Solitude and isolation are dissimilar. But is solitude necessarily art? Though we have repeatedly heard that artists must seek solitude, which is apparently essential for art.
Filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky loved solitude. In the last stanza of The Daffodils, William Wordsworth calls solitude a bliss. Some years ago, I heard the writer Anita Desai confess that writers are solitary people.
But solitude is often a result of one’s own choosing or doing. The current lockdown is, however, different. We are shut inside our homes while there are many who have walked relentlessly to reach their destination. Do they ever think of solitude? Or is solitude the exclusive reserve of people like us – with social and cultural capital?
Regardless, these are difficult times. I often turn to music in times of personal crisis, not knowing what else to do. Accidentally I stumbled upon Bombay Jayashri’s rendition of Ororo Novin Kanalilum on YouTube, which is from a yet-to-be released Malayalam film. I don’t follow the language, but the minimalism of the song, coupled with Jayashri’s soul stirring vocals seemed like the perfect antidote to anxiety. Music, after all, is a language unto itself, helping to create temporary islands of hope and relief.
Kunal Ray is an arts commentator. He teaches literary and cultural studies at FLAME University, Pune.
Read the other articles in the Art of Solitude series here.