Maintaining a personal journal is a painstaking virtue. Images feed within one’s mind space tumbling one over the other, each eager and in a rush to be spilt out. The thought owner speeds up his otherwise ebbing pace of the ink dripping onto his diary’s page. He is equally browbeaten about missing to note of his day’s deeds and sentiments, lest his flow of thoughts supersedes his writing’s momentum. As a character inscribed into the pages of a diary, its penman is labelled to individual tags already. Some bestowed by societal norms while others acquired as a result of fusing a bunch of unsurveyed circumstances. A son, a spouse, father, an employee, a frequenter at the town market, a swimmer, a weekend chef amidst a handful others. Records under ‘Dear Diary’ swivel in a vortex of such quotidian tags regardless of anomalies. Well, almost.
When heaved by a catapult into a land of unfamiliarity, the process of self-discovery sets to a virgin. There is a chance, however slight that dreams translate into fidelity, aspirations glide within one’s grasp, and expectant titles become a reality. Everyone you cross by is at first a stranger, an acquaintance later. They’re convinced by ways you describe yourself. They accept your roles and titles the way you ask them to believe. Your conviction renders convention. More into yourself, than into those whom you confided in.
Early this week, I was at the Kochi Muziris Biennale. As a novice to travelling solo and visit all things artsy, there came across acquaintances with whom I shared a thing – our presence at the Biennale. Conversations made way, some small time and others relatively sizeable where I was asked of my profession. Here lay a chance to be an individual bearing a blank slate. Here was an opportunity to shed the past of my association with a multinational corporation and establish myself into the creative space. Because this is the dream. The best part of the approach was the credibility and validity of it all without dubious questions or scrupled reservations.
Discerning listeners’ expressions was an experience when I introduced myself as a writer. A few pairs of eyebrows shot up, their portrayal of encouragement and (in some cases) scepticism vulnerable. At times they knit together as a stretch of poorly done stitches as if the listener was not sure of what they’d heard. Some brows stayed neutral for they’d either come across a writer as often as they lunched, or had wanted to understand the extent of the craft’s practice. A conversation went on to confess if I did anything aside from writing. Pursuing my other interest of learning music invoked him to refer to me as an artist. La La Land, indeed.
These brief escapades of self-establishment were a great deal. Not because they were meant to boast but because they are someone’s unrealistic tags in their now. Itsy-bitsy conversations allowed them to believe in a world of interpreting their dream-like label(s) into a grounding fact. These were individual moments that reestablished someone’s conviction in that blindfolded leap of faith they had taken despite their world turning its back on them.
In the course of the Biennale, reaping perspectives and drawing parallels was irrefutable. But tripping over a self-actualised title – a surreal first.