Thursday, June 21, 2007

To Treat or Not To Treat

"The treating game is always complicated", I once told a friend who had just made that mighty shift from a student to a working professional. She complained (maybe secretly bragged) about how she felt a bit guilty and how it hurt her big ego, when her working friends were always openly willing to treat her. And now that she had started earning she was ever ready to treat friends. I added, "About treats, I have this thing with some friends wherein if I visit their city then its their treat and vice versa. With others its a whole new set of unstated stuff. But the basic rule to follow is, to 'treat' ppl well. And you can 'treat' ppl well irrespective of whether you are working or not. And maybe in a way ppl were 'treating' you back too."

But then again the treating game is always complicated when it comes to 'treating' people well. Some do it cause they are happy and just want to share the joy. But then there are those who do it to be a part of society, some who do it as an obligation just because it is 'their turn', still others who do it cause they want something in return, some who do it cause they are trying to 'woo' you, others who are forced to do it cause they are related to you, and some who do it cause they have to live their lives with you.

The treating game is indeed always complicated when there are those who decide to treat others based on how that person would treat some unknown person; irrespective of who that unknown person may seem to be. Would I treat you based on such observations ? Would I ? Would you ?

To keep things simple, the basic rule to follow is to 'treat' people well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Price of Art

"Do you have any music I can buy ?", I asked. "Ah. Yes. I have some. Come.", he gestured, trying to communicate in the language I chose as a medium, and I followed. "How much is it", I queried. "Err... I don't know. Err... the price is... well the CD costs about 10-15 pounds... so its about 1000 Rs... err or 800 Rs is ok..". I have never bought music for that much but I looked at how much I had and decided to pick up the CD.

I had gone for this free concert of Regis Gizavo. He is a musician from Madagascar who plays the accordion and sings some amazingly soulful music. He couldn't talk in English too well so he spoke in French about each song before he began and someone translated what he wanted to convey. The concert turned out to be pretty amazing and so I decided to buy his CD.

My friend heard the music at home and loved what he heard. So when I told this friend that I had paid 800 bucks for 11 songs he looked at me and said, "I never pay for songs. I get all my music from the net. I like listening to music but I have never paid for music in my life". I looked at him as he continued," You know I can get his songs from the net for free. There are so many places I can download it". And he smiled, feeling proud of the fact that he doesn't pay anything for music. Music that he agreed, calms his nerves and clears his mind when he has the need for it. So I reminded him that this was their only source of livelihood. And to choose music as a profession takes a lots of guts, where you are not sure if you will be able to sustain yourself with the amount that you make. A cousin, Adrian D'souza, decided music was his profession at a very young age. He is doing pretty well but I have always wondered about the thoughts that went through his head before he decided that music was it. You can hear some of his music out here. He used to be compared with Sivamani before he decided that he wanted to explore Jazz and went in that direction.

Well I have downloaded, shared mp3 with friends but when I hear musicians playing live and I enjoy their music, I usually end up buying their CDs. Maybe its just a way of making sure that I hear them again cause they too need to survive. Art needs to be given support from society otherwise young people will not even think of exploring those avenues, even if they have the talent.

Regis Gizavo's albums.
Listen To Samy Olombelo
Listen To Stories
Listen To Mikea

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bottled Water

The ambience was splintered with withering cigratte butts, cajoling menus, and warm sunshine; as dusk lingered in our subconscious. And to touch the glimpse of that new dawn all we had to do was pass through the night and dream a little, maybe also just live and let live a little.

"Dream a little dream with me", said one, as another took out a pen and connected with the scrap of paper as she added form and color and diction to an abstraction; a story that wanted to be told in 35mm. He had been learning the tricks of the trade; the flow, the angles, the lighting, the graphics that speak a thousand words and the words that speak a thousand pictures. He apprised us with the thoughts that had emanated from his mind and how he was trying to figure out about adding structure to it. 'Thoughts', an intermingled quagmire that had a silver lining and all we had to do was place our finger on it.

But instead of placing my finger on it, I was playing the silent listener that I am so adept at. And in the moment I decided to create a common portfolio for each one of us sitting at that round table. And as an after-thought I captured a picture of 'Bottled Water'. The water level was not high; infact it was almost empty, filled to the brink with air. But there was some water, as little as it was. We had to uncap the bottle and if we used it properly maybe one day we could spring up new life with it.

As Natalie Goldberg says, "Form alone will not create art. Form is important, we should learn form, but we should also remember to fill form with life. This takes practice."