Ila Pal's Books

September 21, 1999

Journeys, whether inward or outward, are fraught with risks. It can change the course. Can one afford to take such a risk? Why not? Am I not romantic…. pragmatic…. reclusive…. gregarious…. cautious…. reckless…. boring…. full of beans, momentarily profound and then suddenly stupid, jabbering inane. But my core unites these disparate selves! Also I live so many wildly different roles and I am proud of it.

Cochin 2002

For as long as I can remember I have liked to sketch from a boat or a train. (Slow) In Benares I chose to take a bajda [terraced boat]. In Kerala a native row boat. I like crossing multiple horizons; the way earth presents itself panoramically, laying out its treasures especially for me [as if]. At such a time I feel central. But slowly its magnitude and grandeur and concurrently my inability to express the intensity of my experience leave me feeling inadequate, very small, a speck in this vast cosmos. I like myself positioned at two ends of the scale, this shifting perspective.

October 10, 1999

This morning I painted a Kerala landscape – ink on paper, stark…. simple converting plenitude to sparseness. And now – just a few hours later I am painting a moon – white, huge iridescent! Baap re baap….To be romantic is blasphemous – how dare I do this?

December 4, 1998

Kerala….the unending stretches of paddy fields and coconut forests, interspersed by meandering rivers and saucer-like ponds and more water – the sea. A feeling of lushness sweeps over, as I get woven in the mishmash of splendorous web of verticals and horizontals. I have to find away out.

March 27, 1999

I am doing what I disliked in school – embroidery, but with the tip of my brush. One….hundred….thousand….a hundred thousand….patterns have begun to emerge. It is as if I am detailing my feeling, rather than the physical reality.

June, 1999

There is a pause, a withdrawal. Stillness and silence: a journey from the actual to the abstract, from the playful to the ponderous, from lushness to sparseness, from plenty to the minimum, the scale reducing, the journey coming a full circle, to myself; the life force within

August 2003

If only I could be Arjun, the only one amongst the five Pandava brothers who saw only the fish’s eye, nothing else. That is why the arrow straight went and pierced the fish, his target. Between the tip of my brush and the paper or canvas, nothing should intervene. Neither thought nor idea. Neither the memory of the place nor the mood it had evoked. The only reality should be what I create.

Sydney, 1998

I had a brilliant attack of asthma last night. I was slowly running out of breath. Traversing the twilight zone but there was no pain….no darkness…Only iridescence and incredible visions. I was merging with the most luminous source of light. And then I woke up Devain and said ‘Goodbye’. He saved me from dying and the unforgettable brush with death has rescued me from the fear of death.

© 2009 Ila Pal