Monday, 3 September 2012

My Lesson On a Slate

Minimalist Lifestyle

My Lesson On a Slate | Painted Poem by Remigius de Souza, Mumbai

My lesson on slate

The mighty emperor the builder
of the famous Taj Mahal the wonder
may have died many deaths in confines
of the Cell by his conscience poorer.

A white slate-pencil that I newly possessed
Dipped in turmeric paste with childish zest
I write and my slate glowed like star-studded night
I was the richest kid barefoot.

Remigius de Souza (22-08-2003)

Now that Slate has vanished from primary schools in India, what about learning to write? We are in Modern Times (Recall movie by Charlie Chaplin by that name)! Since then we missed something.
I began learning letters–numbers on slate in primary school at my native village in Konkan.
Important aspect of this learning is: 'Write a Lesson and Wipe it. And Begin Again'. This action goes on and on.

Rangoli on city pavement in Mumbai
 It is like, inscribing Rangoli – Alpana – Kolam, every morning on freshly cow-dung-washed floor in front of the entrance of an abode. Millions of Indian women go through this ritual daily, though they may be illiterate to this date. Truly, this is an ancient Land Art. It is said, they draw Cosmic Energy by this ritual art: Believe it or not.
However, I do believe, looking at their sufferings, hard work, endurance and tolerance through all adversities, injustice... created / caused by the male-dominated society and the dogmatic Agencies.

It's like, a farmer who sows and in time harvests the crop (±), and prepares for the next.
It's like, Mom or maid cooks, after feeding the family, cleans the utensils and prepares for the next meal.
It's like, a sculptor who makes idols of Ganesha, Gauri, Durga etc. year after year; the faithful worship and immerse the idols, year after year.
It's like, sing a song and it is over. Sing the same song again but it is never the same! So also it is with dance.
Kabir is illiterate, hence illiterate people (not emperors, Kabir is not patronized by State) memorize his songs, for centuries: That is minimalist.
Emperors or Power-holders build monuments in marble, or in coins, or in history books to keep their memory alive, but in vain.

In writing on a slate, we neither identify with ‘learning – unlearning’ nor ‘writing’. We don't glorify writing by making it a monument.
Where do we go from here?

(This poem was a prelude to my lecture, or rather a conversation with the students of architecture on ‘Minimalist Architecture’ in 2003 at Mumbai. I think it is better to give example rather definitions.)

Remigius de Souza
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© Remigius de Souza. All rights reserved.

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