Wednesday, November 7, 2012

'Only the soul knows how to Sing'


When I had gone to Benaras a few months ago..I had gone in a search..not knowing what I was searching and no knowledge of whether I would find it or not. I came back with the knowledge that

aap hi mein Gyan, aap hi mein Ganga, aap hi mein Bhakti aap hi mein Bhagwan
( Knowledge in the you, Ganga is in the you, Bhakti is in the you and God is also in you)

As I roamed the streets of Kalighat one day I realized that the prostitutes, who were capable of abandoning themselves for sexual pleasure, were perhaps somewhere close to self realization. A lady police I talked to, smiled at me and said that these were often the women who saved the decent institution of marriage, which would have collapsed had these women not taken in the excess baggage of desire that run through the annals of society. I wondered then if the Kalighat Potua paintings had been modeled on any of these women.


I am reminded of lines from, 'Only the soul knows how to Sing' by Kamala Das

'Love is not important, that makes the blood carouse, nor the man who brands you with his lust, but is shed as slough at the end of each embrace. Only that matters which forms as toadstool under lightning and rain, the soft stir in the womb, the foetus growing, for,..only the treasures matter, that were washed ashore, not the long blue tides that washed them in.'

(Image courtesy http://artaaalpona.blogspot.in/2012/09/bengali-paintings-11.html )

14 comments:

magiceye said...

Kamala Das was an amazing poet!ichati 8

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

Yes absolutely!

Meenakshi Malhotra said...

Very nicely written, yes you are write, some times it only takes to adjust our glasses a bit to see the nobility in wretchedness, for they often the two sides of the same coin.

Samik said...

Interesting way to look at it... The Potua paintings are indeed very beautiful... Somehow the post does complete justice to the phrase you picked - "Pensive Thoughts"... I felt like reading your mind here. And lovely poem indeed :) ...

sudarshan said...

In the darkest corner of the world, lies the soul that knows the lies, that knows the desires and knows the crying
she stands in the corner and looks at the whole street. She knows what on everyone's mind, yet she is called illiterate and dirty

Vishal Mehta said...

A seemingly missed angle I would say. Very nicely captured; quite deep actually.

manjulika pramod said...

A thoughtful article..
Thanks for leading me to the beautiful paintings..

matheikal said...

I have a serious problem with your statement on prostitutes. They don't abandon "themselves for sexual pleasure" as far as I can imagine. Which woman will sell her body for pleasure? If anyone does, she is the real prostitute. But those who choose prostitution as a profession must be a much unhappier lot - they must be choosing it out of helplessness. I don't mean the kind of call girls/female escorts of these days.

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

@Matheikal..I didn't say they do..I said that they are capable of, actually there are probably many of us who are capable of abandoning the self or whatever it is that we believe in the body is just another in the list of things that can be abandoned & according to me definitely not the ultimate. Too much is made of the human body and sexual appeal anyway..friends thanks for visiting and adding to the discussion.

jaish_vats said...

Hi Maitreyee

Very different way of looking at it and sounds quite true. The painting is beautiful.

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

Hi Jaish..glad you liked it. Thank you

Raj said...

A scintillating and thought provoking post as usual. Every time I read your article, it gives my mind and soul an immense satisfaction. It indeed feels great when we go in search of something that we don’t have much of an idea about, and the knowledge we gain in the process is indeed fascinating.

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A very nice post & I like the slogan too. I am not as much as acquainted by Indian music, your post make me curious to explore more. Thanks for writing such a amazing post!

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