My wife knew that I will say no, if she says, “Why don’t you join us for this dance program?” So she knew what to say this time. “Just come over, you might get some ideas for your new blog”. At 5.30PM on a Friday evening, I had other plans. That punchline that I will be able to experience something different gave me the kick. I applied mindfully the concept of AIM in a way. I committed and we were in the car in the next 30 mins. So the whole family was in the taxi and we were discussing how we will be able to get there on time. It started raining heavily and it was sure that we will miss the start of the program. The program was organized to honor a celebrity and it was all in the form of Bharatanatyam dance.
In the next 45 mins, I was captivated by that dance form. The dance performance was the best solo performance that I had ever seen and I was completely immersed. The dancer was enacting a story about a poor family and the sacrifices the parents were making for their daughter. Incidentally that morning I had seen a video which showed the 9 different forms of emotions (Navras) and I was seeing it live that evening. My elder daughter and her friend were glued to the performance. My younger one was a little cranky and so we had to explain the story being performed by the artist. My wife would share bit by bit the story and she would ask questions. Sometimes It was annoying but I decided to go with the flow. The flow came when I realized that deep down inside I was appreciating this art and it was heart-rending. I started liking the dance and was appreciating the caliber of the dancer.
There was a time in my life when the last thing I cared about was art. I guess it was during our last year of engineering (1994) when my friend and I sneaked into to the Jehangir Art gallery in Mumbai just to enjoy a glass of spirit which they give to guests. We enjoyed the spirit we received and also appreciated the soul who created the painting! I don’t remember even looking at the art.
In Europe, I had an opportunity to visit many art galleries and museums and my perspective changed to the extent that I bought two books- ” Little big art book” and a book on Renaissance paintings containing the works of Bernini, Borromini, Caravaggio, Raphael, and Michaelangelo. I started taking a lot of pictures of paintings in the churches I visited every week. In each painting, I started appreciating the finer elements of these paintings.
Several years ago, I never liked architecture. Then I had the opportunity to visit Rome. Once I started understanding the story behind the architecture, why the creator did what he did, I started getting interested. There were two sculptures that stood out in my memory from Italy.
One was the statue David which I saw in Florence in 2009, David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created in marble between 1501 and 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo. David has become one of the most recognized works of Renaissance sculpture, a symbol of strength and youthful beauty. I had the opportunity to see David Statue twice and each time I recollect how much I felt in awe of seeing the statue. The aura which the statue creates needs to be experienced. The next captivating moment was inside the Vatican church when I saw The Pietà “The Pity”. The statue depicts Mother Mary holding a dying Jesus Christ. When I was trying to understand this masterpiece, I heard somebody near telling the person to notice how the emotions of Mary are captured by Michelangelo on her face. Also, her dress is carved so beautifully on marble.
Reflecting from the past I had seen a Puppet Opera in Munich, Musical string quartet performance in Vienna, a memorable performance of “Randamoozham” in Delhi and many dance performances (Odissi, Kathakali to Bharatnatyam) thanks to my family.
So how did I change from an art hater to an art chaser?
I believe it was my decision to explore and go with the flow that had led me to appreciate art in so many different forms. Art taught me to connect with my deepest emotions and now it has become a part of who I am. There is no heart without art. So tomorrow If I get a ticket to see an opera I will go for it. Now art has become a part of my heart.