How my perception tripped over a wooden log
Updated: Jul 3, 2019
It was one of those sultry summer evenings. Cyclone Vardah had desolated the streets of Chennai denuding the southern land of its beautiful flora. I was taking one of those mundane trips to home from work. En route on other usual days, I had gotten used to seeing this block of wood unfortunately orphaned from its mother tree, covered in mud and dirt. It had almost begun it's journey to rot. Lying there undisturbed, crying for help on the street sideways in the midst of a reputed bank building on one side and an IT company's office on the other. Incidentally, this wasn't my first observation of the wooden log. So far, I was one amongst those passersby who were least bothered by it's tumultuous existence. But this was an unusual evening - something about this piece of broken life kept my attention hooked onto it for a while. A strange aura of creativity had surrounded me. Within a jiffy, I had this eureka moment - bang came the thought, Yay! I am going to take this wooden log and give it a new life... Thus started a series of events giving this detached wooden piece a beautiful attachment.
Now, the biggest query running in my excited state of mind was how to transfer it from the road to my haven - my studio. Of course it was heavy. Its appearance spoke volumes of its weight. I suddenly remembered Gokul, my work space neighbor and a very good friend. It was very easy for me to explain the whole scenario to him as he happened to park his car nearby the area close to the wooden log's site. I finally managed to convince my ever-helping friend to take me along and help in getting this log picked up from the street. It occurred to me that it would be better having a permission in hand from a shopkeeper of the same locality as I was about to lay my bare hands on a public property. Gokul surprised me beyond words and deeds - while returning to my studio from a meeting, I saw this equally surprised log lying near the studio entrance balcony. Rather indebted with tears of joy I called Gokul and thanked him wholeheartedly. Next morning as I was excited to start my day, I noticed this wooden structure with thick layers of dirt and mud coupled with the rot created by termites. Alas! it had started wasting away. Still determined to succeed in my creative attempt, I decided to give it a good two days and clean it completely. I moved on with my routine tasks but observed a short while after that the log had been literally thrown away from outside of my studio to the terrace area, further dilapidating its condition. It was lying there next to some scrap stuff. I had some sort of an instinct telling me that this must have been the building owner's job. This thoroughly angered the artist in me. I replaced my anger with a logical thought - the owner would have thought it to be a item that is supposed to be discarded. Anyways with this rotten light pale tinge, this log appeared to be an inauspicious piece of hollow bone. My goodness! My perception changed within seconds and gave birth to an analogy - just like in a marriage by love, when we finally manage to be with someone we always wanted, the moment we experience their flaws and imperfections and the attitude of the society towards them, we start looking at them from the same imperfect point of view. How surprisingly, our conditioned mind and the society changes our perception. I wondered to myself, is this my love towards the wooden block? Is this how I should be respecting my creativity? Keeping my determination intact, I managed to move this log from the terrace back to my studio entrance. In spite of my then ill-health, I resumed my task and started cleaning it in bits and pieces. I steadily started seeing it regain its lost sheen. It was devoid of life but I could slowly see the magic unveil. By now, this log had found a permanent home inside the four walls of my studio. However, it still could not capture my heart fully. I gave it a space behind my entrance door where it was unable to catch anyone's attention - analogy - how sometimes an unlovely child, not liked by the society, is kept hidden behind by his parents - my conditioned perceptive mind, yet again! Not until a visitor in my studio chanced his gaze upon this piece of art and complimented me for my creative disposition, did I realize what I was waiting for - a likelihood of someone towards it that would eventually change my opinion of it's looks! This made me realize that irrespective of my mind's conditioning and opinions, I am making this exception and placing this log right at the front of my studio entrance so that anyone entering would have a good look at it. As days passed by, I did a bit of decoration onto this log - I happened to notice that when I was not hungry for its appreciation, compliments started pouring in just like that. I painted it and made it a part of my decorative candy corner. One eventful day, as fate would have it, the owner of the building where my studio was placed in, came to collect the monthly rent. With admiring eyes, he noticed this creative art-piece which he had once discarded heartlessly. He politely asked for a few candies placed atop this log :-)
This made me realize how creativity can change one's perception and point of view. How significant it is for us to be firm in our choices irrespective of folly of the crowd. Here, in these pictures, is my humble attempt at giving life to this once lifeless piece of wooden block. Hope this changes your perception as it has changed mine, too.