Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Catching up...

Another abscess surgery and weeks of daily visits to the ER at the hospital left me in the doldrums all through July.

That is not to say I did not paint. 

At times, out of a sheer desire to outwit my miserable condition, I painted strange faces that I kept seeing everywhere. The play of light behind curtains, uneven texture of walls, abstract patterns on the tiles – on everything I saw faces! 

I tried to capture them before they escaped my imagination.
So, these faces popped up in my journal and started telling me stories of their own. I think they reflect my mood, not always happy, though, on certain days, I did see some happy or comical faces! 

Dimensions of the Self.  (I used charcoal, ink, pens)

It's an age of disquiet into ports of pain...

Iam as Iam. (weird?)

Another thing that I did during the otherwise beastly month was complete the BIG canvas I started one and a half years ago! It gave me lots of satisfaction to have seen it to its completion.

Couch-ridden, as I was mostly, I got to watch lots of television. One program that set me thinking was one in which a well-placed businessperson, with every affordable luxury in life at his command, gives it all up every year when he chooses to live the life of a hobo. It could be the need to push oneself to the limits or the need to break free of all strictures in an otherwise too perfect world.  The very act of dealing with limitations and hardships in life does have a strangely renewing effect on oneself. I think it leads to a reinvention of our selves and changes our perspectives on things taken for granted until then. That is why I guess that person loves traveling, without a ticket, for months on railroads, eating from scraps and living penniless!!

A book I finished reading was Margret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, listed as ‘one of the most frequently challenged book of ’99-2000’, it presents the society as it degenerates into a totalitarian form where women are totally subjugated. 

Stripped of their personal dignity and forced into roles of either being a reproductive machine or household help, the moral rigidity of the society alters the way they think and it reaches its climax when the protagonist, Offred, is able to escape with the help of Nick, a member of a secret resistance group. 
What struck me is how the rulers changed every norm of existing society to create another one to suit their needs! The Handmaids are brainwashed into submission by the Aunts, on their visits to the shops Offred is afraid of ‘Eyes’ or spies and considers everyone potentially dangerous, the wall of the prison is used to hang the bodies of executed men. The novel brings out themes of the use of language to topple power equations, relationships, and gender inequalities.

What primarily drew me to the book was its cover; I liked the art I saw. The color red predominates throughout the book. Stark images contrast highly with the acquired symbolism of red as being the color of love. Here it is rather the symbol of danger and loud declaration of the reproductive function of the Handmaids in Gileadean society. The image on the cover aptly depicts the oppression felt by these women. 

My post today has become longer than usual because I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you. I must say that though this book is something not everyone might enjoy, I felt it to be quite compelling. It led me to read Atwood’s poems and, I liked the poem ‘Flying inside Your Own Body’.  Here is the poem for you to read,

Flying inside Your Own Body
Your lungs fill & spread themselves,
wings of pink blood, and your bones
empty themselves and become hollow.
When you breathe in you’ll lift like a balloon
and your heart is light too & huge,
beating with pure joy, pure helium.
The sun’s white winds blow through you,
there’s nothing above you,
you see the earth now as an oval jewel,
radiant & seablue with love.
It’s only in dreams you can do this.
Waking, your heart is a shaken fist,
a fine dust clogs the air you breathe in;
the sun’s a hot copper weight pressing straight
down on the think pink rind of your skull.
It’s always the moment just before gunshot.
You try & try to rise but you cannot.
Margaret Atwood

I like how she wedges in reality firmly into the light-headedness of imagination, though personally I would prefer never to touch that hard ground!

Have a wonderful week! 

Linking up with Sian's Story telling Sundays  , Art journal Everyday.


  1. Thank you for sharing what you have going on in your life at the moment. It's not always easy to do that is it? I know everyone from Storytelling Sunday will join me in wishing you a good recovery. Get well soon!

  2. I like Margaret Atwood's poems for their imagery too. Hope you feel better soon.

  3. Sending you lots of healing hugs ~ glad you were able to 'vent' through your journal pages and would love to see the large painting you did ~ Margaret Atwood always inspires one to contemplate ~ good read ~ lovely poem ~ (A Creative Harbor)

  4. Enjoyed your drawings and the poem. I hope you are feeling better soon!

  5. Feel better soon :-) I like your faces.

  6. Powerful post..beautiful art..deeply soulful and poetic..expressive and wonderful! Thanks for sharing your story,,
    and yes I love M.A too..she is a fab writer and poet!

  7. Hope you are feeling better today. Get well soon. I like your sketches...they are expressive.

  8. Za Faran... your artwork is great - especially the 2nd one... "ports of pain".. love it. It contains much emotion. I read the Handmaid's Tale YEARS ago and although i only remember bits of it, you gave it a wonderful description in this post. ;-) Thank you for sharing this. xox


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