This post is not regarding the art works that are in display in the 12 different venues in Fort Kochi alone. But these are some observations I did when I roamed around Fort Kochi. Particularly in the Mattanchery area on second day. The detailed posts about the different art works will follow in its own sweet time.
First things first. Malayalees seem to love Tamil movie stars. Vijay has a great fan following. Suriyah ( I hope I spelled that right), comes close in the race. In fact most of the theaters which is playing Malayalam thriller Ezra manages to run two shows of Singham 3. And Chennai saw Premam run for 200 days in multiplex. Some Bogan effect there.
The Biennale venues are spread across the Fort Kochi area. I was amazed by the planning. They had even renovated the pay and use toilet places. It looked good and fit to use. We were roaming around Mattanchery area which was teaming with tourists. In a street which could be easily mistaken as a street from Europe, the blaring sound of Bhairavaa songs in loud speaker reminded us that we were truly in India. We understood that the art work by the artists tell us that whatever the artist had in mind when they did it is a void point and only the interpretation of the viewer makes art what it is. That is when the art work itself forms a deeper connection with the person who views it. This train of thought was interrupted by the heaviness of my bladder (thanks to the numerous lemon sodas) and I walked towards the pay and use toilets. There was a song running as I paid. I thought the caretaker had some transistor. But it was not the case. The person who was using the western toilet was a music addict. And his choice of song was “Varlaam Varlaam Vaa”. The voice of the singer was competing to silence the other noises coming out of that closed door. I finished my business as soon as possible (There is no way to expedite the process, at least to my knowledge. Experts, feel free to comment). I heard the following lines when I exited
“Gotta handle this
How the hell did i end up here?”
That was not the end of it. I saw a couple walking towards the pay and use facility, hand in hand. They had put a song in loud speaker too. “Sendhooraaaa…. raa… Sernthe Selvom” I didn’t even want to imagine.
It was impossible to find a shop selling cigarettes in Mattanchery area. I had seen a girl with long Kurta smoking when we parked the vehicle. Thankfully, I saw her again. I followed her in hope of finding where she bought her cigarettes or even better bum a stick from her. She went in a shop just opposite to Student Biennale and bought a packet. I followed her and bought a cigarette for me. She was looking at me with full of suspicion. I let out a week smile and inhaled the smoke and filled my lungs.
“Why are you following me?” she abruptly asked. Her voice was coarse.
“I am.. I was… I was just looking for cigarette” I said, my voice quivering.
“So you followed a girl to see that”
“I saw you smoking today morning”
“And you immediately judged me”
“No.. I was.. It had been a long day and the guys I am with wouldn’t let me smoke”
“Is this how you find shops in your place too?”
“No. In my city, you can find a big board stating ‘Smoking is an offence’. It meas that they sell cigarettes. They are very thoughtful, you see”
“What do you do?”
“I am a writer. And you?”
“My art is in exhibit here” she pointed the student Biennale.
“Ah” I said.
“What? You think all female artists smoke right?”
“No.. I didn’t think anything. I just found it interesting”
“Why do you find it interesting?”
“As I said, I am a writer and I write about things I observe”
“So you are going to write about me smoking?”
I tentatively nodded and shook my head at the same time which came out as the famous trademark Indian head bob.
“And then there will be lot of people who would judge me. What kind of a man you are?”
“Ok. On second thoughts, I am not going to write about this whole episode?”
“What kind of writer are you, if you can’t write something you saw without any judgement” she angrily stomped her cigarette and walked away.
Since I have started writing anyway “A person who didn’t want to categorize himself/herself as a male/female, initiated an interesting conversation with me……”