Peruse, ponder, connect, act.
During our journeys by road to fulfill our official assignments, en route picking up bits and pieces of twigs, dried roots, drifting seasoned and withered wood from rivers and streams, was a pastime which I particularly did not relish, especially when time and space were at a premium. However, I and my wife did find it extremely fascinating and alluring the creation, from these entities, of various forms of decorative artifacts of different sizes and shapes representing all and sundry living, inanimate and imaginative objects. The creator was my immediate superior, whose obsession with driftwood sculpture was overwhelming phenomenal. In his garden and courtyard were positioned eye catching and startling driftwood innovations; the rooms in the house were also not spared. He was quite magnanimous with his creations and I have several of these adorning our family and living rooms. The puzzle that lingered on with me ever since, now appears to be crystallizing; the outburst of his creativity through long hours of concentrated dozes of hard work in his spare time on week days and on all weekends and holidays, did have a reason. He possibly wanted to spend as much time close to his daughter who was in coma for the past 10 years or so lying in her bed in the house and fervently hoping to witness a miracle. This hope was perhaps, the catalyst for his outpouring through objects that he designed and created.
Yes, creativity does depend on the attitude of individuals and their emotional intelligence; being in love, betrayal in love, painful parting and recourse to the man made elixir, natural tragedy, a calamity and so on do mature and hasten the emancipation of masterpieces, be it in poetry, prose, paintings, sculpture, music and other forms of arts. Let me take it further with a few illustrations.
The evening was young and we were enjoying the sea breeze on the terrace of a hotel in Bahrain; this was our fortnightly social gathering and as often as he did Shahid took the center stage and recited few of his poems from his book. We all liked Shahid but not his poetry, insipid, uninspiring, and confusing; we tolerated his pieces as a matter of courtesy. Conferring our collective agony, I decided to probe Shahid:
Self, ‘Shahid, have you ever fallen in love with a girl?”
Shaid, “No, never! I am happily married for the last twenty years and have two grown up children”
“Has your wife ever shown affection to another man or has been unfaithful?”
“You are stupid and rude.”
“Do you drink liquor?”
“Lahol Wila Quwat! I am a Muslim. It is haram to taste liquor!”
“Are you ever emotionally charged up?”
“I do not understand.”
“You have read Mirza Ghalibs poems?”
“Of course yes.”
“You like his verses?”
“Yes of course. I love his poetry.”
Self, “This is what Mirza Ghalib said about a contemporary poet to the assembled poets in the king’s court during one of the recitals. “How can Sahbai be a poet? He has never tasted wine, nor has he ever gambled; he has not been beaten with slippers by lovers, nor has he ever seen the inside of a jail!.””
I lost Shahid’s friendship and thankfully his poetry as well: we were spared his recitations thereafter.
Most of us have seen the delightful movie ‘Shakespeare’ in love.’ It was Shakespeare’s rather torrid affair with a young woman named Viola De Lesseps, an aspirant to become a player in a professional acting company that inspired Shakespeare in his writing of Romeo and Juliet—indeed, giving him some of his best lines. It could possibly be a fictionalized romance, but then it immortalized Romeo and Juliet, a masterpiece creation of Shakespeare’s illusions.
I was disappointed with the facade of Sistine Chapel, but as I traversed its inner corridors and rooms my delight turned into reverence. The paintings and the sculptured statues were breathtaking, reminiscent of those that I had seen in the Louver in Paris. My heart missed several beats as I looked up and saw Michelangelo’s masterpieces emblazoning the ceiling, the most prominent and appealing is the “Creation of Adam “a portrayal of God touching the finger of man. It is uncertain whether Michelangelo had physical relationships with Tommaso Dei Cavalieri , a handsome and young nobleman. The two men remained lifelong friends and Michelangelo wrote over 300 poems and sonnets expressing his love for Tommaso. This also had an effect on his paintings and sculpture of females, where in he used male anatomical models, implanted breast on them and stylized their hair do.
Creativity as understood presently “is the combination of old ideas in order to produce an unique and novel idea”-Young 1976. It requires a person with attitude, ability and previous knowledge to set in motion a process to generate or produce a product that is new and unique. Emotion in its classical essence, perhaps has taken a back seat. The idea that blossoms into a universal pragmatic solution is the focus of all our energy and ‘emotion’. The IT revolution takes the cake and welcome too, as it has made it much more affordable and easier for me and all of us to reach and communicate, search and absorb, feel and observe, accept and neglect and so on.
The ‘catalysts’ for the modern day ‘creators’ could be left for posterity, let us not distract them!