My letter to Kittu March 17, 2006Posted 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.