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My letter to Kittu March 17, 2006

Posted by silentEcho in moron's Diary, Philosophy.

Another letter, this time written by me to my friend Kittu. I and Kittu were good friends. We had gone to some school for a competition. They had some beautiful paintings on display and she asked me, while looking at some of those paintings, “What do these paintings mean?” I did not answer at that time but later I gave this to her:


Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved. Same is with a painting. A painting must be lived and not merely be understood. This is because only a monotonous, dead thing can be understood and not lived. This is not the case with painting. A painting is colorful ( as life is ) and is unquoatable, unsaid, unrevealed. A painting is not just a fiddle of colors. As I said above, it is colorful and this means it has many insights just like life has. Different people see different patterns in the same painting and hence interpret it differently. It is very similar to what they do to life. Different people live life differently.
The meaning of a painting lies in the eyes of the beholder. It is not absolute and hence in the absence of an observer, its meaning nullifies ( quite solipsistic ). I mean to say, the painting has a meaning because the observer has attached a meaning to it.Of course, a painting preserves in itself, the sole expression of its painter but once it has been painted, it no longer belongs to the painter but to the heart which is common to all. From here onwards, the painter himself is an observer.

A true painter never paints to make people understand but he paints just to express himself. It is the abstract feeling of his mind, soul, heart which find expression in a painting. Abstractness seldom finds expression. But whenever it finds expression in the very domain of seldomness, it is difficult to appreciate, understand and overall to live it. Paintings which simplify this are ‘good’. This is why ‘good’ paintings are rare, why caricatures are widespread compared to paintings and why there are more cartoonists than painters.

The feelings of painter are the patterns and the colors that we see on the canvas.As the painting preserves the originality and genuinity of expression filled in it by its painter, one way to understand a painting is to keep yourself in place of the painter. Painting then becomes the feeling that the painter wanted his soul to understand or to be more precise, live. So next time you see a painting do not just try to understand it, but live it, with you as the painter.

We are all paintings, hanging on the walls of life with nails of obligations. Whatever that may be, these paintings made by the master painter are all good and beautiful, you being the best of them.

I made this reply to her in the form of a letter that I gave her when we got out of the school bus at our bus stop ( we had the same bus stop ). She took it and promised to read. Few days later I asked her the fair copy of this piece back and she said NO because it had been added by her to her collection of writings. This was the first and the last letter I ever wrote to her. After that we went different paths and it has been a long time since I last met her.



1. Musafir... - April 10, 2006

Art… in most of its forms, reflects reality, even if it does not, it is actually our deep rooted relation with reality that makes us ‘appreciate’ it and the same relation to reality stimulates us to look for a reason behind art, it is not always our conscience but cognition that helps us to understand art… your allegation of others not being able to spot out life in art is true, but at the samr time I question the qualigication of that art which leaves scope for people to look out for alternatives to the ‘feeling’ art is expected to produce.

2. wisemoron - April 11, 2006

As far as I think, art is NOT expected to do something. It is just an expression of the artist as it arrives. Then the interpretation personalizes it to others so it depends on people NOT on art. Or to say NOT on art alone. Is there an existence or meaning of art independent of interpretation? Art is NOT expected to do anyhting it’s the social norms that make us believe it is expected to. I am talking philosophy here not sociology.

3. Nikhil Mahant - April 21, 2006

Dear Moron,
May be you misunderstood it… First of all, my argument cannot be a subject of sociology, for what I meant was it that an aesthetic judgment is identified independently, that is to say that an art form is recognized only because it is expected to be complete in itself,it is not open ended, nevertheless, the mode of an aesthetic appeal cannot always be ‘out worldly’, for it derives its form from the real world, where it exists. In such a scenario, your moral and logical judgement will anyway interfere with your appreciation of art. Sociology does not have anything to do with aesthetics {which is in turn one of the three major fields of philosophy, others being critical reason and judgement}, it deals with the ‘impact’ of aesthetics, and the ‘common’ perception of it…and I think I did not at all talk of it.

4. the life divine » A chocolate to remember - 4 - July 10, 2006

[…] I visited IITB for Mood Indigo in December and there we ( me and Anurag ) were spectacularly successful in events. They also had a love letter writing competition as a qualifying round in a crossover event. It was all that I could have taken at that time. I mean was this nature’s idea of a cruel joke or what? Anyway it was a team event. I dunno how a team writes a love letter so I requested Anurag to let me write the letter. That love letter was my first love letter in the true sense of the word ( for the actual first read this ). It had a poem I had written and I don’t need to tell to who was it addressed to. […]

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