While I am waiting for the Butter (Hotter) remix to release, I just thought I’d put this out before I spend my time streaming and screaming the song.
I have spoken about slumps before. Art slump, creative slump, watch slump, life slump. All of these and more are valid and living through pandemonium is only proof that slumps are just part of what makes us humans. I think I’ve grown to see slumps as forced resting. When you can’t put your pencil on a piece of paper without coming up blank, you give up.
But that’s not all you do. You don’t just give up, you think you’ll try again later. And maybe later is in a few hours or days or weeks or even months. But you wait it out and decide you’ll try again. That’s what I think we do as humans.
I came about writing this post because for the past couple of days, I have been sensing something coming. It could be impending doom or it could be a slump. (I’m deciding on the slump, for now.)
I have a lot of writing and art projects lined up. Each very fun and different and gives me a push towards stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something that I’ve never done before. It’s something that I look forward to as I wake up (freshly unemployed now) and get started on my projects.
But sometimes, it doesn’t always work that way. I was halfway through one of my shorter writing projects and it just seems so…bland? It felt like I’ve been writing the same things over and over without any change or variation. At first I thought maybe I’m thinking too much. So I accelerated, as you do, when you feel like you’re about to crash.
Then I realized that I wasn’t feeling anything when I was writing it. I put word after word and while the story progressed in the general direction that I had in my head, I was not enjoying the process one bit. Suddenly, I was writing for the sake of writing, because I had to, because nobody else would write this story for me. And that’s actually not bad for a writer but for me, it becomes easy to hate my own creation. So I decided to pause.
I had already taken a break from painting. A few weeks ago, I had been trying to draw something but the more I tried, the more wrong it looked. It made me frustrated and annoyed and I hated to pick up my pencil to try something. I haven’t made anything new or fresh in some time but I painted some skies and sea and swatched a new set of gouache paints and I know my watercolours will wait for me, until I return. It’s just a matter of time.
It’s me second of taking a break from writing and I have had so many plans and ideas since. Some are fresh, some ideas are to take older ideas forward and more. But apart from this blog post, I haven’t written much. And I’ve convinced myself that it’s okay. It’s okay to rest and take a break and not expect perfection every single time I write something because that’s practically impossible. That’s why revisions and editing and rewriting exists.
It’s been pretty peaceful.
Maybe in the next few days I might open up some of my incomplete, ongoing documents and finish them faster than ever. Maybe I’ll take some more time to think and breathe and rest. Who knows? It’ll go when it goes. I’ll be here, till then, reading and consuming art and stuffing myself with so much inspiration that when the slump finally leaves me, I feel happier than ever.
It’s okay for me to say this, that it’s better to wait it out the slump than forcing yourself to do things because I’m primarily a hobbyist. I write and make art as a hobby. But for professionals out there, going through a slump or a rough patch or feeling generally low, I am sending strength to you guys. It’s a brutal world out there and your creation is keeping us mundane people alive during some of the worst times we have gone through. I hope you take care of yourselves and have someone to lean on when things are tough.
That is how Naveen, a final year CBZ student lives his life. I spoke with him for nearly twenty minutes, and it has taken me a little more than a week to put our conversation into words, and in English, no less. I have tried and maintained the feel of it, I hope, but sadly, some of it is lost in the translation. I hope that one of these days in the future, this boy becomes famous and all those of you reading this today will look for him and speak to him for hours and absorb all his life and energy so that you can lead a much happier, much radiant life with a positive outlook on the world.
Because that’s exactly how I felt after I spoke to him.
Naveen is multi-talented, not limiting himself to just one form of art but exploring all that can be explored. His favourite is cinema; he says it’s because he can combine writing, visual arts, music, dance and photography together and create something that is worth watching. He is not just a very talented photographer, who knows how and when to capture life, he is also a brilliant writer and a theatre artist. He is very keen on learning music as well. He writes in Kannada, and he inspires me to write in Kannada.
For today, I will be focusing on his photography skills, and you will know why.
He loves stories. He believes that everybody has a story and there are no new stories; just untold stories.
Naveen is from a small town named Hosabale in Shimoga, right in the middle of the state. He grew up in a house where education was stressed upon, and other forms of art were not encouraged. His interest in photography began way back, even before he went to school.
During weddings, when everyone went up to the stage for pictures to be taken, I always stood next to the photographer. There weren’t any digital cameras back then, it was with films, and one roll could take 32 photos. They open a small box, take pictures and after one month, you’ll get an album full of pictures. How was it possible? I was very curious. It looked like a magic box to me. We couldn’t afford a camera back then at home, and it went on like that for years. Then in high school, a few of them had cameras. I made friends with such people (sometimes because they had a camera). In PU, I turned my attention towards studying because I had the need to and I showed little interest in other activities. There used to be a library opposite my college. I was there all the time, reading a lot of books. And at a point, the teachers read up more and came to class for my sake.
When I joined Joseph’s for degree, I saw many people holding a camera and it didn’t seem like a marvelous instrument anymore. And most of them just roam around, clicking random pictures and later editing it or something. I always thought that if I had a camera like that, there are so many good pictures I can take! I decided in these three years, I have to learn photography and then only leave, because I don’t know if I can learn after degree, because I have no idea if I will study further or work.”
On getting his first camera:
Now I needed to buy a camera, but where I will I get the money from? My parents said it was impossible for them to buy a good camera. On a minimum basis, it will cost me about 30 to 40 thousand rupees. Impossible.
I believe in my subconscious. You will see what you want to see, you will hear what you want to hear, but you will never do what you want to do. That’s how our mind works.
When I was at the peak of my wanting to buy a camera, a friend of mine had just bought a 5D camera…
Dear people, a 5D camera easily costs about at least 2 lakh rupees, which is THE best camera available in market at the moment and is really too much for a commoner to buy, and unless you shoot a movie like Lucia I suggest you to think over it carefully.
…I didn’t know the parameters of the camera, like shutter speed and all those aspects, which he taught me. He said he an old camera. I asked him, “Guru*, will you give it to me?” It was about 5-6 years old, and is in the bottom of the DSLRs at present, but is very good for a point and shoot. He said, “Okay, for about 20 thousand rupees,” was his offer. We were good friends, so I told him, “Guru, please, lower the price for me, no?” He agreed to give it to me for fifteen thousand rupees.
As students, it is highly unlikely that any of us would have 15,000 rupees lying around. So what did he do for the money?
That day, I remember very well, I had 120-odd rupees in my account. I had no money. I didn’t know what to do. That time, I was waiting for a scholarship, of about 5000 rupees. I didn’t tell my family about it; I kept it with me; but then, I still needed 10,000 rupees.
In college, once they’d given free coffee for promotion purpose. I spoke to the people working there…
He is extremely friendly and speaks to everyone. Apart from the times he was depressed, he’s never once not spoken to his neighbor on the bus, he told me.
…I became good friends with one guy working and he explained me his job. The company apparently took students for jobs like these, and they pay about 500 rupees per day. Work is usually on the weekends. I approached them, and worked for them for a while. I went on the weekends. The job was simple. They usually assigned me to some mall, and when the company wants to launch a new product, they keep stalls in such malls, with an electric water heater, milk and the instant coffee and take the public’s feedback.
With that, I’ve also done work with the catering people at weddings. It gave me a lot of happiness, both these jobs. The catering job is usually done by the Brahmins (they are a community of people) and if you go there was work and you’re not a Brahmin, they give you a uniform: panche, shalya and Janwara. (Panche is a dhoti tied to the lower part of the body and shalya is a similar piece of cloth used to cover the upper body. Janwara is a length of cotton thread worn to indicate that you are a Brahmin; all wore by men) They used to give about 500 rupees. More than the money, the experience was wonderful. I got to see a variety of people. I got good stories also.
I’d already loaned some money from a friend, enough to buy that camera. I did all that work and returned him the money. And finally, I have a camera in my hand which is mine.
For learning, this camera was enough.
His first passion is and will always be writing. If you can read Kannada, I suggest you click here to read all his brilliant works. I promise you, it will not disappoint. He also plans on publishing a book in the near future, which is a collection of short stories, in Kannada. I know I will be the first in line to get it signed by him!
He has also directed a short film, my name “Metaphor”, which is sort of a protest against having the Steel Flyover in Bangaluru. I hope you guys can understand Kannada, because here is the link to the short film.
And until his 10th standard, he hadn’t watched movies at all. But after coming to Joseph’s, he got exposed to international cinema and watched at least one movie everyday. He’s also a regular visitor to the BIFFes, the Bengaluru International Film Festival.
And one day in the future, he will be a panelist there, talking about his movie. I hope to be there, cheering him on and watching his fans pool around him and ask him millions of questions which I know he will be more than happy to answer. And I, along with Yeshas, will take an appointment to take an interview of him.
*Guru means something like, Dude, in Kannada local language.
2016 has been good to me in ways that I didn’t know. I had to make a lot of important decisions this year, along with the hectic schedule of bring a third year student, I learnt plenty of things. I am thankful for 2016 for all the unpleasant things that have happened to me, because without which, I wouldn’t been on the journey to rediscover myself and do difficult things.
One of the biggest things I’m thankful for 2016, apart from my family and close circle of friends, is this woman here: Parvathi Nair.
She and I share upto 6 classes a week, and somehow, I never remember how, she and I became blogging buddies. She blogs over at Queen Talks. We write poetry together, answering prompts by other people and morally supporting each other. We have attempted two, so far, one calledAs everything Turns Grey, prompts given by JR Rogue and Kat Savage, and the second was by PoetryHive.
I’d never had blogging buddy or a writing buddy before, and i didn’t know anyone whom I could connect with. Writing with Parvathi, even though separately, has been some of the best times ever. The post-blogging chats are hilarious and honest.
And the best news is: we’re compiling a set of prompts for poetry for February! It’s called The Spring Palette and we are so, so excited!!
The experience of going back forth between the prompts were so much fun. We just synced together. That happens not too often and I’m glad she’s one of the people I can be myself with!
I have met few interesting and brilliant writers in my life. But ironically, I have never read anything written by them, because they always refuse when I ask. I always wonder, if they have such unique thoughts while they are socializing, why are they shy about letting it out in the world? Is it that they think that they aren’t good enough? Or is it because they think people will judge them based on their experiences in life?
I am baffled.
Don’t be shy. Or hesitant.
You write for a reason. You can write the things that nobody can dream of. You choose to write the things that you want to change. You choose to write about the injustice, the hardships, the love, the hate that you see and feel.
You write for a reason. Whatever it may be, you need to be heard.
Your cries, your pleas and your happiness and your anger, all need to be heard. You contribute to the magic in this mundane world and that one splash of colour in this grey world.
And if you think that your opinion and thoughts in this world aren’t required, you think wrong.
Every thought, every opinion matters. It is uniquely yours and you need to be proud of it.
So next time, when you want to say that you’re a writer, do it with your head held high. When they ask to read something of yours, chin up and show them something close to your heart. They might criticize you for your language or your style, but I promise you, they will not be judgmental.
If they are, keep your knuckles ready. They have no right.
You are magic. And you have the power to weave the magic in your words.