Friday, May 4, 2018

The Poetic Poor

One of the best part about being in the communications business is the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with people from different walks of lives, sometimes as part of consumer research, at other times during business briefing sessions and on some occasions, heart-to-heart chats with clients, colleagues, co-passengers, fellow travelers and total strangers.
I have come to realize that poorer the people, more lyrical and philosophical is their outlook to life. At the end of the dialogue, I have always returned, greatly moved by their stoicism and enriched by their language which is rich with poetry and metaphor, mostly original and always deeply touching.
At other times, they provide references of art and draw parallels from it to their lives. Where do they find access to such deep thought? Moreover, how are they able to interpret it so beautifully? To me, it's been a gentle reminder that formal education is neither a barrier not an advantage to developing an articulate and empathetic perspective.
On the other hand, the wealthier the individual, the more concise and to-the-point are the answers with zilch references to art. Almost as if referring to poetry, literature and art are a weakness. Any references given are 'practical' ones. It's as though success in life is dependent on how well one manages the giving and taking of stuff: Give less and take more, that's success! And emotions, poetry, words could well well become expense if they're begun to be valued. So listen to it, or watch it with disdain, then discard it as being worthless.
I suppose that's why the greatest art, poetry and literature in India happens among the lowest strata of society. Pain swirls all around their world and this pain finds an outlet through local art forms that resonates with the community. Strangely, a poor artist has a huge audience which is sympathetic and understanding towards his cause even if no money comes his way.
On the other hand, the rich have no value for art unless it has appreciation potential. It's not art, it's real-estate or stock!
Not to be quoted not for its words but for its worth.

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