Gayatri, and the blank canvas

Art is different from literature and music. Says Michael. And what makes Art, the only place where people inquire for reality? “Art is everything a man goes through.. It is his life, his mind, his thoughts…” Gayatri’s remark takes Michael into a realisation that she’s someone who’s adroit at the same passion that he possess. And this dialogue presentation is one of the many instances where I could really adore Ann Augustine as an actress, a deserving state award winner for her Gayatri.

‘Artist’ is one such movie, that unveils Shyamaprasad’s prowess as a film maker. I have always been fascinated by indepth movies. Commercial or feel good movies do entertain for that watch time. But there are movies that leaves an unsolved question, or that tries to say something indirectly, such that it would pierce down into your intellect as well as your mind, your heart, out of which you would finally ignite puzzles of joy, that lasts forever. And this movie takes a special place among my favorite movies of all time.

Here, as my title hints, the movie is all about paints, people and canvas. If gayatri could ever look at her life as a canvas, as quick as a flash i can say that it would seem all blank. All her love, all her efforts, and all the pain that she carried on and through her young veins, are seen falling off at a moment, at a single moment in the movie.

As I said in the beginning, another instance where Anne magnificently melts down into the character of gayatri, is in the climax scene, where she walks away, but towards the audience, saying to us that there would come such a moment in your lives, where you would have to leave the place, without saying a word, because you finally realise that it won’t make any change.

Fahad Fasil as Michael becomes the perfect antihero, that he could well bring out in us all the disgust and abhorrence for his character as the plot necessitates. There is this character of Siddarth Shiva, whom we come across at the start of the movie, waiting for Michael to discuss on an art exhibition, that Gayatri somehow managed to get going. Anne portrays the very staunch wife of Michael, who is struggling with her dissenting husband who in no way supports her to make both the ends meet. Siddharth leaves the place as Michael fails to reach at time, and here we can watch the shivering hands with an old nokia phone and teary eyes, those with a hopeless glint, blinking in dismal as sidharth passes.

Michael’s relationship with many girls, that lasted in no time, has been divulged through the character Abhi, a close friend of Michael. Gayatri couldn’t give up her passion on art as well as Michael, that she deliberately unheard all the single grumbles that came towards her, in her way of choosing Michael. Amidst a song sequence there comes a second of time, when gayatri is made to ask Michael that why do he love her. And his answer was that she was young and untouched. Gayatri is seen arguing with her parents on her relationship with Michael, and being a single daughter raised in a conservative Brahmin family, she doesn’t stop herself in leaving her parents, to move into Michael’s life. Being in an live in relationship, Michael puts on the breadwinner role to gayatri, and entails in his world of paintings.

Michael’s character reminds me of the painter in Edgar Allen poe’s short story, ‘The Oval Portrait’. The man who is in endless love with art kills his wife, letting her starve inorder to complete his work. Similarly gayatri is here letting herself tear down out of her love for Michael. And love alone stands on ahead of her, in her arduous journey. “Art is a jealous mistress.” Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote sum up both the plots.

The husband, a painter, in poe’s’ short story, requests his wife to let him paint her portrait, and in obeying him, she meets her grim. As the painting matured, her health and energy declined and yet she remained and, without objection, she continued to sit for him. His passion for the portrait increased and as the painting nears completion, each stroke of the brush strips her of her beauty, and finally, upon the conclusion of the painting, it robs her of her life.

Beyond art, Shyamaprasad sways our thoughts to the bitter reality of life, where man in no way can take command of his own life. But he is just a glove puppet in fate’s hands. Unpredictable is human life and the sournesss can’t be neglected but to accept is the very thing that man can do.

In the movie, Michael mets with an accident, and there begins gayatri’s real tussle. He loses his vision, but still has his power of sight at art. In an earlier scene, we are shown Michael and Gayatri sitting on the sea shore, where Michael convinces her, his wish to conduct a huge art exhibition with lots of canvases suffused with psychedelic paints. There Gayatri, lamely asks him how can a man live with art alone. Michael smiles, what else does he have?

As the director wins over in his talent to prompt us to understand even a single silent moment, connecting to art, man and life, there attains the perfection of the movie.

Now the most stirring part of the movie for me personally, lies in the name of Michael’s art exhibition, as suggested by Gayatri. Dreams in Prussian Blue it is.. “Why Prussian Blue? It can be cobalt blue, serolin blue.. why is it even blue?” For Michael’s wonder, Gayatri hold on a second, imbibing pain, and says.. ” simply, blue sky, dreams, in the blues, moody blues.. such a way.. blue is beautiful, as your painting”. She couldn’t stop her repentance by seeing the canvas filled with only blue colour, tinted with Abhi’s old collection of blue paints. Abhi, as if lending an helping hand, asks her to stop ravaging herself in a cafe, working overload to get extra money for household matters after buying paints and brushes for Michael. Getting up all of his old stocks of paints would help her lessen the burden, and in passively obeying the only one who atleast stands beside herself and Michael, she even forgot the potency of deceive that that are doing to Michael, only because he’s blind. Gayatri gradually becomes aware that Abhi is trying to mishandle his otherwise friendly relationship with her. He even blackmails that Michael would get to know the truth about the paints if she wouldn’t please his sensual needs. Reluctantly she runs away from the till then ‘good’ person. By cheating on his pregnant wife, here the character of Abhi takes an entirely different dimension from the beginning of the movie, where all we could see was a smiling innocent young man with heart full of friendliness.

“Why is the proportion not being right as before?” Gayatri has no answer. As a lunatic one, Michael roams around the room holding the canvas, blaming the changed company of paints, unrecognising that his canvas is not filled with colours of his mind, but are simply blue.. Prussian Blue.

It’s the day of Michael’s art exhibition. Gayatri in a profound blue saree welcomes the art lovers, flooding to watch the blind man’s Magnum opus. Siddharth is now pleased to organise the exhibition, and praises the indepth meanings that the colour blue unrolls in the eyes of the spectators.

Michael’s dream was her too. And it’s that rare day in the span of the movie that we can glimpse at the happy face of Gayatri. And in no time all her happiness seems to fade away when she finally got to see Abhi’s wife with Michael, in a desperate mood, while Abhi is standing abreast with a smile of revenge. She is trying, trying hard not to knock down the vigour of the day, the vitality of Michael’s art. But she stood stagnant before them as the only wrongdoer . In no way could she prove her innocence. How to? Or was she really innocent? All the fingers pointed towards her, the whole blue sky showered drops of agony, its tip striking off her heart, shattering it into pieces that nobody could ever rejoin into an image or an art of love. “The exhibition is mine, mine only. You can leave. Blue is the colour of deceive. Of lie”. And now, no more words, no more tears would get back her heart at the art which she lived for. She has to leave. Leave to nowhere. And Gayatri is nearing to us, looking at us, her eyes being an ocean of thunderous waves, her lips shivering with numbness of sorrow, her monologue goes like this.. ” In all lives, there is a point of no coming back. If we reach at that endpoint, the only way is to accept the truth in silence. we can only live such a way then. So goodbye, goodbye Michael. Remember that I too got hurt. Love alone isn’t enough to live this life. No sincerity can evade the pain in any relationship. And when time comes, those who are destined to get hurt, should end up in hurting itself. That’s life.”

And that’s it . It was all for Michael, all for her love. It was the story of a young girl in her late teenage, leaving everything behind for her love, working day and night to earn the livelihood, to look after her narcissist partner, to look after her own dignity, amidst those vulturous men over there. And.. it was Gayatri’s story of her blank canvas, that had no single drop of paint to be tinted, that it all eroded in her love and in her pain.

Image Credits: Google

The Prayer of Aalaha

After reading Sarah Joseph’s award winning novel “Aalahayude Penmakkal”, I’ve been haunted by the hidden fact behind the prayer of Aalaha. The writer has artfully employed two powerful symbols of ‘Amara panthal’ and ‘Aalahayude namaskaram’, in the novel. And among these two symbols, I got more enlivened in reading with this prayer alluded by Sarah Joseph. This symbol is powerful in such a deep way, that it evokes a sought of puzzle in every situation, guiding the reader to connect this situation with the symbol.

Diving into the core of the novel, the reader is drawn towards a mystical land named ‘Kokkanjira’, situated above ‘Gosayikkunnu’, where a low standard of living can be seen. The land is pervaded by scavengers, sluts, butchers and all those considered to be equal to a corpse. It’s the history told by Ammaama to Annie, an eight year old, through whose thoughts, the plot develops. Annie has also been primed with the actuality of spirits wandering all the way through ‘Gosayikkunnu’.

‘Kokkanjira’ is a cursed land, and Annie is being jinxed with the name of her place, by which she’s being humiliated by her friends and teachers. In this cursed land, each of the characters are suffering to their death, and the only relief that any reader could find in the whole book is the prayer of Aalaha, declaimed by Ammaama, the only one who knows it. It has been passed on by her ancestors, considering only a single person in the family being disclosed by the sacred prayer, near to the former’s death. Annie is in the hope that she shall also become the one who knows it. Being her son’s only daughter, and the youngest in the family, Ammaama has a special care for her. Annie doesn’t know who made the prayer of Aalaaha, but she got to know that the prayer works against satan. In unpropitious instances, Ammaama do render this prayer, which flares a streak of hope in the reader.

Amara panthal , as I mentioned in the beginning becomes an influential instrument in the novel. Annie believes that above it, there exists a life, where she and the people of that cursed land will never know any bitterness. The crest and abyss of Annie’s life is depicted through this symbol. Whenever Kuttipappan’s (Annie’s uncle) tuberculosis gets intensified, the amara dries off and it gets flourished when Chiyyamma’s marriage is fixed. Also, when urbanization begins to devour Kokkanchira, a portion of the amara panthal is rolled over by a road roller. And near to the finish, the amara panthal is getting quashed by the wild wind.

Sarah Joseph has thoroughly unfolded a fragment of society, where civilization makes it rotten, also manifesting a group of forsaken people, whose lives becomes execrable with the exertion of building up a civilized society.

The idea of schism has also been delineated in chapter one, named ‘Romakkarum Surayikalum’, through an incessant squabble between Ammaama, a Surayi, and Annie’s mother, a Roman Catholic. The writer then, adeptly elucidates the idiocy behind the notion of religious chasms, by the sudden change in Kochurothu’s (Annie’s mother) attitude, when it comes to family distresses, that she forgets the other is a surayi, and gives a helping hand. One such instance is when Cherichi ammaayi comes home long years after her marriage. When Ammaama cries out of happiness, Kochurothu too begins to cry, forgetting those two are Surayis.

” എന്തോരം കാലായമ്മേ അമ്മേനെ കണ്ടിട്ട്?”

അമ്മാമ ആനി കരയുംപോലെ ഉറക്കയാണ് കരഞ്ഞത്. അപ്പോൾ അവർ രണ്ടു സുറായികളാണെന്ന കാര്യം മറന്ന് അമ്മയും കരഞ്ഞു.

Towards the end of the novel, through the character of Ammaama, the writer again entrenches the certitude of inanity behind religious conflicts. It is when Kokkanjira is nearing to its demolition by flood, where Ammaama, who has turned amnesiac then, thinks of carrying her son Kuttippappan to Ollur Malakha. The old son of her is a TB patient, and in her mind, he’s still a two year old. Annie knew that Surayis doesn’t have a belief in Ollur Malakha, wherein the writer makes it clear through Ammaama herself, by her saying “ബോദാ പോയാ എന്തൂട്ട് സുറായി എന്തൂട്ട് റോമ?”.

Being the spearhead of feminist movement in Kerala, Sarah Joseph has fabricated characters of women who are physically vigorous and mentally potent. The character of Ammaama has astonishingly driven the engrossement of my reading of the text. She is definitely the strongest of all. Ammaama doesn’t even fear the spirits roaming around in Gosayikkunnu. Her words are not merely entwined of letters, but of great command and greater credence. Kochurothu too is presented before us as a determined Roman Catholic, who doesn’t allow herself to bend her knees before a Surayi, or anyone who tries to prevail over her. It is Kochurothu’s voice, that remains louder in the rallies, her tenacity being used as a weapon to combat with the dominating society. Kunjila, Annie’s Vallyammayi, who turned to be a widow at the age of fourteen is destined to become a midwife later. She has to take up on travelling with strangers day and night, which spells the freedom, a woman in the writers mind be need of. People couldn’t shut their mouth up for the ‘ugliness’ in her job. Even her own family couldn’t. She develops an affair with Kunjan compounder, which oust the order of his marital life, that leads him into committing suicide. Through the innocence of Annie, the writer contemplates in the mistake of two persons falling in love. She is here tearing off all the conventions, and embarks the need of forward-looking.

Aalaha’s daughters are evidently these women characters in the novel. The strongest they are, the toughest they suffer. And the prayer of Aalaha is used as a medium to picturise these miserable people’s yearnings and hope for a better tomorrow. The prayer, towards the end, seems to become more like a devil’s bargain rather than a God’s gift, for she receives tuberculosis from her uncle, the moment she learns the prayer from Ammaama.

The prayer has actually camouflaged before me, as a blessing for the people of Kokkanjira, but disappointed as it became tangible that it was indeed a symbol for their thrashing. Still, Aalaha’s prayer remains to be an enigma for me. Some distant land is waggling her arm, echoing the prayer of Aalaha, in Ammaama’s voice.

Image Credits: Instagram,@aliakbarvk


വയലറ്റ് പൂക്കളോട് എനിക്ക് പണ്ടേ പ്രണയമാണ്. വിഷാദത്തിൻ്റെ നിറത്തെ പ്രണയിക്കാൻ പഠിച്ചത് എന്നാണെന്ന് ഓർമയില്ല. ഏറെ നാളായി എൻ്റെ മുറിക്കുള്ളിൽ, പകുതിയുടഞ്ഞ മൺചട്ടിയിൽ ഒരു വയലറ്റ് തൈ നട്ടിട്ട്. ഇരുട്ടു നിറച്ച് കണ്ണീർ തൂകി ഞാനാ ചെടിയെ നന്നായി പരിപാലിക്കുന്നതാണ്. എന്നിട്ടും ഇതുവരെയായും ഒരു വയലറ്റ് പൂ പോലും മൊട്ടിട്ടില്ല. എൻ്റെ മുറിയിലെ കർട്ടനുകളുടെ നിറവും വയലറ്റ് തന്നെ ആണ്. വയലറ്റ് കർട്ടനുകൾ എൻ്റെ മുറിക്കുള്ളിലെ ഇരുട്ടിനെ കൂടുതൽ മനോഹരമാക്കുന്നതിനാൽ ഞാനവ ഒരിക്കലും നീക്കാറില്ല. സിൽവിയ പ്ലാത്തിൻ്റെ ഒരു ബ്ലാക്ക് ആൻ്റ് വൈറ്റ് ചിത്രം അലസനായ ചുമരിന്മേൽ ചാരി നിൽപ്പുണ്ട്. “Intoxicated with madness I’m in love with my sadness” എന്ന വാചകങ്ങൾ ആ ചിത്രത്തിന് താഴെയായി ചിതറി വീണു കിടക്കുന്നത് കാണാം. ഇംഗ്ലീഷ് സാഹിത്യം പഠിക്കാൻ തുടങ്ങിയ അന്നു മുതൽ രാത്രിയിൽ ഉണർന്നിരുന്ന് പ്ലാത്തിൻ്റെ കവിതകൾ വായിച്ചു കരയുന്ന ശീലം ഇന്നും തുടരുന്നു. ചില രാത്രികളിൽ ഞാനെഴുതിയ കവിതകൾ കേൾക്കാനായി ഒരു നത്ത് വരാറുണ്ട്. പരന്ന മുഖവും വലിയ കണ്ണുകളും കൂർത്ത ചുണ്ടുകളും ഉള്ള ഇരുട്ടിൻ്റെ പക്ഷി. കറുത്ത കടലാസു തുണ്ടിൽ ഞാൻ പകർത്തുന്ന കറുത്ത അക്ഷരങ്ങൾ എനിക്ക് മാത്രം വായിക്കാൻ കഴിയുന്നവയാണ്. കേൾക്കാൻ ആളില്ലാത്ത അക്ഷരങ്ങൾ അന്തർമുഖയായ എഴുത്തുകാരിയിൽ തന്നെ മരിച്ചുവീഴാറാണ് പതിവ്. അങ്ങനെ മരിച്ചുവീണ അക്ഷരങ്ങൾ ഇരുട്ടിൽ ചേർത്താണ് ഞാനെൻ്റെ വയലറ്റ് ചെടിയുള്ള മൺചട്ടി നിറച്ചത്. ഒരു മേഘം മാത്രം പെയ്തിരുന്ന രാത്രിയിലെ സ്വപ്നത്തിൽ ആ വയലറ്റ് ചെടി പൂവിട്ടതും പടർന്നു പന്തലിച്ച വയലറ്റ് പൂക്കൾ എൻ്റെ നഗ്നമായ ശരീരമാകെ ചുറ്റിപ്പിണഞ്ഞു കിടന്നതും കണ്ടു. എന്നെ വരിഞ്ഞുമുറുക്കിയ വയലറ്റ് പൂക്കളുടെ ഗന്ധം മരണത്തിൻ്റേതായിരുന്നു. മൗനം മാത്രം സംസാരിച്ചിരുന്ന എൻ്റെ അക്ഷരങ്ങൾ, ഇരുട്ടു നിറച്ച മൺചട്ടിയിൽ നിന്നും താഴെ വീണ് ഇല്ലാതായിരുന്നു. പ്ലാത്തിൻ്റെ ചിത്രം മാത്രം, അപ്പോഴും മാറ്റമില്ലാതെ ആ ഭിത്തിക്കുമേൽ നിൽപുണ്ടായിരുന്നു.

Image Credits: Google


നിറങ്ങൾ പെയ്ത മഴയിൽ

കുതിർന്ന നന്ത്യാർവട്ടവും

ഇരുട്ടിൻ്റെ കണ്ണുകളെ

ചുംബിച്ച അരിമുല്ലയും

തിരഞ്ഞത് വസന്തത്തെയാണ്.

മറ്റ് ഋതുക്കൾ ഒളിപ്പിച്ച

സ്നേഹത്തിൻ്റെ ചുമന്ന പൂവ്,

വസന്തം കൈവെള്ളയിൽ ഒതുക്കി,

ഒരിതൾ പോലും നോവിക്കാതെ


മൗനം വിഴുങ്ങിയ രാത്രിമഴ

ഒരു സൂചിമുനപോൽ

ദേഹത്തേക്കാഴ്‌ന്നിറങ്ങി വേദനിപ്പിക്കുമ്പോഴും

വരാനിരിക്കുന്ന വസന്തത്തെയോർത്ത്

നീറുന്ന മനസ്സിനെ പാകപ്പെടുത്തുകയാണ് ഞാനിന്ന്.


ഞാനും തിരയുന്നത് വസന്തത്തെയാണ്.

കർക്കിടകത്തിലെ പേമാരി

തോരുന്നിടത്ത് വസന്തം

ഉണരാനായ് ഉറങ്ങാതെ

തള്ളിനീക്കുന്ന ജന്മാന്തരങ്ങളുടെ

ദൈർഘ്യമുള്ള രാവുകൾ.

വാചാലനായ രാത്രിമഴയോട്

ഞാനിനി വിടചൊല്ലട്ടെ.

നിൻ്റെ വാക്ചാതുര്യം

എന്നിൽ സൃഷ്ടിക്കുന്നത് മൂകതയാണ്.

വിഷാദമെന്ന പേരിൽ

നീ അപഹസിക്കുന്ന മൂകത.

വിഷാദത്തെ മായ്ക്കാൻ

പേമാരിയേക്കാൾ നല്ലത്

വസന്തം തന്നെയല്ലേ?

എനിക്ക് വേണ്ടത് സ്നേഹത്തിൻ്റെ

ചുമന്ന പൂവ് മാത്രമാണ്.

മൗനത്തെ പോലും വർണ്ണത്തിലാഴ്ത്തുന്ന

സ്നേഹത്തിൻ്റെ ചുമന്ന പൂവിനായ്

ഞാൻ തിരയട്ടെ……..

Image Credits: Unsplash, @Monica Galentino