Most Of Your Reasons For Not Pursuing Art And Literature Might Be Just Excuses


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In couple of previous articles, I have touched on the subject of role of arts in our lives and society. How is art capable of bringing about that change within ourselves is a subject for psychological and philosophical scrutiny. We will discuss it in detail some other time. It is generally assumed that in order to pursue art, one requires financial security and time. Having spent four decades actively pursuing arts, two decades science, and one decade languages, today I sincerely believe that that is not the case.

As for time, don’t you think it is wonderful that we almost always manage to find time to do things we love doing? For example, I have on my shelf a book by J. Krishnamurti which is merely 350 pages long. And I have been planning to read it since 2006! If someone asks me, then I have a ready excuse — “What to do, don’t have time, very busy”! It is another matter that I finished first two volumes of Sharadindu Omnibus, constituting the complete stories of Byomkesh Bakshi, which is about 1200 pages long within two months, and two more volumes in a month and a half. I read all Miss Marple novels by Agatha Christie in one year. So where did I find the time? It was always there, but somehow I was ignoring it. I enjoyed these books so much — in fact I am still head over heel in love with Sharadindu — that I stopped chatting with online friends, did not log in to Facebook for days, stopped going to canteen ‘just for a cup of tea’, avoided office gossips and suckers altogether. To tell you the truth, how I managed to find that time is a mystery for me also. Time and again people ask me how I am able to manage so many occupations and interests. I always tell them that it is easy when you love something. Just kill one monster YouTube and its brother the great idiot box, and you can easily save enormous amount of time, and also get peace of mind as an added bonus. Today you can also add WhatsApp to this list. Just plug the holes, dear. Most of the activities that we indulge in through the course of the day neither bring us lasting happiness, nor satisfaction, nor help us grow or make progress in any way.

On the same lines, lack of financial support is also a myth. One could even call it as finances and support. One often complains how there is nobody to seek guidance from. Believe me, as you plan to pursue an interest sincerely, genuinely and passionately, then you would definitely find all guidance and support that you require. In fact, as it was with time, same way it is for support also — you never know how much support is scattered around you, only you are ignoring it. When you start taking interest, only then you realise the existence of that support. One colleague complained me how he wants to learn parallel programming, but there is nobody to seek guidance from. I took the names of 6 individuals in our institute who were proficient in the skill and could always be sought for guidance. He retorted, ‘What man, they never tell.’ I replied back, ‘Did you ever ask? How can you expect them to come to you and offer their help? You have to go and seek their guidance, don’t you?’

Day after day, we come across people who are giving up reading printed books and switching over to e-book format only to free space that is otherwise occupied by printed books. These people either sell their books or donate them to library or simply give as gift to individuals. In institutions also, when people get transfer they are hesitant in carrying all the load of their books with them, and simply give away all their books at throw away prices or sometimes even for free. In addition, there are libraries and book clubs, where one can read any number of books for a meagre subscription fees, and second-hand book shops and kabadi markets where one can get very low cost versions of more expensive books. Even when such resources are not available, one can always borrow books, read them, and return in perfect condition. People are willing to exchange books, and the main reason if they are hesitant in lending books might be your past record of either not returning stuff, or returning it in poor condition.

I agree that certain streams of arts indeed require money, because the instruments and equipment are expensive. However, that is not so in all modes of art. Similarly though instrumental music is more expensive, such is not the case with vocal music or dance. Even then, if one is sincere in quest and wants to make a career out of it, there are scholarships available for study in arts and music. However, if one simply wants to keep it at the level of hobby or interest, then even that is not required. One could always join music groups and clubs and make use of the facilities they have.

The underlying argument is that, where there is a will, there is always a way. If you are interested, you will always find a way out. When you got married, you made space for your spouse in your life. When the new tiny creature arrived in your family, you sacrificed so many things to make way for it. In the same way, it is all about knowing what is important for you and what is not, keeping what is really important, and either throwing away what is not important, or simply letting it fall off by itself.

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