May 24, 2015

The joy in kvetching!

There's a poetry from where the thoughts below arise from. This was written by Michelangelo, one of the greatest painters in the history of mankind and also a wonderful poet. He says this to Giovanni da Pistoia while he was painting the renowned Chapel of Sistine, the official residence of the Pope in the Vatican City.

I've already grown a goiter from this torture,
hunched up here like a cat in Lombardy
(or anywhere else where the stagnant water's poison).
My stomach's squashed under my chin,
my beard's pointing at heaven,
my brain's crushed in a casket,
my breast twists like a harpy's.
My brush,above me all the time,
 dribbles paint so my face makes a fine floor for droppings!
My haunches are grinding into my guts,
my poor ass strains to work as a counterweight,
every gesture I make is blind and aimless.
My skin hangs loose below me,
 my spine's all knotted from folding over itself.
I'm bent taut as a Syrian bow.
Because I'm stuck like this,
my thoughts are crazy, perfidious tripe:
anyone shoots badly through a crooked blowpipe.
My painting is dead.Defend it for me, Giovanni,
 protect my honor.
I am not in the right place—I am not a painter.

 What? Did he just call himself - "I am not a painter?" Was this a form of forced humility. It could surely be a desperate attempt from Michelangelo to keep the modesty in himself alive.
But I doubt that. He is just doing what we humans love to do - complain. Now most of what Michelangelo describes is physical pain he has while painting a ceiling, maybe a very natural trait to complain physical pain. After all, who likes to withstand body aches? But then why the "I am not a painter" in the end? The very fact he says it, means something deeper than what it appears to be.

Your best friend calls you to tell you how big a mess he is in. How his life is fucked up, and how low times are. And what do you feel like saying? "So you think you've had a bad day, huh? Listen to this.."
and you go on telling how a bigger mess you are currently in.

Who said you're probably not enjoying what you are doing? Who says you are complaining out of dissatisfaction or boredom?

Kvetching, has always been seen as the sign of the weak. Mum used to say, "Now don't complain about it." But as I have come to realize, we all need our share of complaining. Perhaps our finest friends are very used to us complaining, they share that joy of kvetching with us too! The trade continues, each of us bothering the other with our so-called sorrows even when we are at the peak. And I guess no one else perhaps will understand this feeling as much as them, for others it'll be just show off.
Imagine for instance, Sachin Tendulkar stands up and says 'I am such a bad cricketer'. What will you say? Mock him maybe. But if he does really have a bad day at practice, doesn't he need an outlet - to complain?

The point being, there is a certain joy in kvetching, a satisfaction of some sort when we complain. It may not be to let down things happening around us, or to be a medium of pure gloat, it really is sympathy. Sympathizing with ourselves, to feel sorry about the state we are in, try provide a rationale to it and move on (maybe?).

I like to believe in the joy of kvetching.

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