Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An Artist’s Memoir

Writing memoir is like talking to oneself with frequency that is impossible for anyone else to decode. People might read but will see only words and stories, their meanings hidden deep behind somewhere in the chasm of the writer’s soul. A memoir is like a painting. Behind the bright and dull, there exists a world which only the blessed ones can occupy. Below is the memoir by my artist friend Prakash Pacha. He shared it with me after my incessant requests ever since I came to know he had dared to write, partly to satisfy my sense of superiority through judging the work, and partly due to my curiosity. It’s a long one for my blog, to be included in a single post. So I am dividing it into parts, hoping my friend Pacha would not mind. 
 Aiming the Impossible
I
I never tried this; writing. I feel insecure. This is not my thing. It is after the advice of my writer friend, that I am trying this. I had been teaching at a private art institute in Kannur, after my post graduation in Fine Arts.

Then came a moment when the so-called National Eligibility Test conducted by the University Grants Commission became the only criteria for teaching jobs in colleges. At this point in my life when I must find a job of my own and be independent from my family that still provides me, the Eligibility Test showed itself as a monster with chuffed perfection. In front of it I found my self inferior and helpless. To qualify the Test meant to do things the best way as they say. But I believe in doing things the best way I want. I am an artist for whom art is religion, and creativity God. Each moment spent at work is worship.

The test is special. Once you qualify, you are a part of the NET qualified teachers’ community. There will be questions in the exam that have nothing to do with art or creativity. The Answering in the test involves processes such as darkening the bubbles—the objective test—and a written test, where you are asked to write essays on what a specific art movement’s name means. I am artist, not an art historian. It thus eventually sucks all the creativity from your soul and leaves you dead.

The application was sent, the fee was paid and all the travel expenses were taken care of, by my family. The day of the exams came.

I had to go

It was in the examination hall I thought; if I wanted to sit for the whole day or not. The choice was mine. Sitting there for the whole day meant spending a day in front of a set of meaningless question papers prepared by university blockheads who have no idea what the word ‘art’ means, other than what their dusty old tomes told them.

So I rose and went out. 

{Will be continued in the next post}
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