Defining ennui


Ennui by Mayank Chhaya

People often ask me how I define ennui.* I reply somewhat expansively, “One of these days I hope to be able to draw it.” Well, I did it this morning. I define ennui in visual terms and to me it feels like my digital artwork above.

Ennui is a luxury that my penurious existence does not afford me. It sounds so much like something that only generationally wealthy French philosophers can afford to indulge in. Underlying ennui is a profound sense of futility about human existence. If ennui had a physical form I think it would be a very dense and viscous liquid.

Speaking of ennui or boredom, I am reminded of what my mother Snehlata used to tell me when I was in my 30s. As a child perhaps the most frequent expression out of my mouth used to be, “Ma, maney bahu kantalo** avey chhe.” (Mother, I am very bored). I suppose there is nothing particularly original about a child occasionally saying he or she is bored. In my case though the preponderance of kantalo made it seem like a deeper philosophical malaise.

I do not know why I woke up with ennui this morning because as I said someone with my precarious finances should feel anything but kantalo. For once I was not planning to write anything today. But then I autosuggested myself to try a visual representation of ennui or boredom or kantalo. That worked rather quickly. The illustration above took less than three minutes.

Do me favor please. Treat the artwork as an avant garde mind-art experiment, make a bid on this artwork for a respectable sum and buy it. There is no greater antidote to ennui or boredom or kantalo than hard cash.

* Anytime I begin a sentence saying ‘People often ask me’, promptly conclude that no one has ever actually asked me that. It is just a device I use to get started.

** The “lo” in kantalo has a peculiar sound in Gujarati which has no equivalent in English. It is not the ‘l’ sound but something more primal. It is the sound you hear when you gargle.


About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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