29 October, 2008

The Difference Between Art and Science

At a painful party the other day ( it was vaguely 2 am, I guess), someone popped a random question at the dinner table- "What is the difference between Art and Science"? The "asker" was an honorable senior officer of the Indian Army and the "askees" were a group of chattering young ladies. He did get some pretty interesting replies like "Arts is more like History, Political Science, Literature etc. while Science has Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths" (duh!). My supposedly "intellectual" take on the subject did not go all waste (despite my punch drunk state and slurred speech)- I can safely vouch for that because the answer sparked off an animated discussion which ultimately turned out to be the highlight of the painful party (at least for me).

Contrary to popular belief, a couple of drinks can really jump-start dormant gray cells ( that doze off all over again once the hangover wears out).Here goes my alcohol-induced philosophy:

"Science is an acknowledgment of the known and expansion of physicality while Art is an interpretation of existence and expansion of the soul- beyond the apparent and the obvious". ( Ok, now don't you stare at me like that and DON'T even ask me where on earth did that come from). And yes, its original- in case you are wondering.

03 October, 2008

Significance of The Phoenix Tattoo

Ever since I got a Phoenix tattooed on my back, people have been asking me- Why a Phoenix? I mean, its not a common, fashionable motif - like say, a butterfly, stars or Chinese and tribal symbols. Not surprisingly, I had a tough time finding one that effectively represented my being. After two long years of wait ( I just couldn't find an artist who understood my requirement), I finally got it done from Al's Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio in Bandra, Mumbai.

For those who may be unaware, the Phoenix is a mythological bird that burns itself and emerges all over again from its own ashes.
The Phoenix has varied references in Arabian, Greek, Roman, and Oriental mythology. Some believe it to represent the sun- bursting into flames at sunset and being reborn at the crack of dawn. It also symbolizes rebirth and re-incarnation ( or life's victory over death- whichever way you prefer to put it). The Phoenix is also believed self-cremate itself in a nest of exotic and aromatic herbs when it is injured, tired or weak. In Oriental mythology, this bird with a dazzling plumage represents balance (yin and yang) and harmony.

To me however, the Phoenix means a lot more than a mythological creature. I identify with many aspects of the Phoenix and use the motif as a representation of my soul.

- The "emerging" Phoenix (as opposed to the burning one) symbolizes strength and invincibility in the face of adversity. It will constantly remind me to battle all odds and emerge victorious.

- The burning and resurrection of the Phoenix teaches me to erase everything that is unpleasant from my memory and begin each day as a fresh, new life with all its sparkle and splendor.

- The Phoenix is an unconventional creature- it does not adhere to the laws of life and death. In a way, it mirrors the overpowering rebellious streak in me and gives me the strength to go "against the flow" and live life on my terms.

- Of course, anything that symbolizes me has to have wings that stand for freedom, adventure, independence and a footloose character.

- The bright colors of the feathers represent positivity, optimism and a love for natural beauty.

I will add more to this as I connect other threads of my existence to the Phoenix.

Crows in The City That Never Sleeps...

The Mumbai fever seems to have caught on with the city's crows as well. Nowhere else in India have I seen crows cawing away through the night and even scourging for food when they should be ideally tucked away in their tacky nests. Sure enough, competition is fierce and only the fittest will survive- which is probably why these Mumbai birds are up and about at night while their small-town counterparts hit the bed in rest of the country. I wonder if they work in shifts...

The other day during a late-night drive through the city, I was rather taken to find these irksome birds having a noisy party by the garbage can at two in the morning- a ridiculous hour for most city-dwelling birdies. They reminded me of crows in Udhampur who returned religiously to their arboreal abodes as soon as the sun descended down the horizon. Have birds in bustling metros adopted the same fast-paced lifestyle and evolved themselves accordingly or is it just my imagination? For all I know, crows are not nocturnal by nature.