Thursday, October 16, 2008
A Flower called Narcissus
My wife, Mrinal Kulkarni, and some of my friends like Dilip Narayanan, Anubhav Nath and so on call me a narcissist. Reason, I spend more time with myself, enjoying my reading, writing and aloofness. But whenever I am accused of being a narcissist, I ask myself, ‘what is the problem?’ End of the day, who is not a narcissist?
I don’t see people as people but as a vast garden of flowers that look at their own reflection in the nearest pool- self absorbed, happily melancholic and passionate about their own metamorphosis.
If you have seen me in person, you must be knowing that I am not so self absorbed kind. I can listen to people for endless hours without uttering a word. I keep my eyes listening more than my ears do. It is here in the eyes that a person’s capacity to listen lies. You can make out from the eyes of a person who wanders away from your words even while giving all ears to you.
I listen with my eyes.
I can see words forming in the void, grouping together like clouds in a troubled sky and shower on me with meanings. My narcissism ends where that of the other begins.
Through the opened door, rain comes in to my room. She gets wet. She wants to be the most tender shoot of the plant down there on the fence, which revels itself in the wiry embrace of water. She wants to step out and get drenched completely. I don’t want to come back to my desk in soaked clothes. She calls me a narcissist.
Who is a narcissist? The one who wants to get drenched for the pure pleasure of it, or the unromantic me, who just wants to work on in dry clothes?
Look at this picture. It was taken on that day when an artist friend called me a ‘narcissist.’
“You take too much pride in your writings and your journal. In fact, without you the contemporary art can function,” he said.
“Without Indian contemporary art, the whole universe can function,” I tell him calmly. I am sure, the people have now choices. Art is not the only route to sublime life. May be to rephrase it, art is not the essential route to sublime.
But I felt bad. I was standing near a pool. I looked at my reflection and found that when I saw myself in other’s words, I got self-absorbed. Narcissism is the ideal way of identifying one’s real self through reflecting on others. Hence, a narcissist, during the moments of self absorption, does not think about himself/herself. He thinks about his own self as seen reflected in others.
If the artist’s words had hurt me, it was because I was seeing me in him. My ultimate uselessness as a writer and his ultimate futility as an artist- two flowers brooding over their flimsy existence.
Then Madhusudhanan, an artist friend turned his camera at me and I smiled. As you see in the picture above, I never thought I could smile at my futility so well and so full. Such a narcissist I am!