Thursday, 1 October 2015

Shifter I Dictionary of the Possible I Issue 22 I pub. New York I 2015


When I was young, I wanted to get into the skin of another person
Into the mind of another person, so that I could experience the world differently
We imitate to understand how something works
We imitate to become something else
Hrithik Roshan once said that if he gets the hairstyle right, he could get into the character of any role
Is mimesis maya or illusion?
The Renaissance painters wanted to create the illusion of reality with that most abstract of arts, geometry
Art students traditionally copied old masters
You need to construct something to deconstruct it
Walter Benjamin said that the best way to read, is to copy the whole book by hand
And for learning by rote, we aesthetized knowledge with rhythm and rhyme and alliteration
Our ancient mathematics was written in verse
When I went to Santiniketan once, I saw many K. G. Subramanyans
The same kurta pajama with jhola and the same walk
They all wanted to become him
(Without the hard work)
Sometimes mimicking is a sympathetic act
When the listener is mimicking every gesture of the speaker she is sympathetic to the speaker
The Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj routinely leads protests in the same dress as the protestors
In police uniform for a police protest, as a farmer for a farmers’ protest
Once he was wrapped up completely in a thick blanket, the newspapers reported a mysterious bundle 
And people could neither identify him nor the protest
Our politicians like to go to far-flung disturbed areas
And dance with the tribals
They want to say that they are with the people 
But it’s a trick, and they look stupid
Or wear the headgear of some ethnic groups
Because they are sympathetic to them
Or not, because they are not sympathetic
But the funniest joke 
Is the Independence Day parade when tribal groups are dressed up 
In standard “tribal” costumes designed by the Culture Department
And when they go back to their areas after dancing much on floats
This becomes their traditional tribal dress

Pushpamala N, October 2015
For Dictionary of the Possible