Many years ago I was a trainee in an event management company and was involved in a project promoting new upcoming artists, mostly singers and Indian fusion music bands. (During this time I had a privilege to meet and know band members from the now famous – Mrigya and Indian Ocean music bands). I used to drop into recording studios to participate in editing sessions, or sometimes to fix up dates, or collect audio CDs. During one such visit to an audio studio I met a young, handsome (and married) producer of audio albums for Punjabi pop artists (Remember, there was a time when Punjabi pop was a rage). He was very savvy and bright and instantly struck up a conversation with me as I waited on an errand.
Within some time I could notice that the young producer was definitely flirting with me, and I was uncomfortable because he had already mentioned that he was married. While I tried to get my errand wrapped up as soon as possible, Mr Producer continued to strike an impressive conversation, and finally came to the point and asked me out for a date. Taken aback, I told him that since he was married, he was definitely not on my list for having an evening out with. Matter ended at that point in time, but our paths continued to cross, and so did his persistence. Finally, I met him for lunch one day and decided to get things cleared up once and for all. Amusingly, at lunch, he came up with a very interesting observation, related to love, creativity and the artist’s muse. While, I look forward to the publication of my short story, The Muse, on January 4, 2008, in the collection of short stories by bloggers, titled, The Eleven, I reflect on the conversation I had with the talented producer. For the reader’s benefit, let’s give this producer a fictional name of Sameer – also the name of the protagonist of my short story.
“Being in love is one of the prerequisites of being on an artistic and creative high.” Was Sameer’s response on why he was seeking affection and alliance outside his marriage?
“Why not love within the marriage?” my innocent question.
“Love within marriage is staple, mature, available and often ridden more by responsibilities. It doesn’t have the zing or the passionate cravings of adolescent or forbidden love.” Pat came his response.
“What’s the difference?” I quipped because as an unmarried 23 year old, I imagined matrimonial love and bliss to be the penultimate soul-binding emotion.
“Love in marriage is almost mechanical, and there is hardly any fear of losing it. Clandestine love, very much like adolescent love is adrenalin-packed. Imagine the constant flurry of hearts, the desperation when one is not able to meet or talk, the intense emotion, attraction and affection, when one actually meets after making efforts to do so. The sudden twinge of the heart, the missed heart beat, the longing, the craving, the emotional upheaval, the sigh, the cry, the whisper – it’s the ultimate emotional drive that brings out the best of words and the greatest imagination alive.” He answered in mesmerizing tones.
I was quiet, because I was spellbound with his description of young, pure love.
“Have you ever noticed that the best artists, writers, singers, performers have been loners, single and almost always seeking a muse, a love that remained unfulfilled – be it the songs of Mira, or the movies of Gurudutt – all are surcharged with the desire for union with the beloved. Till the heart doesn’t burn and yearn for the one love of your life, your emotions cannot be fine-tuned to the ultimate creative frequency.”
“Maybe, you are right!” I conceded. I also felt that I was my creative best when solitude was merged with the desire to be loved and love in return.
Though Sameer had eloquently defended his need to be indulge in clandestine love affairs to keep the Muse alive, I of course, clearly steered away from getting involved with a married man. I slowly, lost touch with him and I am sure that he must have diverted his attention to some other girl. I can only hope that his marriage survived the test of time, and so did his creativity in the wake of requiring such a strong external impetus.
Why I recalled and wanted to talk about this conversation on my blog, is because today I realize that he was very true in his observations regarding creativity and the need to feel strongly about something or someone. Over the years, my own ability to emote and write with passion has also diminished. My best writings were at a time when I enjoyed solitude and had ample time to reflect on my desires, my needs and unfulfilled dreams. Today, when I am comfortable and snug in a homely environment, life seems to revolve around home loans, car loans, family obligations and the daily menu. There are still unfulfilled dreams and desires but most have been translated into frustration, and in some cases reluctant acceptance, but none have been strong enough to invoke poetic or creative writings. There was a time when a bus ride home meant thinking deeply and intensely about finer things of life and my own emotions; today a bus ride home is spent in wondering about what to cook for dinner, or how to handle the work pressure! Amidst the daily grind, I lost the daily bread of creativity, I lost my Muse.
I have been feeling very lost since some days because I desperately want to get back to creative writing, but I am running short of the required fuel, or the impetus. While being hopelessly (and sometimes unrequited) in love is definitely a potent impetus, I can see that in my life solitude, beautiful surroundings and soft music has been very instrumental in creating a creative aura or field around me. While a rigorous work schedule and a demanding family life has pushed away chances of solitude and quiet reflection, I am still hoping that I can find time in this New Year to relate to things of beauty and the rhythm of music. In 2009, I want to rediscover that part of me that was sensitive to the smallest of things that triggered strong emotions that could be translated onto paper. It is the year to rediscover my lost Muse! Till then, I remember, line from Robert Frost’s poem,
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”