or just about life.

6. What does love mean to you?

Now that is one hard question! But nevertheless, I’ll try to make it as short as I can. I believe love holds everything together. The Bible says that ‘God is love’. That’s such an interesting line. It’s the most powerful reason possible for something. And I believe that true love brings truth into perspective.

7. If you could choose one attribute of Jesus to follow closer than any other, which one would it be?

I would love to be as approachable as Jesus is.

8. In your eyes, what is the hardest part of being a Christian?

Learning the true meaning of humility.

9. What do you want to be most remembered for?

I want to be remembered by my face and not by name( I might make that into a log post in a few days). I want to be known as the one who stayed when everyone else left. I want to be someone who believed in people.

10. Which Bible verse holds the most meaning to you and why?

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21. This verse empowers me spiritually because I have been given freely a position that now gives me perspective. And this perspective is what helps me lead the life that God wants for me.

11. Since it’s July, how do you celebrate the 4th?

Since I’m Indian, I don’t necessarily celebrate July the fourth. But I’m really happy for my American friends and share in their joy. But this past July 4th, I woke up in the afternoon, had a great lunch, went out and made some music. 🙂

My Nominees:

Tosin over at Alethea’s Mind: aletheasmind.wordpress.com

Teen, Meet God over at https://teenmeetgod.wordpress.com/

And anyone else who want to do it for fun.

My Questions:

  1. Do you know a really funny joke? If you do, share it!
  2. What in your opinion, is the most underrated song, book, movie, TV series, or anything for that matter?
  3. How do you enjoy nature?
  4. What is your favourite instrument?
  5. Hymns or contemporary music?
  6. If you could tell the whole word one single word, what word would that be?
  7. Do you think we should protect nature? If yes, then why?
  8. The year you enjoyed most in your life.
  9. One thing you’re thankful for as a human being.
  10. What makes you feel loved?
  11. A skill you developed on your own.

I just want to let everyone know that anyone is welcome to attempt any of these questions. Answer them in the comments. It could be a great way to connect.

Once again I thank Stu for this opportunity. Hope you guys have blast just existing on this beautiful planet!

Philosophy Of Life, The christian life

I’m Aching To Be Out There

Metamorphosis Behind A Window. Photo by Suzanne D. Williams. Source: unsplash.com

I’m a butterfly. I used to be a caterpillar. Before that, I was an egg. But you don’t know me. Yet. But I know you. I see you through the transparent chrysalis that envelops me. In time we’ll meet. I’m nearly there. I’m a complete butterfly inside a cocoon. How did I get here? It was inevitable. It had to be done. That’s how God made me. It was important for me to shut myself in a cocoon so that I could develop into a butterfly. But now, it’s nearly done. I don’t understand why I have be here anymore. I’m complete. But all in time. But make no mistake, I’m aching to be out there.

Metamorphosis Behind A Window is one of the tracks I made during this summer holiday. I’ll link it at the end of this post if you guys want to listen to it. I couldn’t upload it.

What inspired me: I had been stuck in my room for the past 1 month. Only going out on Sundays to attend church. After going to college, I had a really vibrant social life and being back home and not even going out, I felt trapped. I was looking out of my window, seeing all the cars honking at each other, a sight quite normal to the average Indian citizen. We spend a lot of time in cars stuck in traffic. I was looking out and seeing all this activity and I was back home, stuck in my room. No one shut me in. I just had nothing to do outside. I didn’t have many friends from school that I could go meet. But i had my passion for music. I spent the last two months in my room, playing my guitar and experimenting with music. It was from this, that the track came.

Now, through this track I wanted to convey a message. Here is a butterfly, fully formed, inside a transparent cage( The chrysalis of a butterfly, is usually transparent). Just before it comes out, it has the same potential as it will have when it has come out. I would imagine a butterfly really struggling to come out, considering how it must feel, knowing that it’s complete and yet not being able to go outside. But if you actually look at a butterfly coming out of it’s transparent chrysalis or cocoon, regardless of the amount of movement you see, it looks graceful. It looks like the cocoon and the butterfly are working together to create a release of potential into nature. That inspires me.

We are all undergoing a metamorphosis of our own and there will be times when we feel like we have reached our ultimate potential but are being caged by systems. It’s hard. Because we know what’s out there and we know we are meant for it, just like the butterfly in the transparent chrysalis. But like the butterfly, we must learn to work together with the chrysalis to release our potential.

God loves us. More than we could ever imagine. And sometimes, he gives us cocoons to develop in. We must learn to use it to vitalise our potential. This has a place in every situation in life, be it work, study, or personal development. I believe it is key to enjoying life and reaching great heights at the same time. And I hope that you never ever forget to enjoy life.

Do check out the other tracks and tell me what you think. I really appreciate it. Thank you once again for taking time out of your life to read the stuff I write. It means more than you know. God bless you!!!!

My Instagram page is over at @stefguitargeek

You can listen to the track mentioned in this post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxxArFJDY70/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Some of the tracks are also there on YouTube at Stef Guitar Geek

Philosophy Of Life

Silence Is A Perfect Sound

Shhh…..

Silence. In some cases, we strive in our efforts to push it out of the picture. But in others, we love it, are amused by it and find solace and comfort in it.

It’s morning. The sun just peek-a-booed into the sky. The tree leaves moved gracefully in the wind. The branch of a crooked coconut tree  was  somehow serving as an  eyebrow to the sun. The face of the earth was dipped in yellow. A yellow that smelled of novelty, hope, victory and simply colour. It was raining too. But the skies were clear. It always confused me when that happened.

There is a silence in my room. I shift inside my blankets to try and sleep some more but end up just lying there, my eyes squinting into the sunrise. The silence is loud. Outside  the window of my room, the signs of life are so evident, it’s loud. It’s waiting to enter the silence in my room and break it. Not that it is evil. The loudness outside is very beautiful, extremely calming too, ironically. But letting it in, would mean giving up the silence. I would be giving  up a  perspective of reality inside the boundaries of my room. One that I was starting to enjoy.

Silence seems to add an iridescent beauty to all movement. It does so by just existing in a world of inactivity. The only thing that let’s us know it’s there, is time. But when it takes over, it lets you know that it is not brining about a cessation to activity, but rather adding meaning to it. In other words, it is a pause. And I find that so beautiful. If you follow this blog, you would know how much I love playing the guitar. A good musician has to know when to let his instrument speak and when to keep it silent. I would spend hours and hours, honing my skill of knowing when to allow silence to take over.  When silence takes over in the middle of a song, it’s definitely not a cessation of activity. On the contrary, it feels incredibly similar to standing still while your heart is beating like it’s on a rollercoaster. It is according to me, the best example of inertia, but one on an abstract level. And that silence, I find to be an ephemeral display of amazing.

Almost everything I have has some kind of cartoon or doodle. If you look at my laptop, among all the crazy things I’ve drawn on it, you’ll see this:   Silence is a Perfect Sound.  And I hope that today, I have given the world, a muddled up, arcane reason why it’s there. And if you didn’t understand this post, don’t worry. I’m still learning how to put silence in the right places.

 

Life in itself, Philosophy Of Life, The christian life

Never Cliché

kate-williams-92906-unsplash

Dear …………………………,

I saw a great movie today. A beautiful one.

The sun’s almost down here. The birds are all returning to their modest abodes. If every day was a movie, then this would be a very clichĂ© ending. But yet this is beautiful. Every day is filled with ephemeral clichĂ©s that we seem to enjoy with a satisfaction that makes no sense at all. Stefan, haven’t you gotten tired of seeing the sunset, the flying birds, and the full moon? You’ve been loitering on this earth for 18 years. But no, you still enjoy them. They still make sense to you.

The movie I saw today ended with a clichĂ©. And yes, I would have liked it to surprise me, but it didn’t. But yet, it was beautiful, full of meaning. Today, films are trying to survive. Everything is becoming clichĂ©. Around a lakh movies are made every year. New clichĂ©s are made every day. Playwrights and directors are rocking their brains left and right to find something new.

Why do I never stop loving a good sunrise? Why do I never get bored with nature?

Is it the acceptance of my unawareness of many of the delicate details I have yet to see? Maybe.

I have a feeling that a cliché becomes annoying only when you are aware of a better possibility. If this is indeed true, then it is the limitations of my imagination that makes me fall in love over and over again with nature, love, beauty and another human being.

And that, I find extremely beautiful. In a world that keeps changing in time, I find it comforting to think that my sheer oblivion to an alternative for many things and my sheer inability to form one, makes what is there everlasting and beautiful.

God, you have indeed painted your glory in the skies and in the most minute vestiges of nature. I can’t find anything to replace it.

Yours,

Stefan