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Pam and Ram

S.Siddharth

 

Read the questions and answer form the following text

All questions are of equal value, answer any Three.

 

Do you think this is an essay, not a story?                                                                                       (2+8)

If this is an essay, did he make the story around it because the various arguments could not be proven?

Answer with proper illustrations from the text.

 

Do you think Ram and Pam personify the arguments they present?                                       (2+8)

If yes, then how?

 

What role does the Art-critic play? Was his character necessary in this text?                        (2+8)

 

Do you find the ingredients or their proportion used for marinating the lamb, strange? (1+4+5)

If yes then why?

Do you think the author did it with some intention or was it just a poor pick-up from Google?

 

 

 

 

1971: Pam was only a few years old. All she could do was run around the house, holding a crayon firmly in her hand. The crayon lasted only a run as she scrubbed the crayon, and left a mark behind. A mark that was long and colourful.

1973: The walls now had multi-coloured rings, they started off from the floor and covered as much as her hands could reach. But she doesn’t colour the walls any longer. Her parents gave her a “drawing-book”. The walls would always remain the historical document of evolution, which for all of us, is colourful.

1977:  He was one of the most sought about boys in the school. If not the Children, their Parents knew what he did and what he planned to do next. The teachers of kindergarten saw a very promising future in him. Thus, a note was sent to Mr. and Mrs. Iyyer.

“Your son is a good boy; he plays with all his friends and behaves nicely. That is why he is quite popular amongst his friends. He is good in crafts. He may one day become an Artist says his Art teacher. And as her class teacher I would like to add he has keen interest in learning. Thus may become a very good student.”

Ram’s parents were happy.

1988: Pam’s parents were upset. She was in the collage, learning Art. She spent her days in college, in various exhibitions, in her studio, where she sometimes stayed overnight. On occasions she stayed at home. Still drawing and painting vigorously in her room while her parents ate in silence; her food was sent upstairs where it rested beside her and eventually became stiff and cold as it witnessed motionlessly, the canvas coming to life.

1994: He could sing, he could dance and occasionally he also painted. But what he did best, was writing. He could write poems, short stories and anything he desired for. People always felt in his words simple warmth soaked in humility and firsthand experience. “He”, said many, “could make a blank paper come to life”.

 

1997: Many papers had his columns. His wit and those critical eyes, observing the world around often resulted in an astute essay, funny on the surface and bottomless insights. His words did bring out his true persona. Though, he was a little bulky, it never really became his identity. His straightforward approach was appreciated. He would habitually narrate his plots and crack jokes, which for obvious reasons attracted more people towards him. However with time people got used to it. They metamorphosed into beings who could feel her presence in her absence; an eerie reality to deal with. She by now had become quite a known name in the art loving faculty of France.

It was 2004 when she flew to India to participate in an Art camp, organized by the French Embassy. The camp ran for 4 days. But as the organizers had put together the camp to encourage a cultural exchange between the French and the Indian artist it wasn’t really mandatory that the artists completed their works by the allocated few days. Thus, Pam and some of the other Artists and Art-critics form France did go around the city of Bangalore, meeting with local artists, buying sarees, shopping and filling themselves with the much renowned King-Fisher beer.

It was evening and Pam and one of her Art-historian friends were sitting at the Fortune-mall, Food-court. Before them, placed in Plates were Biriyani, something they never had. The food-court was located at the top of the tower and was brimming with men and women, young college boys and girls hanging around, children with their parents and grandparents, demanding whatever they lay eyes on. It was noisy and the chairs were occupied. Some foreigners were startled to see so many people together; they felt as if they were in a soccer-field, cheering for their favorite team.

“Would you guys mind if I take this seat?” asked a chubby Indian.

“Of course, you can, please take your seat” replied Mr.Punto.

So he sat facing Pam, and the other Gentleman sat next to him, in the middle. Nonetheless, from another perspective, it is difficult to say who sat in the middle, or occupied the central chair as they sat around a round table.

“My name is Punto” said Mr. Punto.

“I am Ram, nice to meet you” said Raman Iyyer.

“This is Pam and she says she is Pam and is happy to meet you.” Explained Punto as Pam spoke in French.

“Am a columnist, I write for a few English papers.” told Ram.

“My friend here is an Artist, we both are from France. We are here for an Art-camp” Continued Mr. Punto.

“That is nice to know, I take keen interest in matters of Art. I have many Artist friends. If it is some sort of art camp with both Europeans and Indians in it, there is a good chance that one or two of my friends would be there, participating.”

Mr. Punto now translates Ram in French, so that his friend who had by now taken out her drawing-book and began sketching. She lifted her face from the scribbled pages and stared at Ram with a smile resting on her lips. Now they are moving. She is asking something.

“She wants to know if this place is always this noisy.”

With a laugh Ram says, “Yes, more or less. But today some audition is going on for a popular reality-show hunt; it maybe the reason behind today’s crowd.”

And there on they kept munching and talking; Pam in French and Ram in English.

“Paintings are my own way of expressing myself and the world.”

“But don’t you think it is being a mere personal affair, a personal language, something perhaps an ordinary layman cannot understand?”

“Yes indeed it is a language which is subjective in nature, unlike the written languages or spoken words. Words and their meanings share a relationship which by all means is arbitrary in nature. But in case of paintings, elements are what they are. It doesn’t require a common agreement or a general approval for expressing oneself. And in this way, you can say, it is up, close, personal and intimate” Stated Pam.

“Maybe, but I always feel that sometimes you guys exclude us from enjoying, appreciating a painting. I would like you to know that I am certain that you would find my objection a childish one. But am quite sure that there are plenty of Artists, world-wide, who make good use of this liberty.”

“I can understand your feeling, but there is no easy way out of this problem. The only thing one can do to avoid such happenings is to be educated; look at various paintings, observe and absorb the different narrative styles. Then they would start talking to you” said Mr. Punto, translating Pam’s French.

“Humm . . . quite true. Actually the language of Art is quite different from the languages we use, to communicate or write. My columns have numerous words, following a linear order of arguments. The narrative takes shape in different successive lines and at times it takes multiple pages to communicate or get the message across. On the other hand, you use a narrative which talks together, maintains no such order. The entire experience is transferred in a sight, from your page, or canvas to the spectator”

“Yes, the languages are divergent. At times, it is hard to express some particular things, such as a statement or your inner peur (fear) regarding some specific matter of concern. But Art can transcend you to an extra-worldly state, and make you experience an alien feeling, which had nothing to do with your present reality. ”

“I believe any form of Art has similar ability, for example say poetry.

On a second thought, perhaps fine-arts do so more effectively than a writing.

Now suppose, let us say that you have got a cat, a fat one, in your house, in France. And as you have gone out to some places, let’s say, you have come to India, in Bangalore, at Forum, and occupied the very seat you are sitting on. Now you wish to tell me about your cat. Now what would you say ?”

This question had an effect on Pam. She was smiling as she conveyed her thoughts in French. Punto replied in French and she talked again.

After their conversing, with a nod Punto said, “I have bought a fat-cat”

“Fair enough, that is how I come to know of it. Nevertheless, presume you had painted your cat on a post card and brought it along. I would have known it to be a cat, a fat cat, but might have missed the significant point that it actually belonged to you. You painting failed to tell me that it was actually YOUR cat, not just any random cat.”

“Mr. Ram though you are partially right, but you seem to have overlooked certain other underlying factors. While gazing at a painting, you are being enriched. You are coming to know things that even I did not intend to convey as a painter. For example, you don’t merely see a fat-cat, but a fat-cat, who is black and has stunning green eyes.” Said Mr. Punto

“Absolutely. When someone says, ‘I have a cat’, or when we hear the utterance of the word ‘cat’, our unconscious goes back to ‘cat’ and its arbitrary image or meaning and searches for a match.

This match is an ambiguous one. It gives us the basic characters of the cat as a ‘cat’. The cat we see with our mental-eyes can be fat or slim, black or white, and it may have red, blue or green eyes. We don’t add this cat to our vault of experience, under the category-cat.

But a painting of a cat, on the other hand, would say – fat, black, with green eyes. It will make our unconscious search and try to match the data. And if such a specification does exist, it would try and compare them. It is a process which would largely go unnoticed by the person, and perhaps at times by the unconscious as well. But if such a match can’t be established then it is stored as a fresh knowledge, in our vault of experience, under the section titled cat.”Ram goes on lecturing.

“Dear Ram, you talk like a psychoanalyst.” She grins and continued, “I don’t scrutinize the universal truths as doing so one often ends-up reducing them to mere functions of a system. A man is so much interesting and alive till you realize that it is nothing but the collection of bones and flesh; a perspective, which sees no difference between a living man and a dead-body. Theories are for men like you, who take pleasure in leading a life with all sorts of restrictions, abiding by the goods and the bads, the dos and the don’ts. I rather would fall asleep and dream Dreams which even Freud cannot understand fully.”-Pam

Ram sat not being able to reply. He knew he wanted to say something but could not. He found it rather irritating that his otherwise loyal assets were of no use, he had no words to express himself. Thus he continued sitting idle.

After finishing his supper, Ram sipped his coffee which had gone cold. Human beings are a strange creature. He felt a lot better after finishing of his coffee. His body once again resumed its normal temperature.

“When we write or read we actually are thinking in a language but while you paint, do you really think in a language?” asked Ram.

Pam thought for some moments before replying, “I am not sure. When I am construction an image, that is to say, when I have a plan in my mind, often I find myself thinking in French, but there are times when I don’t know what drives my brush. It may be an inner voice, which I understand without knowing what it asks me to do. It can be French, it can be Dutch, it can be my childhood, it can be a shadow, and it can be my God.”

“I think it is the transformation itself that makes Art work. The transformation from the real to the unreal artificial imitation motivates us to write or to paint. And it is the transformation from one language to another which helps us understand each other. An image often narrates a story while a story often re-creates images. ” said Ram.

The phone rang. Mr. Punto said “excuse me” and got up and moved away to receive the call. There was this uneasy silence in the crowded food-plaza.

At last she said something.

He said, “Sorry but I could not understand, I don’t understand French.”

She smiled knowingly.

 

The story ends here for those who think this is a plain essay covered in a story. But for you guys who consider this not an essay but a story, the story does not end here it continues.

 

2009: It is hard to say how Ram put on with her, because she had this tendency of becoming a self-locked artifact, without an entry to her; something her soon-to-be-in-laws were not found of. One of Ram’s cousin brothers had asked him, “What in Pam attracts you the most?”

Ram said with no mystification, “It is her Beauty. Just like Mona Lisa I would love to have her picture framed and hung.” She was beautiful, something that Ram never was in the same sense of the word. Two entirely different people with different tastes and preferences, it was quite amazing to behold them together.

A French guy said, in the pre-wedding party, that they were nothing less than a successful couple, just like a film or a graphic novel where words and visuals complement each other.

Pam could talk a fair bit of English, though she kept insisting that Ram learned French. He spoke rudimentary French. But Ram understands a lot just going by her face, her movements and moods that keeps on swinging and changing. Her expressions though at times deceptive, nevertheless he acted accordingly. So it comes as no surprise that Ram every now and then like every other husband, misunderstood his wife.

It was the day before they got married at the nearby Church; Pam had this idea of making a roasted lamb for the small party they had planned in the evening.  Thus, Ram was also called in to help her with the preparation.

Ram got the lamb out of the freezer and the marinating process began in Pam’s direction.  1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 lemon juiced (about 2 tablespoons), 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper all went into the paste Pam prepared meticulously. It was dawn when the mounted the bed and fell asleep.

When in the morning Pam visited the kitchen, she received the shock of a life-time. The marinated lamb was missing.

“Ram! The lamb is missing and the platter is empty! You had tidied up the place before going to bed. Now where did you keep it? ”

Ram said, “Why I put it back in the fridge!”

By the way, she did not say anything else. It was her face, her expression that made him understand that he did something terribly wrong with the lamb; “Shouldn’t have I put it in the fridge??!” he asked in a confused way.

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