Upanshu Mishra

It is not an uncommon haunt this question of beauty, of art and of creation for any growing artist. One may console oneself with several definitions and may find none satisfactory. Pontius Pilate famously questioned Jesus, "What is truth?"; though there was a good deal of jest in that inquiry. And Keats very seriously asserts that 'Beauty is truth and truth beauty and that's all ye need to know.'; if that is all one needs to know. But what is beauty for a ragpicker who seems to have lost his sense of the aesthetic just so s/he could retain the faculty to discern between what's useful and what's not. One could make an argument that all art is merely a bourgeois expression but one shouldn't, right?

I say that art, an expression so sublime, can be found in all who yearn to be one. That it is the blood that flows in our veins urging us to feel its presence, experience its conscious staccato pumps through our arteries because we have a habit of taking it for granted as something that follows a rhythm. 

When we began with this endeavour we so proudly named Commonplace, our idea was to evoke this consciousness among  students by the means of art. We knew it was a thankless job. We never wanted gratitude anyways. But as I look back now, this has been fulfilling. We began with an idea we called "roadside grandeur". Our greatest ambition was to be able to read our poems and listen to the poems of our fellows without any care. We wanted to come out and say what we wished the way we wished. Like the beats. And in many ways we have. We wanted to do away with the vagaries of intellectual discourses and let literature take its course like any river in times of a flood. While it hasn't really been a flood per se. But I'd like to believe in minimal showers quenching the drought infested literary terra of this city. I will not talk anymore of art, my fellow editors have talked enough. I will however, talk about what the human mind unconsciously indulges in to curb the despondency that comes from the conscious-murdering routine life. It begins with a need to find a place of your own in this world. As insignificant as a forgotten sepulchre or as extravagant as shopping mall. But for art to take its place inside your body, for it to flow with the pumped up blood in your arteries, for it to be your and only your it has to be a quiet place. An insignificant place where the world is around you yet invisible, like some astral projection watching over you.

In that moment, when you're alone yet not lonely. When you feel the universe in its entirety thrumming with your pulse. In that moment my dear friends, you will feel satiated if only for that fleeting moment. It will be there, your moment of peace and all of a sudden poetry will come to you like some revelation and it will make you rue your entire existence. You might make an exaggerated show of your epiphany, its up to you. But the only words coming out of your mouth would be "I've to go back to reality."

As Whitman had observed-

These carols sung to cheer my passage through the world I see
For completion I dedicate to the invisible world.

We all seek such a world to where consciousness feels not like a burden but like the music of nebulas. Art makes you conscious of everything around you. So let me put a different question forward. Do we want to be conscious?