Beneath the Veil


The  wise and wonderful typically grace my life through words and images. It has been  both a fortuitous  and propitious fairy god mother till date.

Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, had come to me in three forms: because Lizzie Bennet sang it in Pride and Prejudice, and because it was the song played by Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, and of course,  from the movie Amadeus. ( My daughters remind me that there is a Tom and Jerry special on Figaro too! Oh, yesss!)

There is something intriguingly interconnected herein- music and words and images.

Octavo Paz in his essay on Baudelaire as art critic, speaks on Analogy as the highest form of imagination, since it fuses analysis and synthesis, translation and creation..’It transforms communication into creation: what painting says without telling, turns into what music paints without painting, and what- without ever expressly mentioning it- the poetic word enunciates..’

He goes to explain what Baudelaire felt on listening to Wagner, specifically to the overture to Lohengrin. “.. Released from the fetters of gravity…in a solitude with an  immense horizon and a diffuse light; immensity with no integrity other than itself….then I conceived clearly the idea of a soul moving in a luminous atmosphere, an ecstasy composed of voluptuousness and knowledge.”


I get to explore two classic screenplays: Chinatown by Robert Towne and Kurt Luedtke’s Out of Africa. The latter  also gives me Mozart back.

‘ A woman can veil her face with a smile,’ is a quote attributed to Khalil Gibran.I imagine  the beautiful and tragic Evelyn  Cross in Chinatown and the luminous  and indomitable Baroness Blixen in Out of Africa . How very true in both the women.

What is it that Paz wrote? “The painter translates the word into visual images; the critic is a poet who translates lines and colours into words. The artist is the universal translator. True, that translation is transmutation…”

The dots get interconnected. I am awed by the Grace.


On Liars, Choices, and Octavio Paz

” …the art of levitation, the loss of gravity, the loss of seriousness. Remedios laughs, but her laughter echoes in another world.
Space is not an expanse, but a magnet attracting appearances… a woman’s hair, the strings of a harp, the sun’s rays streaming down..the strings of a guitar.. the world seen as music: listen to Remedios’s lines: the secret theme of her work- harmony, lost equality..”

Ocatavio Paz ( Remidios Varo’s Appearances and Disappearances)


The art of seeing rot:

I am feeling vaguely amused by life in general. I see so many people who specialize in seeing rot. They live  in a self created lie.

Gary Zukav wrote, that at all moments, all of us are busy starring in leading roles in our own self created movie scripts. Some of us are playing victims, some heroes, some villains, some judges, some dementors , serpents, tigers, cry babies  etc etc..And thus , we create our own reality.

If so, how does evil happen ?  Because that person has been focusing on evil? Literally seeking the rot?  A magnet attracting the appearance of evil? That person being always on the look out for faults and negativities and that insidious habit setting in as a rot within?


So we talk, my daughter and I. On Remedios and magic and rot and life and a whole lot of related stuff. She is growing up in a hard world- where she sees money and choices around money dictating many pathetic lives.

She : Why do people lie? Lie pathologically?

Me: Because it is the easiest thing in the world. They get away with it most often than not. But sometimes, they get caught and discredited. For life.

She: What do people get out of that?

Me: A temporary victory. Or so they think. Actually they lose so much. They are pathetic fools to deceive themselves with such victories.

She: What reveals a man’s/woman’s true character?

Me: Well, Lincoln said, try giving him/her power. I would say, try putting him/her in a crisis. Watch what they do. If they lie, evade, escape, choose evil, they are pathetic. If they see the truth and choose graceful ways of living, they are, let me put it- good.

She: Why do we fall in love?

Me: Ahhhh..good question. In my teenage, I fell for outward appearance of goodness. In my youth, I fell for outward appearance of coolness. In my middle age, I have fallen for goodness and coolness. The appearances vanished!

She: Why do we fall out of love?

Me: Because, we ‘see’ finally. Sight is a tremendous gift, dear. You see the rot and get the hell out. Or you see how this person is pulling you down the morass of his own personal evil, and you choose to walk away. Or you see how someone is using you for his selfish interests and say, No, Thank you. Enough.

She: Why do certain people believe that only their world view is correct?

Me: Because they are blind to other world views. They are , metaphorically speaking, short sighted.

She: What is courage, ma?

Me: Daring to say, I will live with my head held high. I will be happy. I will be successful in my own way. I choose to ignore the path of evil and pain. I will actualise my potential. And daring to say that, when there are those who live to destroy you. Like the acid throwers on women and kids. In truth, life has lot of cowards in the guise of liars and symbolic acid throwers who will attack obliquely, because- they cannot suffer your happiness, your freedom, your joy.They cannot believe that you actually got away! Have compassion dear. Such people are their own worst enemies. That is punishment enough. Lilies that fester, smell far worse than weeds. But ultimately, triumph is a simple word based on honesty and courage. Not on control games and lies. That is why the world loves Maya Angelou and detests Pol Pot and Co.