Frothing

Original Artwork

Frothing

At the mouth

At the eyes

Will it mingle with the sweat?

Or will they flow as two?

Meet at the legs and wrinkle my toes?


I’m sure most people like to read poetry and derive their own meaning from it. However, since this blog is a way for me to record my journey, I will add the inspiration behind these lines.

Today was extremely hard. I felt such hate for myself that I hit myself pretty hard quite a few times. Somewhere in the middle of it all, there was a pause when my eyes and mouth were open in a similar fashion. I was crying and tears were welling up and making their way down. My mouth was also filled with saliva because when you’re crying with your mouth as well, you don’t really get time to swallow. The sudden realization that my eyes and mouth were associated in the way they were open and filled with bodily fluid amused me. I paused and for a moment it felt like my entire body and the world itself was open and filled with bodily fluid. In feeling this overwhelming sense of oneness, the pause became a photograph of sorts. Anyway, in that pause, I felt a beautiful calm. For a moment, I was not myself but some other person who was able to see all 21 years of my life on this planet. It was okay. Everything was going to be alright. I went back to beating myself up after the pause but it was powerful enough for me to sit down and draw what I felt out on paper between sobs.

I’ve noticed that for a few months now, the future doesn’t exist and the past keeps blurring into the background. They are unable to provide me with a reason to hope or to try. The present is all there is and it is filled with self-hate and gloom. These moments where the artist in me breaks out and draws over my body and soul are the only moments where this anomaly in the perception of the temporal isn’t pronounced.

In the poem, I’m asking myself if my work as an artist and a student of life (sweat) will ever flow along with the pain I’m going through. I’m asking this because I’m afraid that if I don’t learn to do that well enough, it will destroy me (wrinkles) physically and mentally.

On White Walls

The walls of my room are white; not the kind that blinds your eyes but the kind that escapes notice, fading into a very light beige over the years. That tends to happen when the air where you live isn’t great.

I love my walls. I love how they reflect the diffused yellow glow of the sun that leaks through the curtains in the morning and how they don’t dissolve into the darkness when I turn off my light at night. I like how they flaunt their bruises, parts of my life that are etched into them, reminding me of a time when I was shorter and obsessed with leaving a trail of glue or paint on the wall as I ran tracing the walls with my finger. Doodles in fading pencil remind me there was a time when I wasn’t living from the table to the bed and back, of an awareness of space that belongs to the least of these, to the ones that are small enough to live in corners and edges. The white walls in my room reflect people. They reflect me. In this, they have much in common with the canvas and the paper.

Tabula Rasa. ‘Form out of me what you will’

VIBGYOR spins endlessly and dissolves into white. It’s not a lack but the fullness of personality that defines it. Infinity is a mirror. So are my walls.

A white box is the perfect cage for me. I like preserving myself way too much. In the past year, I have gone outside only twice. I spent almost all my time inside this room and I never feel like leaving it. A bit odd for an extrovert. For some reason, the white walls don’t make me feel like I’m caged in. I’m starting to believe it has something to do with how reflective they are. Of me

“There’s no skin”, I tell myself whenever I’m lying in my bed staring at the walls.

Colours are like skin; like faces. There’s so much underneath that isn’t part of the obvious; things that make us human, things that make us love, laugh, and cry. Behind colour is the universal, unifying truths of life. When I see colour, I know there’s something behind it. Experiencing it feels like reaching beyond and entering a world that is so much more than what I can see and touch. It can be an incredibly intense experience; like a passionate kiss or making love. The inadequacy of the physical body to facilitate the expression of passion makes you exert yourself in a way that ends in something that feels supernatural and sublime because you just can’t believe your body alone could provide you with something so gratifying.

The yellows of Hemingway, the red of Raskolnikov, Faulkner’s bluish grey, they’re all I can see and feel of the universal truths that lay underneath. They’re like faces of women I’ve loved, the beauty of simplicity that veils the limitless.

But let’s not speak of love today. This is about one man and one man only. White does not remind me of my ability to love another but my acceptance and regard for myself. The white walls in my room don’t tell me there’s something beyond. It tells me there is something within. It reminds me that I have things to write and say. It does not remind me of purity or flawlessness but the possibility to preserve myself because it reminds me of a blank page

I look behind dark yellows and I see sadness, I look behind reds and I know what Raskolnikov felt. But when I look behind white, all I see is me. And oh, how I love to see myself. I have things to say, things to write about. The world should know that I felt something in this life.

That’s why I never want to leave my room. That’s why a white box is the perfect cage for the artist.

P.S. I hope you understand now why the illustration/painting has the colour of skin in it.

The white wall in my hostel room

Why I Even Try

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house

Matthew 5:15

The void is comforting; it takes away all points of reference. Imperfections are powerless in the edgeless, cornerless space that I call loneliness. Here, in the darkest period of my life, I remain a candle that rejects the gravitas of the candlestick for the blissful ignorance in the dusty nothingness under the bed where monsters sleep.

I burn here

I burn in red and yellow, like a fire.

Yellow is the tears; yellow is the sunrise; yellow is the reach and the contrast; yellow is the depression.

Red, my love, is Raskolnikov; Red is blood rushing into the brain with a vengeance; Red is the confidence that shrouds confusion; Red is the panic and the pain, the push that never pulls back.

I…I burn in these.

I try because I know this. I try because I seek the corners; reproach without the embrace. I have crushed the mustard seed and I have seen the faith. I try because in the void nothing can protect me from myself. By skinning myself and showing you that I bleed, I find a branch to hold on to as the storm tries to suck me back into that narrow middle of the hourglass where everything stops but hate prevails. I know I can stop them, I can stop the sand. But I don’t want to.

Your art makes the clock run faster and longer. Time goes faster in the museum; time goes faster on Instagram. It goes too fast for me. Yes, your art makes me feel happy, excited even. But it never grounds me. Your art has never worn my colours and I doubt it ever will. I am alone in this.

The only way to ground myself is to dig in, into myself.

This is why I try. This is why I make art.

Because I am alone in the genius.

Trees Posed for a Photo

Some of God’s beautiful sky blue beard is escaping the frame. Next time, I’ll be careful

A loooong time ago, God created trees. Then he asked all of them to pose for a photo. In heaven, God has a family photo album of everything from the beginning of time. The trees were extremely happy to be part of God’s photo album and so they posed. Then God took out his nifty little camera and clicked.

The trees were still getting used to the Sun and the flash was so powerful that they put their hands up to shield themselves from the light. And so, they were forever frozen in time with their hands held high.

And that, kids, is why tree branches grow up and not down.

Then, after so many years, when humans were made, they saw the trees and imitated their posture. Trees gave them fruits and shade and they were full of life. Thus, the pose came to be synonymous with life, abundance, and joy.

So, next time you see a tree, raise your hands up, look up to the sky, and smile for the camera.

From A Postbox Near You

Rays of darkness enter a postbox three blocks from your two-storey house. The quiet frustration of cars screeching to a stop at a red light that I can’t even see wakes me up and I blink. It’s another evening in the postbox. Here, I live among the many letters you send to your friends, exes and colleagues. I toss and turn, making space among your formal faithfullys and sincerelys, words penned with no regard to the meaningless flattery all regards have carried for the past hundred or so years.

This mundane evening, I proceed as I do every day, to reseal the letters that I fell asleep reading, making sure I leave no traces of spilt secrets. Once I’m done, I feast. I put my nose inches away from the efficient and neglected opening of the postbox and breathe in the crushed aroma of tea and coffee mixed with the mischief of leaves and seeds from the Asias. I smell yesterday’s rain on the coats of young ambitious souls on their way back from work and the leather of shoes not yet broken into. It reeks of monotony; all of it.

As the evening breaks into the pitch black of the night, I am confronted with what I must do to pass time. There’s not much to do at night. I certainly can’t read any letters. In fact, I can do nothing but listen to the stillness, an activity that’s such a bore I pity anyone who finds it beautiful. I like to process. I need smells and sounds to acknowledge the existence of my senses. I really don’t know why I spend so much time awake in the night. I could just sleep and be at my best during the day. I feel like an old fool. But that is just how it is. I like to tell myself my obsession with the laziness of the night lies in how the expectation of something new is glorified by nocturnal silence, a heightened experience of anticipation from a pause that lasts but around ten hours.

After this stretch of failed expectations and excusable disappointments, I finally find joy in the ever certain glorious break of dawn. The rays of darkness change colour like milk poured into a cup of hot tea. I hear the sound of birds echo inside my small cylindrical chamber of existence and condition my eyes to the yellow of the sun reflecting off the glass of an old pawn shop and falling on the red of the inlet of the post box. I hear the sniffs of dogs accompanied by the accomodating length of a whistle or a hum. I do not always smell flowers but I smell love and the expectation of love that flourishes in the sincerity of yet another day.

What I like to do in the wee hours of the morning on such a routine day, is scratch ever so patiently at the red of the inlet. Giving my living space a touch of individuality is cause for a lasting sense of warmth and security. After going about this for five seconds or so, I proceed to rummage through the letters in search of chocolate or liquorice that some kind old woman sent to her grandchild along with a note the child can’t read. Once I’ve helped myself to the spoil, I go on to read.

To know what day it is is not too much trouble for me. I just check the date on the first letter that comes in. As I read, I share in the frustration of my neighbours. I listen patiently to them rant about how their cooking appliances keep breaking down and how the country’s foreign policy is evil. I try to imagine their faces as they wrote the words down. It helps if I remember the edges of your fingers when you dropped the letter in or the sound of your coat brushing past the metal of my postbox. The sound of your shoes, the ruckus your loose change makes in your purse, all helps me to put a face to the words you write. That’s how I know about you.

Yes, you.

You live a few blocks from me. You write quite frequently. In fact, you no longer slow down when you reach the postbox. You, like a few others who frequently visit me, have mastered the art of skilfully targeting the rectangular inlet with one hand, very much like you would throw a frisbee. I don’t even hear the spring in your step after you’ve successfully posted a mail in this fashion. I find this to be a quality among many who post as often as you with similar ease in technique. You send a letter to your grandma every week and I find you to be a very sincere and likeable person. I’m sure your grandma loves reading what you write. I wish I could know what she writes back to you. I do know she does not correct your spelling mistakes because you continue to post your mail without proofreading it. It made my day when you wrote ‘Police Chef’ instead of ‘Police Chief’ in your last letter. I enjoy your letters for this very reason. It seems like you write to your grandmother just like you must have talked to her when you were a child.

Today, I hear you in the distance, your feet steady, the letter in your hand. I shield my face to brace the impact of your letter but nothing happens. I’m sure you passed by me because I can smell the undertones of lemon in the perfume you use. Did you forget to post your letter? I can still faintly hear your firm steps fading away. I almost panic. Is your grandmother all right? If something’s not right, do you need someone to talk to?

I sit back against the rusty metal and run my fingers through my hair. You’re a loner. I hope everything’s fine. Another letter comes in. Amateur. I could hear him slow down, stop and I could even hear his shirt strain against his belt as he bent down ever so slightly to put the letter in.

Uninteresting.

Author’s note:

This is the third post of the series ‘Mumbo is Jumbo’ where I talk about weird ideas and seemingly irrelevant stuff that I believe have aesthetic value.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post. The 4D family is growing. If you like reading about weird stuff that has a touch of poetry and aesthetic perspectives, consider becoming a part of this family. We’re all good friends here.

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 do it. And because of this habit I had trouble walking with my head held up high when I was in school. 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 to let them be 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!

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.

 

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 cliché ending. But yet this is beautiful. Every day is filled with ephemeral clichés 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 cliché. 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 cliché. Around a lakh movies are made every year. New clichés 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

 

 

 

Baby Embrace

cropped-baby-black-and-white-boy-40975.jpg

It’s amazing what you can learn from a great relationship. The raw, sincere love that you come across in a relationship somehow jolts and shakes you violently, waking you from your dormant stage of inaction and makes you do something for other people. You learn to value life a smidge more.

Yesterday, I was sitting in the last row at church, attending a music event. As I sat there, I was looking on amused by the actions of a baby boy on his father’s shoulders.

He was just sitting there, his face like the face of any other baby, a face that is trying to make sense of everything around him. Things did change for him after he came out into this really bright place. No wonder babies have got a look confused at times, when they see us. They have a way of seeing through the words, mostly because they don’t understand them.

They make conclusions completely based on what they see and what they feel and sometimes by what they hear, especially when it’s too loud.😊

You know how when you ‘meow’ at a cat, it suddenly cocks up its head and looks at you like, ‘What in the world……’ and then looks around as if to ask the world ‘Has he lost his mind?’ Yeah, I love that look, which is why you’ll always see me ‘meowing’ at cats. Lol

You’ll understand why I said that in a few seconds.

Anyway, I was sitting there, persistent, determined to make him smile, but he just sat there, the little ‘daddy climber’ giving me the ‘cat- look’ ( described above ).

He seemed very amused by my special techniques to make him smile. So did many others in my row. So I put on my serious face and looked on.

He looked at me one last time, I could see a faint smile there, but then, he is one of the living alternatives to the ever smiling Barbie dolls. 😊 I just sat there admiring him.

He was tired, evidently ( as all my master techniques to make him smile had went down like a lead balloon (with smoke 😊)) But I still could see a lot in this baby on his father’s shoulders.

It was absolutely amazing. Every time he looked up to criticize my professional attempts, he would, after giving me the ‘cat-look’ lay his head down, in extra slow motion on his father’s shoulder. And every time he did that, I mean literally every time he did that, his father would react.

It was as if some shock had gone through the father’s body. I would see his hand hug the baby closer and his head would slightly tilt to meet the baby’s head. Every. Single. Time.

It was a gentle embrace. An extremely beautiful one. One that showed the small effort of a baby to show love and the greater effort of the father to give every inch of it back.

It’s the ‘baby embrace’. That’s how you hug a baby. You can’t hug him like you hug a grown up person, you have to go that extra mile and let him rest completely on you. And if you don’t, according to protocol…… He. Will. Cry.

I sat there trying to imagine that baby growing up, sitting on his fathers shoulder. I tried to imagine him on his father’s shoulders, thirty years old. Though odd, it seemed to make sense to me.

I’m not a father, but I believe, every time that father hugs him, be it twenty or thirty years from now, he is going to hug him in a way that his baby boy can completely rest on him. Every time he hugs him, he’ll be trying to put every drop of his love out there. Every time he’ll be doing a different version of the baby embrace.

And I doubt we as kids ever understand the depth of that embrace or the meaning of that embrace, a meaning that has its roots in a time that we will never remember. But then, maybe that’s what makes it so special.

I am already choking up writing this. And maybe you are too.

We are lucky to have parents. They are not perfect, they are human just like us, though we expect them to be so much more. For some of us, they might not be here today, for some of us, we might just have had an argument with them. But for all of us, they’ve left an inheritance of amazing hugs.

Next time you hug somebody in need, hug them the way your parents did.

Hugs and love……
Stefan

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God bless you guys!!!