Archive for January 25, 2013

While being tortured, he is conscious that he should cry out “bravely”, not like a coward. “When I heard my first cry, I was not disappointed. It was like a bull’s angry bellow. Anyone would have recognised it as the cry of a warrior.”

The poems are sparse and it is possible that some of the raw cadences of the original Punjabi have been lost in English translation, but even so one feels the pain when reading, for instance, a piece that begins on a sweet, idyllic note, with young girls picking berries, and eventually transforms into a cry of horror for what their lives will become — a cry of indignation directed at humanity itself.

More than the story of a man immersed in a specific movement or creed, Poet of the Revolution is the story of a man in constant search for himself.

One sees a trace of this in Dil’s intriguing decision to convert to Islam, a religion in which he finds greater tolerance of “low-caste” people (but also greater sense of purpose — “the Muslims considered it a virtue to teach their religion, unlike the Hindus who did not do so”) and which he somewhat bizarrely likens to communism.

It is Dutt who really puts Dil’s life and times in context, especially for the reader who does not know much about him beforehand. She supplies a few incidental details, comments on the frequently contradictory aspects of his personality and describes his unfailing gallantry towards her. In a reminder of how ephemeral even the most intense revolutions can be, she presents a poignant view of a man who had once been in the heart of a maelstrom, but who went on to lead an unassuming life as the world around him moved on: “The comrades of his revolutionary days were now editors, executives, professors, businessmen or expatriates. The sprint thunder was over and everyone had returned to the comfort zone of their class structures.”

In his poem ‘Face’ (translated from Korean by Brother Anthony of Taize), Kim Ki-Taek describes a brief moment in the life of a tired office worker who is sitting at his desk with his face buried in his hands. In a surreal transcendence of an otherwise ordinary moment, the speaker becomes aware of his face, “stuck to the skull’s shell”, forming expressions. The skull is watching the face, “the face that blooms briefly then fades”. When the face finally comes to, the speaker, recovering his eyes, begins to “focus on the figures in the document”. ‘Face’ makes one think about the brief, un-policed spaces that spring up from within a tired, dead bureaucratic environment. A poet of daily life, Kim Ki-Taek functions as a quiet fly on the wall observer, a recorder of the moment. In an e-mail interview, he says: “I became a poet after winning the New Year literary contest of Hankook Daily Newspaper in 1989. I was 32 years old then. In Korea, the literary contest is a crucial route to becoming a professional poet. I had been writing poetry since the age of 20. The reason I turned to poetry is that all I needed was paper and pencil. That was easier than anything else for me. I was a poor man. When I graduated from high school, I had to work in a factory. After three years of factory work, I made enough money to go to college. I was very shy and had difficulty communicating with others. Poetry was attractive to me because, in my imagination, I could meet many people without my shyness getting in the way. Poetry also opened out a better second life that I could enter through my imagination.”

That Fay speaks in a voice that is direct and immediate is largely a function of the audience she is reaching out to: “immigrant, working class and not highly educated, but who were open to learning and new experiences”. In fact, it is this embedded sense of a very different audience that is perhaps the key to understanding her work. Equally important is Fay’s understanding of art as deeply transformative, an art that is for everybody.

Nothing much is happening in their wretched lives. “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful.” All they can do is to wait with anxiety and trepidation the arrival of Godot.

As Vladimir states: “But that is not the question. Why are we here; that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come.”

So the two men, doomed to one another’s company in desolate surroundings, pass time bantering and bickering, singing and reminiscing, laughing and crying to relieve the monotony of their endless ‘wait’. They voice profound metaphysical questions interspersed with small talk. Their emotions change in quick succession, as if to reveal the contradictions that the human self is steeped in. Vladimir and Estragon desperately need one another in order to avoid living a life of loneliness and alienation. “Didi” and “Gogo” — their nicknames — demonstrate the intimacy of their relationship. Yet, every now and then they feel compelled to leave one another.

Estragon: Wait! (He moves away from Vladimir.) I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t have been better off alone, each one for himself. (He crosses the stage and sits down on the mound.) We weren’t made for the same road.

Vladimir: (without anger) It’s not certain.

Estragon: No, nothing

The pathos in Didi and Gogo’s need for each other and the anguish in their desire to escape their plight are palpable just as the absurdity in the situation of pointless waiting is evident. They do not know who Godot is. They are neither sure about the time nor the place of their appointment. They do not even know what will happen if they stopped waiting. Lack of this basic knowledge makes them powerless and insignificant. The tramps cannot but wait for Godot.

Ironically, the much-awaited Godot is never ever going to arrive.

Each day is a return to the beginning and each day passes in circuitous conversation.

Will they forever keep circling? Will they ever find closure? Perhaps not, because the universe that Beckett presents before us is devoid of design, purpose or care.

The intermingling of absurdist comedy with black humour redeems and lightens the inherently tragic theme. The spectators break out of their self-imposed inertia, rock with the rhythm of the play, pity and fear, laugh and cry. Waiting for Godot encapsulates the human condition brilliantly. It connects with our life and our situation. It seems to echo our deepest fears, confronts us with our naked self and our predicament, our stark loneliness — conditions not imposed by any outsider but by our own selves.

The play ends on that very note of bleak desperation. The unhappy vagrants, their questions unanswered, their hopes dashed, speak the final lines “Well? Shall we go?” Estragon answers, “Yes, let’s go,” but neither moves. The curtain falls over their immobility, over their inner paralysis.

I have spent two and a half hours balanced on a gossamer thread stretched between tension and excitement, astonishment and pure wonder. I have just witnessed a dramatic masterpiece, a timeless tale — a philosophical quest that is universal and eternal. I am out of the play but still in the play, haunted by the hopelessness of the human predicament.

As I walk by the meandering Liffey and the quays in downtown Dublin in the cool December breeze, I feel humbled by my own insignificance and an overwhelming sense of waiting for something undefinable in ‘the cosmic waiting room’.

16th Jan , 2013 – – GZ – impressionism vs expressionism……….dark-stark-diagonal lines-post world war1 -low self esteem- easy target of criminals – first speaker -impressive- 2nd one -on dance more expressive , which brings me to the topic of bausch- here expressionism is at once raw and moving – all that dance shud stand for ….but as i saw more of her slides – ballet totally disappears – is that the reason they call it “Tanz  theatre ? ” , i wud prefer her innovativeness but the structure of ballet-   i think  ‘structured rebellion ‘or disciplined rebellion – as paradoxical as it sounds  – is always better than rebel without a form – ‘coz  u atleast give an idea of what form u r revolutionizing – ballet or not – her dance is true dance – free expression of raw emotion – ballet i feel is more emotionally guarded.

Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost!” -Pina Bausch

 8th jan 2013- Learnt  flamenco dance @work shop with  Sheila Schroeder –  Flamenco- SevillaPaseo – grace+passion .