Mumbai Art room, it became an interesting way to find how I was thinking. And to realise that whatever I might be thinking may not be my thinking but something which passes through me. After having coffee inside the National park, borivali i walked towards the dried up river remembering the passage i had read – “Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me,” says D. H. Lawrence, part of the Introduction of the book – The Gift…by Lewis hyde. It goes on saying, sharing how something pops up in the head, how a phrase comes into being, a tune appears from somewhere, how without this, it would be incomplete. It was a monday, when the shuttle buses were not running inside the park, making it a quieter place than other days.
On the night before the morning flight, i lazily tried to figure out how to untangle the fish net wire. I gave up after sometime. Maybe few meters i tied around a discarded case of glasses. I took out all the cutters from my bag as i knew the security at the airport would take it away. I thought to myself, these are my previous ways of thinking and working and this time the engagement should be something else.
My place of stay was CONA, an artist residental space on top of a hill, a large bunglow with tiny toy like figures running through out the home. The journey became significant, from the bus rolling down to the borivali east station, the packed compartment in the first class Fast train to church gate and then a taxi to the coconutwallah outside the temple at Arthur bunder road. After the sweet coconut, a gentle walk to fourth pasta lane.
It took me time to become comfortable with Cookie and paro, the two adorable dogs of the artist couple. Staring outside the window as if…. I didnt do that when i sat in mumbai art room. I also looked out. My nostrils, i’m sure were no different from cookie as anyone passed by.
I was directed towards Crawford market on the first day and so I with a company moved through the lanes reaching the paper market. My mind was shifting between chandni chowk of delhi and the current space. Comparison becomes a natural way of the mind to juggle between what is there and not there. I picked up paper by the weight, 250 grams for a paper pad.
So a natural way, a linear way, when you dont have any other way, you work in the way you previously know how to work. So I drew, sketched, copied sentences from the conversation files. Kiran with himanshu S, hemali with Yamini, Amitesh with… Gagan with… It went on. Some said something, some said something else. “A studio visit, I like your practice, your measurements are wrong, an apple for an apple, you are top dog, i want to see the work in flesh.”
You don’t know where to see from, there is no pipe and a hole to look through, so you create your own holes, vantage points, marking points, your own grids, peaks, you create your own distances, speed of working, reading, points to react to, avoid, ignore, focus and close things.
The chaiwallah brough the chai in these funny steel painted glasses. At first i thought they were steel glasses. I would gentley put pressure on my fingers and the glass would squeeze in telling me I am a fake. It was plastic. I liked these illusionistic glasses. The glass one’s i always doubted of there cleanliness.
You could open up any packed work. But why should i ? I liked the packing. So once in a while i would unpack, sometimes not to see the work but others to come and repack them. Just to have someone do work was fun.
I like to pretend that I am working or doing something.
Ideas move in a row, like rows created in a table in MS Word. You create a table with three columns, and 5 rows. Then when you reach the 5th row, you press enter and magically another row with three column appears. So the idea to create a fake file with a fake conversation popped up. Fake works packed up. “Why create a work with too much effort? It should happen between chai breaks! I must get to Mumbau Art room and something should happen! I must react to something!” Thoughts upon thoughts laying upon each other as i am waiting for my chai.
Vantage points are inside the room and outside also. The view of the sea at Gateway of India was different from being inside the national park. The water sucks you in, you are afraid to fall and drown but in the park I was looking up mostly, at the hills and the electrical towers, giants planted in the ground, similarly if i touch them i would be electrocuted. Both ways I would die. Inside mumbai room there was no fear of death but you could choose to focus on something. The placement of the table, the stories of the files, the outside space, the nature of the works, some packed, unpacked, showing a process or simply an installtion to puncture.
I like making holes. I always carry my drill ( drrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…….)
Inside tanjore resturant it was like sitting inside an interior design store. I was not sure if i could eat here or buy the cushion on the chair or the chair itself. When you looked below you saw the imperfect conditions. I dont know what is an imperfect condition but it is a mismatch of some sort. I knew I will not be making a tanjore painting inside mumbai art room.
If not tanjore, i will not be constructing a cut out, an object. You see…this is where i was, a new vantage point. I was without my tools, a carpenter without his aaree, auzaar, hatiyaar. They had called in a carpenter and told him not to work with wood and his tools. I was this carpenter. I was allowed to have…. chai.
I never complained of the excess sugar in the chai. I was privileged to be getting it while sitting in an AC room looking outside.
An idea struck me, i had reached near to south mumbai, maybe it was charni road, or mumbai central or bandra or marine drive or was i at andheri when i woke up from my sleep? I don’t remember but i know i was in the train when i thought of the drawn line. The line was facing transportation problem! Thats it! i just need to….
For an idea to work, and i only speak for myself, it has to have many other elements, the vantage point i see it from while making it, the ease of making it, the material’s relation to me, and the reason to do it. Does it make me laugh, i thought to myself? I don’t know but its a silly thought! So just do it to see if it works.