I mistake the neat bedsheet spread symmetrically on my bed for perfection. If I look close enough, I’ll notice how the stripes do not perfectly align with the length of the bed. I cannot unsee it, and it drives me mad. I look up at the blue blue sky, on a scorching summer afternoon, my favourite kind, and I mistake that for art. Upon staring longer, looking hither and thither, from one end of the horizon to the other, there are visible clouds. I should feel sanctified, but it breaks my heart. The sky isn’t perfect. But it’s beautiful, nevertheless. Or my eight-year-old neighbour, who is so excited, yet tired of playing with the superhero toys he owns, that he swaps the Hulk’s head with that of Batman’s and vice versa. He doesn’t seem to be too complacent with perfection either. No, not even kids are inspired by perfection.
I was trying very hard to be inspired by the aesthetics of a light pink pillow cover on a striped grey and white bedsheet. Yes, that same misaligned bedsheet. So beautiful, yet imperfect. I was trying to be inspired by the accurate sublimity of nature. But that isn’t perfect either. And anyway, what if it was perfect, how long would that even last?
It’s like waiting for a call from a lover to hear him say things you want to hear. The action would be perfect, but the wait isn’t.
But it is the wait that’s inspiring, isn’t it?
I think all good art, however imperfect, is a result of dissatisfaction and discontentment. My best friend, Nitheena, thinks otherwise. She is a huge fan of Johnny Cash, but J.R. himself was discontent for a large part of his life. And well, he is still phenomenal art.
So what is the point of being inspired by perfection, when there is so much to fill?
When I sat down to write today, there was absolutely nothing inspiring me. Nothing perfect inspiring me. It was all the incomplete holes. The weaknesses. The fear of not being able to write, for instance. The fear of always feeling incomplete. The fear of having that lover never call and say those things I’d like to hear. My Achilles’ Heel. All those perfect things can never be inspiration. The beauty’s all in the inadequacy. The inspiration is all in the insufficiency.
And to quote from American Beauty, one of my favourite movies, “I guess I could be pretty pissed off with what happened to me … But it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world.”