When the road is lonely, sans the dirt, the thorns, the lightning and
Sans even the enemy’s fiery glare, the roaring army and
The check-mate, in such a land how do you walk without falling
Twice, thrice as if you are papier mache made, a smattering
Of vague profoundness, uniqueness, an idea of truth,
But unsure yet conforming like an uncouth.
Then, at last, thank god, it becomes foggy, and you stop
Keen-eyed you look, broadening the vision, reaching atop
A cliff overlooking a valley, smoky where it rests.
This journey afresh, towards a calling, arrests
Your mind and soul; finally, meeting the master, humbly you bow,
And that is lesson one, just so you know.
Practise patiently, practise patience, and o warrior
Gently turn your karate hands into morning sunlight carrier,
For those who live in the dark wake up late
With a grudge against the sun and zero tolerance to wait
For an old answer.
Gichin Funakoshi, founder of the Shotokan style of Karate, presented a martial arts philosophy that focused on perfecting the character of an individual. He believed that the karate practitioner should –
“purge oneself of selfish and evil thoughts… for only with a clear mind and conscience can the practitioner understand the knowledge which he receives. Funakoshi did not consider it unusual for a devotee to use Karate in a real physical confrontation no more than perhaps once in a lifetime. He stated that Karate practitioners must never be easily drawn into a fight.”
Karate-do Kyohan – The Master Text by Gichin Funakoshi
Karate then is a fine practice to live by, a practice that gives us clarity to turn the lost papier mache mind into a strong sunlight carrier.
Read more about our magical sun in the following short posts –
Dancing and chirping, posing, frolicking, a bird –now on this branch, now on that – living in Godard’s city in black and white 1957, knows not the language and yet doubts Patrick. And rightly so for that philanderer never hesitates; quick-witted, he charms the ladies into believing him and his stories and “well, it is just a coffee date”, he says casually.
Only later do they find – Charlotte and Veronique – why All the Boys Are Called Patrick, because they were talking about the same Patrick, that is why, and look here he goes, in a taxi, with another beauty.
The birdie dares and continues living while in Godard’s city in three back-to-back years – ’64,’65,’66 – the voices – twice in black and white and once in colour – speak the language of simultaneity… and of confusion, surplus, discrimination… expressing it through every medium, especially the medium called love.
Just see, simultaneously in love, out of love, whimsically, the next moment knowingly, executing the plan and fate’s execution, the Band of Outsiders – Arthur, Odile, Franz – dancing the Madison dance, breaking the Louvre record, firing gunshots, breakaway… winning and losing simultaneously.
Dance ‘the Madison dance’ along with the trio –
The Louvre record–
And meet the fool, Pierrot the Fool, who runs away in the search of and is chased by meaning. Along with his ex-girlfriend, Marianne, he protects everything new that he has accepted and acts, confidently and in confusion simultaneously.
Poor Pierrot’s search ends, finally, it does; he finds, though quite late, that he was wrong about Marianne and right about the bomb. But as said before, he was so late that… dhamaka!!!
Next year, in Godard city, the questions ‘he’ asked ‘her’ and the questions ‘she’ asked ‘him’ were all documented; the answers were young, naïve and in late teens and early twenties. Fun and spirit jarred the running time.
A singer, her two girlfriends, a lover, his journalist friend, elections, peace in Vietnam and everything in fashion voted in the favour of 1966 and against each other.
Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language (Adieu au Langage), a 3D essay film is a mind-boggling experiment.
Speaking about all that we encounter in life – through a car’s windshield, superimposed images, from a stray dog’s POV, in the colour red, rose red – the narrator speculates, maybe, regarding the dearth of something crucial at the centre and our unobservant impatient nature.
Maybe it shows also the fast culture that admires and nurtures weak concentration. Maybe we have missed the train… but then we can always walk if we remember how to that is.
The fun part is that ‘adieu’ in some parts of Switzerland where French is spoken, the parts where the film was shot, may mean both goodbye and hello.
Godard’s Paris, the year 1960; a criminal, Michel, is absconding and in love with Patricia. The boulevards, narrow lanes, tricky corners, buildings, stairs, doors, rooms, windows are together mocking – in black and white – the seriousness attached to delayed decisions, and also, questioning the pettiness shown towards whims.
Before becoming a news headline, Michel lives a simple life of a goon with a free future in vision and a blurry present; blurry but sweet and tender, like a half-dream seen in a half-sleepy state.
Patricia, an aspirer, a daydreamer, not a native, asks a lot of questions –
“Have you been to Monte Carlo?”“No, Marseilles.”
“What is a horoscope?”“Horoscope? The Future. I wanna know the future. Don’t you?” “Sure.”
“Why are you so sad?”“Because I am.”“That’s silly.”
“What would you choose between grief and nothing?” “Grief is stupid. I’d choose nothing. It’s no better, but grief is a compromise. You have to go for all or nothing. I know that now.”
“What is your greatest ambition in life?” “To become immortal… and then die.”
See, she asks such questions and gets such replies from Michel and others, like Parvulesco, the French writer/ philosopher she interviews in the film. Not always coherent and never definite, the answers make Patricia smile.
The car, the coffee, the cigarette, the smoke, the sprint, the bullet gradually push Michel and Patricia to either take a decision or act whimsically.
They do both – a decision is made, a whim wins over – but the timing and consequences differ. The only similarity is that they both make a news headline-worthy move!
A simplified trailer of a mosaic film –
A simple storyline that Godard twisted and moulded anew every day before shooting, Breathless’ distinctive visual style, editing, character portrayal and life-like quirky humour made it one of the leading films of the metamorphic French New Wave cinema.
The film’s originality and unique construction, after so many eras, continue to reform the cinema.
Experimenting, exploring, challenging fearlessly, Jean-Luc Godard postulated, presented and celebrated a new film philosophy; trying to build a bond with the viewer, his films demand attention, awareness especially if a political joke is being shared or if lovers are looking London talking Tokyo or if life is shown getting a speeding ticket or if an absurd gesture appears twice and the viewer tries to copy just for fun…
“Au revoir, à la prochaine”, said the bird in French i.e. ‘goodbye, until next time’, for the bird has subscribed to an OTT platform where some of Godard’s films are streaming.
Cinema lovers, what’s the time?
Time to imitate Michel’s gesture from ‘Breathless’ where he is shown imitating his favourite American actor, Humphrey Bogart…
Translation – Do not delay when planning to do something good, but when inclining towards the opposite, think twice.
Contemplation is good and needed. Action is better and a must.
Plans in a potli-mind take time to come out, yes, for they are grand ones, created meticulously, weaved with love.
Inspired thoughts build this glass minar with intricate designs, colours of hope and success and appreciation and a little bit of all that is magical in this universe. We fly high when planning in a potli-mind.
Now how to fabricate such a tall glass minar in reality? Where to start from? How do we know if the time is right?
And what about all the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’? Oh, and our dominating ‘know-it-all self’ that loves to put a stamp on every new thought, issuing summons, calling the poor thought a fraud, out-of-our-league or an impossibility, come what may?
Or worse, comparing it with the giant called the OTHERS?
Maybe this is the moment to tell yourself, shubhasya shighram, why wait to do something good.
Maybe this is the time to take the first step towards that glass minar, an overwhelming act it may feel at the beginning, but by the end, whatever the result is, we get enriched, we understand the rotating world and our bumbling selves a little better.
What a brilliant mantra then, a pocket sized mantra!
So, my friend, go ahead with that plan… because shubhasya shighram, shighram shighram.
Thinking… the activity of using our mind to consider something; the process of using our mind to understand matters, make judgments and solve problems… that is what the dictionary says and says more and then sites many lovely examples:
“I had to do some quick thinking.”
“She explained the thinking behind the campaign.”
“Thinking, for me, is hard work!”
Our mind, coloured by a plethora of this and that, happy and sad, a sea of information, thinks in isolation, yet always a part of the collective unconscious. And how wonderful is it that this tinted mind, nevertheless, is fully capable to create something novel.
The thinking mind turns the wheel, knitting the society tighter. The juggernaut of sociocultural norms, in turn, fabricates the yarn for such a mind.
Avicenna or Ibn Sina (980 AD – 1037) was a physician, philosopher, astronomer, theologian, poet – a polymath – who greatly contributed to the Islamic Golden age. His book Al Qanun fi al Tibb or The Canon of Medicine, a medical encyclopedia, was studied as a textbook for medical education in many universities, also in Europe, up till the 17th Century.
Philosophical encyclopedias like Kitab al Shifa or The Book Healing and Kitab al-Isharat wa alTanbihat or The Book of Directive and Remarks presented Avicenna’s take on the Aristotelian and Platonian philosophy through the lens of an Islamic theologian.
A well-known physician, Avicenna got support from most of the rulers of his time – some made him a vizir or an advisor in their court – and the opportunity to access the royal library. Highly influenced by Aristotle, Avicenna also disagreed with the Greek polymath on many points.
One of us must suppose that he was just created at a stroke, fully developed and perfectly formed but with his vision shrouded from perceiving all external objects – created floating in the air or in the space, not buffeted by any perceptible current of the air that supports him, his limbs separated and kept out of contact with one another, so that they do not feel each other. Then let the subject consider whether he would affirm the existence of his self. There is no doubt that he would affirm his own existence, although not affirming the reality of any of his limbs or inner organs, his bowels, or heart or brain or any external thing. Indeed he would affirm the existence of this self of his while not affirming that it had any length, breadth or depth. And if it were possible for him in such a state to imagine a hand or any other organ, he would not imagine it to be a part of himself or a condition of his existence.
While this blogger will definitely take a lot of time to grasp these theories in entirety, she would like to appreciate the art of thinking that moulds the world in such a steady and grandiose manner.
The art of thinking, in which we participate daily and, most importantly, in the times of despair, is running the show as we then stand face to face our true being and raise questions, refute the botched theory and create a new one.
Avicenna wrote the floating/ flying man argument when imprisoned for around four months as a result of a political debacle – an argument that was later termed weak by the other thinkers.
But this is how the thinking mind works, it continues to question, argue and turn the wheel.
So after I watched Godard’s Pierrot Le Fou I went for an evening walk with a question in my mind.
Why did Marianne call him Pierrot? I left without an answer.
The Poster of Pierrot Le Fou, a film by Jean-Luc Godard
It was getting dark as slowly the fog from the mountains was covering the valley from all the sides. The clouds made a thundering noise at some distance. It was surely going to rain and I still didn’t take any umbrella.
The two dogs with me were extremely excited, they rarely worry. Rain or not, they are always up for a walk.
I have a habit of calling them not by their names. Funny, they always wag their tails. I guess I call them so because of what their personalities reflect as a dog.
Anyway, Pierrot Le Fou…what a ride! From eccentricity to understanding it, from the society to clashing with it, from love to killing it, from life to getting killed. It was about Pierrot…a single individual and the incidents that occur one after the other in his life.
Criss-cross, criss-cross we climbed down the mountain. My mind was quietly dealing with the same question – why Pierrot?
Was it because of his personality, did Marianne know him more than he knew himself?
It seems so, in fact, he was aware about it but was reluctant to accept this fact and that’s why he reminded her each time she called him Pierrot that his name is Ferdinand not Pierrot.
Suddenly, as I was busy thinking and talking at the same time, it started drizzling. We decided to go back. The dogs were as happy to return as they were when we left the house.
I started running and so did the dogs, it was raining heavily now. Climbing a mountain is tough. I was short of air soon and I stopped to get some.
The dogs also stopped, we were getting wet. Breathe, breathe, I told myself and started walking briskly. And then when the cool fog was all around and my nose felt very icy, the question in my mind escaped.
Panting heavily, trying to catch up with the two dogs, I felt truly in the moment…I was in the present.
As if someone was behind me with a gun, I ran so fast. The dogs were running next to me. It was downhill now and we increased our speed. ‘Thundering typhoons, run, run, run!’
I am sure about one thing, Marianne didn’t lie when she called him Pierrot. She was being honest with him.
But I don’t blame Pierrot either. After all, he was busy reading and contemplating all the time. Someone’s philosophy ruled him.
Pierrot, busy reading.
This is what he was reading.
We reached home, wet. I was smiling. I sat on the chair and looked at the view. The young tree in front, with green leaves, was playing ‘raindrops’ tune. I listened.
Then I felt that I know the answer to the question, finally, but couldn’t put it in words.
Oh! I remember one word though – emotions.
When choosing my flower’s colour /
Blindly I pick all – the sun decides /
Which one suits me more.
A storyteller, following the ancient tradition of cave chroniclers, standing in vrikshasana (the tree pose) on a hill top (it is sunny, but windy), breathing in and out stories (relishing it all, but at times overwhelmed), declares animatedly that she will continue to – tell stories, share rare story gems, and connect with the pacy universe while also keeping the website ad-free.
Big thanks to my readers. Stay tuned!
Also, a humble request to the new subscribers to check the spam folder after subscribing. Silly (but necessary) confirmation emails often land there instead of the bright inboxes. Merci!
Chiming Stories (formerly Home Chimes)
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Gabbeh, the 1996 film, is a simple tale of a gipsy girl, her clan and the way their life goes on. Unfolding beautifully just like an artist painting a canvas, Gabbeh quietly touches the grand questions.
Godard… Breathless and Alive
A Tribute to Jean-Luc Godard, the Film Philologist who Reinvented Cinema.
Arthdal Chronicles is a South Korean fantasy drama TV series that takes us back to the Bronze Age in a mythical land named Arth, where different human species and tribes struggle to be on the top of the power pyramid.
Yes fly! For walking on the second track is dull and usual, but dreaming high, high, high requires tools. Tools like the right pair of shoes, a chirpy, gritty soul that eats butter-jam dreams, a soul that drinks milky-milky creams.
Universe’s a Disciplined Place
Silver cascade shimmering the night sky, music to the waves and surreal beauty to the eyes, the Moon loves the art of discipline.
It may be difficult to believe for the Moon’s splendour defies time, it stupefies the clock, it follows the path of a dreamer, but how could this be possible if the Moon knew not discipline?