Oscar Wilde on art

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.

Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.

The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art. Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor’s craft is the type. All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless.

    -- Oscar Wilde
Preface to picture of Dorian Gray

Cote d’azur Part II



Initially when I arrived at Marseilles airport first thought was to dude lets explore this thing, after all this was only place I had heard about before barring Nice and Monte Carlo. Also the word was around that they have anointed Marseille as 2013 European capital of culture. Yet as it happened I moved to La Ciotat and it was just an tangential touchdown. Little did I know, yeah I know I tend to overuse this phrase, that I would get ample opportunity to explore this city.
It started with quest across the old city, La Paine ___ , only sad thing the instructions were in French. I somehow managed to use english and latin etymology. In France you would never fail to notice graffitti and coming from Singapore where you get caned for graffiti this was a true wah-lau moment for me !!
Too bad that I cant leave this post to be finished as photo essay, bloody technology upgrade to iOS 7, made me loose my pics. #Laments And all I have now is social media album and whatsapp. Nonetheless, #RegainsEnthusiasm , I decide to be unperturbed by these hiccups.

It was also awesome feeling to see catch Ulysses and his some twin brothers, <I wanna go to Dublin… on Joyce’s day >. The quest took longer than expected and left me drained with that sweet pain in legs, and yet I proceeded to newly opened Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM)  http://www.mucem.org/#.
Well it wasnt exactly a museum but more of architecture museum, made to likes of an old Mediterranean town. And voilà ! it felt like that. It offered majestic view of the vieux port and palace for Napoleon’s mistress across the small strait that ended in Mediterranean. And of-course the highest zenith in Marseille, Church the Notre-Dame de la Garde



Aix en Provence

They say that its city of fountains, well there were fountains at every square but…
The whole city had an aura of peace, and a long history dating back to 425 BC, no wonder its the capital of Provence. We happened to chance upon the saturday market, and it was great seeing folks coming in their station wagons and putting up temporary stalls. We reached bit late and most of the stalls were packing up. We proceeded to lively part of the Aix-en-provence, yes you guessed it right – old city !
I would have described the french crepe we had, but I think I can capitalize on it for another blog post. You see most of the time I am lacking ideas to jot down and travel gives you a lot to write about. So why not ?


2013-09-21 13.19.24
Baux en Provence
Hmmm….baux-en-Provence, pronounced ___ . The old gang turned up after initial “dude we were going to Cassis, we even got the boat reserved. ” But alas it was Aix-en-Provence and baux-en-provence. And I know no one is lamenting about Cassis now.
There was this castle on top of a hill, and it was a beginning to feel like a deja-vu after eze. But lo and behold, what do we see !! Trebuchet ! No fucking way, it’s a real trebuchet !! The feelign that age of empires fan would get seeing a real life Trebucher is undescriable. It was single nasty piece of weapon that sent shudder across opponent’s army.
-He has got swarm of Trebuchets, we are royally screwed.
And as if Trebucher wasnt enough we saw other weaponeries, (aaarghh my lost pics #Laments). The view from the top was uber and all we could see was farms which would produce, huile-de-olive ____
All hail the mightiest strategy multiplayer game of all times, Age of empires !!





Some more villages…
On our way back to Marseille aeroport, we had lot of time to kill, so why not explore adjoining areas. We were able to catch Calas-Cabries and Les Pennes Mirabeau, but nothing great about them to jot down. Calas had a small, like really small castle on top with a courtyard and in Les Pennes we did not even bother to get down.


 Marseille Aeroport

And then return flight from airport, and Starbucks did not offer free wi-fi, infact no wi-fi at all. Huh ! Managed on 20 mins of free airport wireless and half hearted attempt to change MAC ID for a renewed session, and 20 minutes are kinda enough for chatting on viber/whatsapp/gTalk.  How ubiquitous communication has become in this age (:

Cote d’azur – Part I

Although I am not aiming this blog to be a travel blog, yet there are already quite a few travel posts so heck with it. Let logic prevail.
Bonjour !
So lets start with …hmmm…either I stick to Asia or move across seas to azur water of Mediterranean. Chronologically Asia should come first but heck !!

  • Marseille aeroport


  • La Ciotat

To be covered later …

  • Cannes 

Nay I did not cover Cannes (!!), for obvious commercial reasons.

– Show me French countryside, I had enough of urban landscapes in Asia.

But then manged to send a cinephile friend a postcard, talk of vicarious deeds…


  • Antibes

Actually I did not expect, Antibes (pronounced Awn-teeb) to be that much of touristy affair, but surprisingly it was. Old Antibes, yeah there is always an old city in French riviera. And still I am still rationalizing that why I skipped Musee Picasso. #Laments
Frankly speaking,( umm writing) I was lying around on my fat ass, chatting around, sipping wine, relishing rava idle (!!)  for the hospitality was great, I ain’t complaining.


  • Juan les Pins

Pronounced (Joo-Ahn … Not Juan). Even this will fall under great hospitality, but me and AOE fan managed around the old city in a car. But the beach was awesome, and stony, and windy, and panoramic and with possibility of scuba diving,  the last part ‘died a wet death’, time was not very keen on waiting for me.


Ohh it had a library named after Albert Camus.


  • Nice 

Well to sum it up, Nice was nice 😉
I was beginning to see the pattern for cote d’azur. There is impossible blue Mediterranean, a high vantage point, chateau de Nice in this case, and then the major tourist attraction, the old city !!
the coastline was pretty pretty (okay…no more stupid wordplays), and yeah how could I miss that french cuisine. And today even after 3 weeks of gorging, binging and gluttony, if I managed to loose weight, its worth mentioning isnt it ?
there was this Socca, italian dish which was huile d’olive version of desi besan ka chila, which by the way was sunday special dish during school days. And then these folks made me eat Lebanese, not that I am lamenting for there was awesome poulet___, viva la chicken !!



Tyranny has a witness !!

Tyranny has a witnessWhile I was passing through Arab street, I caught upon this sticker on a mobike. It was captivating enough, for my iPhone to come out and ‘click’. Little did I know it would turn out to be Mr. Shephard Fairey creation.

So here is desc., http://www.obeygiant.com/prints/tyranny-has-a-witness

I believe in using my art to advocate for human rights, so working with Human Rights Watch to further their goals is an honor and ideal collaboration for me. I’m very excited about this image because I feel it promotes the idea that a few courageous people can stand up for what they think is right, and soon others will join them. There is power in every small action and cumulative power in numbers. “TYRANNY HAS A WITNESS” showcases the hope and determination needed to fight injustice and oppression.  – Shepard

“TYRANNY HAS A WITNESS” captures the spirit of the ‘Arab Spring’ and pays homage to people across the Middle East and North Africa who are engaged in a historic movement to end repressive rule by declaring their right to political freedom and accountable government.  Human Rights Watch’s long-standing presence in these regions has enabled the organization to report from inside the uprisings, capturing the tension and elation of citizens committed to challenging these oppressive regimes.  This artwork symbolizes the determination and vigilance necessary to bring about deep-rooted change.  A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Human Rights Watch organization.

And also which reminds me of an article where I covered Shepard Fairey


  • He Los Angeles based street artist, graphic designer and entrepreneur.

  • The artist shot to international fame with the presidential election campaign in 2008, specifically his iconic Obama “hope” poster, and has been making waves ever since, even on the shores of Singapore.

  • He is called today’s best known and most influential street artist.

  • Fairey created “Andre the giant has a posse” sticker campaign in back in 1989, when he was student at Rhode Island School of design

  • Fairey screen prints deploy standard palette of acrid red, yellowish white and black, giving the representative signature to his art.
  • The Obey Campaign can be called explained as an experiment in Phenomenology. The first aim of Phenomenology is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one’s environment. The OBEY campaign attempts to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the campaign and their relationship with their surroundings.

  • He has designed album covers for the black eyed peas, Smashing pumpkins and led zeppelin.

  • His clients include likes of Pepsi, Mozilla, Netscape

  • Recently Fairey launched obey clothing line, which sells his art on tees and accessories. You can get one at OBEY Tangs Playlab Orchard,OBEY Tangs Vivo city, Sup Clothing 34 Haji Lane

Shephard Fairey

Foreign native digressions

He was hesitant to go inside, it had started to get too nostalgic in there. A calm yet shrieking silence prevailed around post marriage ceremony, only challenged by the faint but constant hub dub of an electric generator. There were few cars coming and going , their harsh headlights tearing through the darkness. From his childhood days, he hated the lacklustre, the unceremonious wrapping up of an event. Guest departing, tents getting wrapped up , long haul trolleys taking away the furnitures and lights. The place which was teeming with laughs and smiles, of heavy perfumes and ittar, would be as desolate and quite as morgue.  He remembered that a similar sight would conjure up after college festivals and events.

– Probably thats what happens when one dies – packing up ! But as they say cest la vie (such is life).

But there was not much digression on cest-la-vie, for the latest blinding light was of his friend’s car. Thus ended his brief moment of epiphany, and thanks to apple’s smartphone ( and a pinch of right hemisphere), he saved some of it in words.

 Little did he know that ditto same feeling would impunge his first week  after his vacation in India. Singapore felt too dull, like a saltless cuisine , after his India trip. The hum-drum, the halla, the liveliness was in stark contrast to this nation’s systematic inertia. He missed his homeland.
Today :
The ennui at office reminded him to similar bored feeling during his school days. It was like revisiting the same monotonous routine after eons, yet he was able to pinpoint the same old ennui of school days.   The sad part was that everyone seemed oblivious to the fact , no one was complaining. May be it was classic case of stuck in ‘Maya’ as they describe in Hindu scriptures. But this corporate ‘maya’ was strangling him. A throbbing monotonicity was building up in his brain challenging him to ‘turn on, tune in and drop out’.
Rewind to 19 days back 
2 Feb
He was flummoxed at the ensuing crowd, and the majestic evening scenery at the vast banks of Ganges.  Although only 1 hour before he was proclaiming my gonna-be-atheist attitude to an old friend, yet the whole scenery of the Kumbh Mela captivated and enthralled him. He had read somewhere that Kumbh’s attendance exceeds over 50 millions devotees. !!
– Fucking big number!!
So far this vacation had been a calm composite one. He had expected India to surprise him after 13 months abroad, but it didn’t.  Things move too slow in this part of the world.  Only thing out of place was his initial  urge to get down from taxi and start dusting New Delhi’s flyover railings. The dust has been overwhelming. It took him some time to grow accustomed to Indian capital, and by the time he got down near Akshardham Temple, his original self had been returning. It was good to see advertisement hoardings in Hindi. Some familiar and some new faces on print ads. Someone reading this might reduce the feeling to oh-yet-another-foreign-return-banter. But truth has been told. Delhi had disappointed him lately, and it was his first time that he was more than glad to leave Delhi, without hanging around for few days.
Moving across towns and cities of Uttar Pradesh, which might as well be least developed state of India, with reins in hands of goons and dons, there seemed to be no respite in sight. Owing to recent happenings (read Delhi gang rape ) the Indian within him had been tortured, and was now raring to come out to do something. He was quickly shuffling through stacks of ideas to an extent that he had started romancing with an idea of writing civil services exams, but leaving the perfect-Singapore life needed some more weights on the scale.
The sun was high, and there was a some breeze that one encounters during winter end in India. It was serene and the flannel shirt provided a much needed sheer. His mind was largely blank, and he was enumerating an acquaintance he made in high-court-city of east UP. How he is pursuing a goal to become a IAS officer? To which came an expected reply, “it’s useless, the unlimited power corrupts the officers”.
14 Feb
Fast forward to Varanasi. The traffic was going berserk and random. It would have flabbergasted NNT. A particular gust of dust cloud blinded him beneath his rimmed glasses. He was recuperating with the dust, when a truck horn jolted him and responded with a cuss. In spite of all the bodily unpleasantness, his heart was at peace. His soul was at ease. It had been …some 395 days… since he had last came here, and he had missed these blaring horns… the humdrum, the liveliness… the random bovines on roads, and the extreme motion which would have looked like a vigrous brownian motion from a great height. Singapore seemed like a distant utopia, he read someone blaring out on Singaporeans, hating their kiasu spirit et al, in last month’s GQ issue.
“I should now really get that power goggles for driving here”, he thought, finally clearing the dust off his eyes.  (Btw still need to get hands on that last copy of his mother’s novel  “heat & dust”). A different feeling had dawned when he met his college friends after ages, few after what…5 years…his mind was like…dude is this it? But then by that time effects of Shiva’s Prasad also had started empowering his thinking.
Near Dasaswamedh ghat there was infinite queue of juntaa and faith,thanks to Kumbh mela. All for, ten seconds of ‘darshan’ of deity. Although having been brought up in the religious capital, logically his emotions were not justified. But few years away from this religious capital of India, had instilled seeds of doubt, rather questions  in his mind. Now he had started dissecting religious beliefs with a logical reasoning, and quite often they had been defeated with logic. Yet the faith is one thing which has defeated many atheists and non-believers. (And then ofcourse there was ongoing MahaKumbh)
Buying books at his favourite book store near Assi Ghat, he lamented yet another aspect being missed , the literary and artistic upper hand of the city. Being a bibliophile buying a book in ‘x’ dollars would fetch 4 books in equivalent INR , and much better ones than those available back in videsh…    (to be continued)

Tweets of a coffee ninja

I think I have been updating about how the caffeine is the new addiction for me.  (Caffeine addict )

These days I have been in coffee ninja training, and I have already accumulated a formidable collection in my quiver. I have now access to premium espressos, lungos and ristrettos. I have already started day dreaming about my life as a barista. Last year when I applied to starbucks, they rejected my application. (may be they didnt expected electrical engineer brewing coffee !), but now I can see some light on the distant horizon. Coffee Ninja !!

Other than having premium espressos I also have access to “kopi luwak”. Yeah it is one of the costliest coffee in world, sells at $60/cup or some 700 bucks a kg. But one has to taste it to get its flavor. Its splendid !

And since I just discovered how to embed tweets in wp…


Scuba Diving !!

Buoyed by water, he can fly in any direction-up, down, sideways-by merely flipping his hand. Under water, man becomes an archangel.”

“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to the earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface, and he is free.” –Jacques Cousteau

Alright I did not make my bucket list on paper, but if I would have made one then scuba diving would be there for sure. Little did I know that s.diving will become the focus of my tropical vacation. We, at least I, went without much expectations. After paying around 100 bucks for 30 minutes underwater, I thought it was lil bit too much. Once we donned dry suit for diving, and diving mask then I started feeling some rush of blood to the head. Also blame it my hypermetropia  with 5.5D ,
-I was like dude am gonna see nothing in there without my glasses.
And in answer came diving mask with power lens.
-Wo Wo !! Lets do this boys
We jumped onto the motor boat, with dry suits, scuba fins (which made me look like merman from He-man series). Once the diving guide showed us diving signals and ear equalization technique, we went in open sea for training. The weight of gas cylinders was overwhelming , but slowly and slowly the acclimatization period got expired.

But soon all this enthusiasm flew away, like a soul from mortal body. To tell the truth, it was shit scary in the beginning, breathing underwater with the mouth piece !!(thanks to wiki, now I know its name – diving regulator) with weight belt tied around your waist. Also the dive fin took some time to get acclimatized to.
And lo ! I was in sea amid corals and fishes, frantically breathing through diving regulator, biting hard into the mouthpiece, lest it goes out of my mouth.
I clearly understood what Gonzalo (The tempest )meant when he said ‘The wills above be done! but I would fain die a dry death.’
I was still overwhelmed with the bubble , with the sea-grass and coral reefs down below  when diver handed me bread slices to spread around in water, it was then that I was surrounded by fishes – this being the moment of epiphany. It was soothing and heartening at the same time , and then I realised dude this is it !! Everything went on perfect after that.

I think poetry of Farhan , from zindagi na milegi dobara summarises is pretty well. I should/would have written one for myself if I had the solace and pen and paper, right after dive. (Although I would say it wasn’t this intense )

पिघले नीलम सा बहता हुआ येह समा
नीली नीली सी खामोशियाँ
ना कहीं है ज़मीन, ना कहीं आसमान
सरसराती हुयी टहनियाँ, पट्टियां
केह रही है की बस एक तुम हो यहाँ
सिर्फ मैं हूँ मेरी सांसें हैं और मेरी धडकनें
ऐसी गहराइयाँ , ऐसी  तनहाइयाँ
और मैं सिर्फ मैं
अपने होने पे मुझको यकीन आ   गया

Now that I have read through scuba diving literature and learned about the various risks involved, I know the risks and joys of it.  Also who remembers Captain Nemo elucidating about Rouquayrol apparatus in ‘20,000 leagues under the sea’, my first English novel at the age of 10 years.
And now there is a new item in bucket list, finish all greatest scuba diving locations around the world.

Insha Allah ! Amen !

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