Thursday, July 24, 2014

Of Nothingness, Passion and Work

Travel broadens the mind, they say. I was at Hyderabad airport when I met this gent. Let me call him KR. Hair neatly knotted behind his head with a rubber band. Beard neatly left untrimmed. A tee shirt that had seen a lot of the world. He smiled when I joined him. I asked him what he was doing. Said, he was directing a movie! I was surprised. Said it was his dream. He did not want to make it a profession, he added hastily. He would direct only two movies in his life, he added. This was beginning to be interesting.

What would he work on next? He said, he did not know. And where would he find his money? He smiled. Said, he needed just enough to survive. He was going to paint. And was into some natural farming just understanding nature and using his abilities to to her rhythm he said. All self-taught, he added, like sand art. He had seen it somewhere and was curious about it. Experimented on his own, used the right sand, set up the system of lights etc., and practiced it till he got it right. The flourish of his hand was an added style but it did not start there, he said in all modesty. All that his mind conceived that his hands produced.

He was into writing. Had written a book in Telugu. English translation was coming up, he said. The book was about ‘nothingness.’ He was born into a rich family that lost all its wealth when he was 12 years old. They just about survived in a servant’s quarters of their jagir. With a broad grin he said, “My parents gave me nothing.” And that was a boon. He did not have to hanker after money. He loved his dog Dolly, who was his only possession. He learnt a lot from her. He had spent four years of his life doing nothing. Just nothing. Said to his mother, if you can feed Dolly and not expect anything from her, I expected the same from her. His mother just smiled. This nothingness helped him to meditate on life and what he wanted – just be.

What would he work on? He said, he would do something that captivated his mind. We often mix work and value. Work and pay is what plays in our mind. Say, a painting. That was not work! And yet when we purchase it, it would be called a ‘work’ of art. To him it was just an avenue to allow him to ‘be.’ Work, he said, made it look laborious. Enjoy what you do, and it will no longer be work. Experiment with a curious mind and it will no longer be work. Dwell into your being, and work will no longer be onerous. Express yourself and in your fullest freedom, in what you do, and that would not be work.

His parents gave him nothing. And that was far more than something. He gave me nothing and yet something. Follow your passion, beyond the template of success, and satisfaction follows. Pursue your dreams to the road less travelled and you will discover your edge. KR is actually an aspiring engineer from JNTU, loses way, discovers himself, and becomes a celebrated artist in perhaps the most unconventional medium - sand! KR is India’s foremost sand artist today. Travel broadens the mind, they say!

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