In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing. — Oscar Wilde
STILL IN USE: A technique so old, it could be its own mother!
It was one of those hot Calcutta mornings . . .
Another one of those hot Calcutta mornings . . .
As hot as only Calcutta knows its mornings . . .
So hot that they can only be called ‘Calcutta mornings’ . . .
On that specific morning, attending the silkscreen workshop in the courtyard of the Fine Arts Gallery and Seagull School of Publishing became much harsher a task than usual, almost an enterprise . . .
As we have all surely experienced, life can be quite unjust at times! But it is only when we are faced with characters such as Ronnie Gupta that we realize the extent of the injustice perpetrated on the human race . . .
That said, let us try to find an answer to a few banal questions, such as: Why is it that, in Her infinite wisdom, God Herself time and again decides to distribute all the skills at Her disposal only to a few—therefore making them perennially content with what they have—and turns the rest of humanity into mere spectators, perhaps ‘granting’ us better seats (or in some cases even a main role) next time?
What makes me absolutely furious is the fact that the same few, not entirely content with having inherited all the skills and merits one could possibly wish for in this world, perpetually tend to materialize in front of our very eyes!
Do these people have no sense of shame? Did the creator also free them of that burden? Or am I wrong in assuming that all of us common mortals have experienced that deep and perennial feeling of inadequacy since the very first steps we took when we started our journey on this planet?
And then . . .
On that hot Calcutta morning . . .
There he stands . . .
Reminding us of all our human shortcomings . . .
Ronnie Gupta’s incomparable skills and expertise—I mean, the guy reckons the nylon mesh size on a given screen just by holding it up against the light—are all there in front of you to make you understand that something in your karma must have gone terribly wrong, probably right from the start! He makes sure that you experience this feeling repeatedly as he displays the surgical precision required for this art, and his knowledge of several fields including photography, chemistry, surgery, etc.
Thus, because I am terribly frustrated by the skills involved—skills that have evaded me since the very day of my birth—I shall not undertake the attempt of describing the process involved in silkscreen printing, but would rather validate God’s motives in making us feel incomplete, and therefore inevitably frustrated and useless.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not a hater, I am just frustrated! I think there are two main kinds of human beings on this planet: the ones that are constantly surrounded by idiots, and the ones who, despite various attempts to escape, are constantly surrounded by themselves . . .