Art That Influenced Me (with Fiona, from Questions from a Teenager).

Hello there, people of the internet!

I’m back with a collab with one of my most favourite bloggers ever since I first joined WordPress: Fiona! And the two of us are back to talk about art-in all its forms- that has influenced us in our life. Art in the form of writing, music, dance forms, architecture, art art, and basically everything out there that is born out of creativity.

I think that’s introduction enough, so I might as well stop beating around the bush (which, if I do say so myself, I am exceptionally great at), and get down to it.

1. Mister God, This is Anna, by Fynn.

I don’t think I can talk about art that has influenced me without mentioning this book. My mom bought me this book at a bookstore in an airport when I was 9, thinking it was a children’s book. I was extremely excited about it, but after reading about 10 pages, I realised that this wasn’t my cup of tea yet and went back to read my Malory Towers novels.

I picked the book up again a couple of years later, or maybe even more. And since then, I have probably read it only 3 times (I usually read books I like an insane amount of times). There was something so different about this book, something so special about Anna, as written through the eyes of Fynn. This true story has made me shed the most tears, made me gasp, and sigh, and furrow my eyebrows in consternation, exclaim in delight, and everything, everything, everything. Some part of me also believes that this is the book that got me into a certain type of philosophy, or simply made more evident the philosophical aspects of my personality which were more subdued before.

Even though parts of the book now make me feel like there’s something strange about the happenings, I cannot and will not lose my love for it. Also, the fact that not a lot of people have read this book (no one I’ve met has read this book), makes me feel like there’s a reason it’s in my life.

Mister God, This Is Anna.

2. Saraswati, by Raja Ravi Varma.

Raja Ravi Varma was a celebrated Indian (Malyali) painter and artist, and I think there a chapter in our Hindi textbook, in class 4 or 5, on Raja Ravi Varma and his life starting from childhood. I don’t remember very clearly, because I used to zone out religiously every Hindi class, but I feel like there was something about that chapter that made me pay some attention and retain this seemingly random thought of Raja Ravi Varma as a child, running through some huge garden, with some talk of painting something (horses, maybe). And this memory, I feel, is what puts this Indian painter in my mind.

Image result for raja ravi varma sugandha bai paintings

I didn’t know that this painting of Saraswati, the Indian goddess of wisdom and knowledge, was by Raja Ravi Varma until much after I read that chapter on him. I don’t even remember the painting mentioned in that chapter, but when I found out this one was by him, it began meaning even more to me. Raja Ravi Varma’s ‘Saraswati’ has been an almost constant part of my life. We have a copy of this painting in a frame at home, and my parents being decently religious people, always put the frame somewhere in my room, usually near my study table. I was always told to pray to Saraswati so she would help me concentrate on my studies, and these prayers soon turned into full-fledged conversations (not even about studies most times) with that painting whenever my mind wandered away from my textbooks (which was a lot). Something about her peaceful, knowing expression, her relaxed, lyrical stance, the folds in her white sari, always made me really like this painting. I also had a phase where I used to be very open about the fact that Saraswati was my favourite among all the gods and goddesses, and I think it had a lot to do with this particular painting (along with the wisdom and knowledge part too).

3. ABBA.

Now, I know Abba is a group, and not really one “piece of art”, but I don’t think I can pick one favourite song, so I think I’ll add a little spotify playlist with a bunch of their songs that I really like.

So, Abba has been a part of my life since I was born. My parents listen to them, my grandparents listen to them, and so I’ve grown up listening to their songs. Every car ride, every soft evening at home when we just decided to put on their music, my parents and grandparents with their glasses of warm brandy, sitting at the dining table. My sister and I, with our glasses of juice to feel included, everyone singing along, or humming, or nodding their heads to every single song in those CD’s.

[Note: I was making this playlist, listening to songs, and I swear to god, I cannot count the number of times I got goosebumps or had my eyes tear up. I LOVE ABBA.]

These are honestly just some of the songs I love, but if I had to choose a few songs I like over others, I think I’d say Fernando, Move On, Waterloo, Slipping Through My Fingers, and okay I was wrong, I was literally on my way to name every song, *sigh*. You get the point.

Also, I remember in the third grade, our teacher took us the big Communication Room in my school where every girl (I was in a girls’ school for 2 years), got her own desk and a pair of headphones, and we all felt very important. Then she ran us through some communication exercises for some reason, and then at the end played ‘I Have a Dream’ as a little treat. I don’t know what she was thinking choosing that song for a bunch of third graders born in the 21st century, because I was the only tiny, 7 year old who got really wide eyes, and started shuffling around in her seat, singing along. Maybe that’s why she liked me. This is such a select and distinct memory and it’s only because of that extreme joy I felt at listening to music I thought I only listened to with my family.

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling.

I mean. I mean. I mean. Come on. Can’t leave this beauty out, can I? Also, no, I did not add this specific book from the series because it is my favourite, but because this is what got me into this beautiful world.

I remember, so very clearly, my Thatha (my grandfather’s younger brother) giving me this book as a birthday gift on my 11th birthday. I remember so clearly the smile he gave me as he handed me this book, as if he knew what he was getting me into. I was so happy that he gave me this book because just a few days ago my mom and I had been clearing out boxes of old books that were at my grandparent’s house, and I had found old editions of the 2nd and 3rd books in the Harry Potter series. So, getting the first book meant I could start reading as fast as possible.

The best part that I realised a couple months ago, when I was feeling low about not getting my letter and turning 18 soon, was that he gave me this book on my 11th birthday. The age when all those young witches and wizards get their letter to Hogwarts. That book was my letter; my invitation to enter that world. I was there.

Goddammit, I got overwhelmingly emotional just writing that. What’s more is that I’m wearing my Slytherin house t-shirt right now coincidentally. Also my time turner necklace. God, I love the Harry Potter universe so much.

5. Velvet Light, by Jakob Ogawa.

I think I’ll always have a very special place for, both this song, and the artist, because this was the first song I found by myself that made me feel like I found exactly what kind of music I’d been looking for, for the longest time, without knowing what I was looking for.

I think I found this song on last.fm in the beginning of last year when I didn’t have my phone because I had to study for my 12th grad exams, and ended up spending that time on YouTube and last.fm, looking for music, and watching PewDiePie videos.

This song made me feel like I was a different type of alive, and ever since then, I have a more definite idea of what music I genuinely like with my heart AnD sOuL.

6. Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Ram, directed by Yugo Sako, Ram Mohan, Koichi Saski.

Image result for ramayana the legend of prince rama

Alright, so this is an animated movie based on Valmiki’s Ramayana, one of the two major Sanksrit epics in India. And it was very recently that I found out that this was actually made majorly by Yugo Sako, a Japanese film director.

I watched this animation when I was very, very young, and I absolutely loved it. I remember having this little box t.v. in my “toy room” where I used to push in a CD every second afternoon and watch animated movies like different versions of Cinderella (I loved Cinderella so much, I had like 3 versions of the same movie), Sleeping Beauty, other Disney classics, and then this, Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Ram. The animation was just so good, and it was Indian mythology, which I loved.

I am honestly so grateful to my parents for giving me so much material on Hindu mythology, like this movie, and my collection of Amar Chitra Katha’s (comic books on myths and stories of gods and kings and freedom fighters and so much more, I loved these), and those short story collections, because it was all so very interesting, and I’m glad I know at least something about the stories of my culture, even if I’m not particularly religious.

I honestly think everyone should watch this, it is just too good (I mean, I might be biased because it’s played this important part in my life, and because I love anime, BUT GAH).

7. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost.

If you’d like to read this poem, here’s the link to it: The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

I had this poem as a part of my coursework in the 7th grade, and even back then, it spoke to me as soon as I read it. I was always one to finish reading my English textbooks before school started, and I did the same that year. I came across this poem and ended up reading it multiple times, really waiting for us to read it in class (I was the annoying kid who always gave their opinion during English classes. I still am,even in college. I can’t help it!!).

I’ve always felt alienated as a kid, feeling like I’d rather think about seemingly unnecessary things that were important to me, and not be a part of that crazy rat race that every other kid around me seemed to be a part of. But then, reading that poem, I felt not alone. I felt like it was okay to have my outrageous thoughts about the world, and planets, and the universe. I feel like this poem, simple as it is, patted my back every time I made a decision that I would be scared to make, made it easier for me to not fall into the throes of conformity, and be perfectly okay with being me and doing things in true Arshia fashion. And that has indeed made all the difference.

***

I think I’m going to end this list here, because honestly the more I think about it, I keep finding more things to write about, and this post has already gotten quite long! It’s surprising because when I first sat down to write this, this is what happened:

“Alright, alright, alright. I am sat here with me laptop, time to be productive!”

*stares at screen*

“Fuck, what now?”

But, this has honestly been such a fun post to write, and I teared up a couple of times too because that’s what Arshia does. She cries, doesn’t matter if she’s happy, or sad, or nostalgic, or angry, or whatever. It annoyed me before, now it’s just funny. This is going so off track. Let me quote myself from earlier in this post.


I think that’s introduction enough, so I might as well stop beating around the bush (which, if I do say so myself, I am exceptionally great at), and get down to it.

Moving on, be sure to check out Fiona’s post about art that has influenced her life, on her blog, Questions From A Teenager: Art with a lasting impact on me!!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you liked this post!

7 Comments

  1. Okay FIRST OF ALL FUCKING YES TO ABBA! (sorry for cursing, it always kind of slips out when I am excited)

    Secondly, I love how we both mentioned Harry Potter. I think the whole series / world of Harry Potter is something many people would consider an invaluable part of their childhood.

    Then – and this is proof we should do that second collab we talked about – I can’t believe you mentioned Velvet Light. That song is MY JAM. I love love love Jakob, I think he’s one of the creative artists in our generation (and sadly one of the most underrated).

    The Road Not Taken, my oh my, this takes me back. I think I first read it in middle school. It actually, in many ways, reminds me of the film I mentioned in my post, Mr. Nobody. It’s all about the choices we make, the paths in front of us, the great “what if”.

    You also introduced me to some new art out there, so thank you!! Mister God, this is Anna in particular stood out to me, it sounds like an eye-opener (and I love books like that).

    Thank you thank you for doing this with me, I had so much fun!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I GET SO HAPPY WHEN PEOPLE SAY THEY LIKE ABBA!!!
      AND JAKOB OGAWA OH MY LORD.
      Mister God, This is Anna really was an eye opener for me, I gave it to a friend of mine, and while he loved it, he said he found it very strange and uneasy at times, so there’s always that to wonder about.

      Thank YOU, honestly! And heck yes we need that second collab!!

      Like

  2. “I’m a dancing queen, young and sweet only seventeeeeeeeen”
    That’s the only ABBA song I know

    Robert Frost really ignites my eight grade memories, such a masterful artist

    Liked by 1 person

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