Its a very cold, foggy day here in New Delhi today.Its also a national holiday as India celebrates her 67th Republic Day. And I am at home.Refueling and rejuvenating after what has been a severely hectic last fortnight.
My fascination with letters and words, as perhaps the most important communication ( the other one is ,of course, silence and unspoken words which strangely, have a deep connect) between two people has taken me to reading ‘The Diary Of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self Portrait” with an introduction by Carlos Fuentes and written by Frida Kahlo herself.
The fiercely talented Frida Kahlo is perhaps one of the most remarkable figures of contemporary culture. She was was an extraordinary individual who liked to live in constant self-expression and by her own rules.Debilitated by polio at a young age and later in a serious traffic accident, which resulted in multiple body fractures and internal lesions inflicted by an iron rod that had pierced her stomach and uterus, she overcame great odds to emerge as a formidable artist of modern Mexico. Her art synergizes elements from traditional Mexican art with a surrealist aesthetic. Known chiefly for her self -portraits, she came to be revered by feminists for depiction of the feminine form and experience.
Her love for the Mexican artist and her mentor Diego Rivera , that was equally reciprocated, was transcendental and incandescent. They wed when she was 22 and he 42 years old. Both had multiple affairs, the most notable of which for bisexual Kahlo were with French singer, dancer, and actress Josephine Baker and Russian Marxist theorist Leon Trotsky. The relationship however remained ferocious , intense and complicated and all-eclipsing. Diego said “I did not know it then, but Frida had already become the most important fact in my life. And she would continue to be, up to the moment she died, twenty-seven years later”.
One marvels at the depth of her passion when she writes: “It’s not love, or tenderness, or affection, it’s life itself, my life, that I found what I saw it in your hands, in your month and in your breasts. I have the taste of almonds from your lips in my mouth. Our worlds have never gone outside. Only one mountain can know the core of another mountain.”
or the knowledge that nothing or no one can come between them and their enchanted love
“There is cellular arrangement. There is movement. There is light. All centers are the same. Folly doesn’t exist. We are the same as we were and as we will be. Not counting on idiotic destiny”.
A true rebel , Kahlo, is a person I admire for a host of reasons and am influenced by. She had famously proclaimed ‘I was born a bitch, I was born a painter’. I always smile at that. Here was a woman of such deep convictions, imagination and belief in herself/her art, that she continues to inspire relentlessly.
I called this blogpost ‘Fitoor’ which is an Urdu word that means passion or obsession in tribute to the magnificence of Frida Kahlo : the way she lived her life , and the way both she and Diego loved each other. I shall confess that ‘Fitoor’ was a new word for me. I picked it from the television, that is on right now, and playing song promos from a new film by the same name. The music is good and the hero is played by Aditya Roy Kapoor….which makes me miss hugely, hugely, hugely a certain Aditya in my life.I guess I will write him a letter which may possibly outshine Frida’s to Diego 🙂
But seriously guys, read the book by this extraordinary woman. She leaves you breathless in her zest and quest to paint and create, to live and love.You could complement it with Hayden Herrera’s definitive biography on her.
And I have got hooked on to this song: