• Jean Burman

"Reality can be beaten with enough imagination” Mark Twain

I absolutely adore the British TV series The Good Karma Hospital. I love the colour ... the sets ... the music ... the characterisation. No it’s not serious drama … it carries no greater message. But it’s not surface either. Beneath the whimsical storylines lurk deeper meanings that are so exquisitely subtle that, if you’re not absolutely tuned in, you could easily miss them.

Perhaps the story requires a certain kind of imagination, without which, it might be impossible to decode the true beauty, depth and humour of what is being portrayed. I don’t know ... 

This week I found myself in conversation about it. An artist I know was painting a scene from her beloved India. She had spent quite some time there and knew the place well (ie. warts n all).  I love how she paints these scenes because they transport me to an exotic place I’ve never been to. I am enthralled by images and music that take me away to faraway places ... to sunset colours ... the sound of the sitar … the fragrance of spice. Instantly… I’m there!

I asked her if she had ever watched The Good Karma Hospital and she replied that she had watched it occasionally, but found it quite shallow. I was a bit dumbstruck to tell you the truth. I had kind of assumed that because she routinely paints the beauty that is clearly there, she would have seen it in this production. The fact that she didn’t surprised me.

She especially didn’t like the perfection portrayed in the sets and characters. She felt they were too perfect ... too unreal … despite [as I gently reminded her] one of the main characters, Dr Lydia Fonseca, bearing a rather large scar on her upper left arm ... a burn which the actor Amanda Redman had received as a baby in real life ... and which neither she, nor the producers, had made any attempt to hide.  [I can’t tell you how much I admire her for that!]  

“India is just not like that” she continued. “It’s not real”

“Fair enough” I conceded, just a little bit dashed. 

Maybe not.

But do we really want reality from watching television ... or listening to beautiful music ... or viewing inspirational art? 

Don’t we all wish ... somewhere in our hearts ... to be swept off our feet by something so impossibly beautiful it takes our breath away?

Don’t we want to be transported to another world that is the manufacture of pure whimsy … absolute joy?

Why else do artists paint ... musicians play ... writers imagine? 

Don’t we all [in some small way] wish to escape? 

R - E - A - L - I - T - Y  

I know I do. How about you? 

PS. If you enjoyed this post, please like, share, and sign up to be notified when a  a new post goes up. Oh and ... leave a note in the comments below. That'd be great!      

Image: Watercolour Sketch © Jean Burman 2018 [detail] 

  • Jean Burman

Comments on this post ( 4 )

  • May 22, 2018

    Hello Jean,
    I just came across your card which you gave me at our reunion (a while ago now; doesn’t time move fast) and consequently had a look at your site. What a lovely site, although I have to agree with your Indian friend that India is just not like that. Having done lots of aid work there, these scenes look far too clean and well managed. Where are the dogs, the cows, the beggars, the dirt, the general hectic, amazing, confusing milieu of life in India? No needles on the beaches, no poo. All more like the Bahamas perhaps although I’ve never been there. Sorry to disappoint you but I would still say go there if you get a chance. Incredible India as the advertising says. Anyway, I hope you are well and happy
    Warm wishes Judy

    — Judy Seton

  • May 22, 2018

    Hi Judy,

    So great to hear from you! I’m glad my business card did its job and you found me here :)

    This post, of course, is not so much about The Good Karma Hospital, as it is about our appreciation of (and willingness to accept) the magical and whimsical into our everyday experience of the world.

    As an artist, I have the tendency to look for the beauty in things. That doesn’t mean the ugly doesn’t exist. I grew up in Papua New Guinea. I’m under no illusions [grin] But sometimes I think we need to give our brains a rest … [suspend reality] … and let our imaginations run riot! It’s fun. I’ve always been such a dreamer ;)

    Warm wishes to you too … stay in touch!

    Jean x

    — Jean

  • Jul 07, 2018

    I would love that series, I think. I’m going to see if I can get it on Netflix or Amazon. It was SO great to get your comment on my blog post today. I miss the regular interaction we used to have. I love your paintings so much, so I’ve bookmarked your site and I will be a more regular visitor.

    And I’m with you about the point of your post here. We don’t have to have everything so true to life. I love legal shows but as a lawyer I can tell you that I have never seen one that is “real.” How boring that would be!

    — Galen Pearl

  • Jul 08, 2018

    You would love it Galen. It’s pure whimsy, but the producers have nothing to apologise for. They bring a fresh magic to a somewhat tired and jaded reality, and the cinematic soundtrack by Ben Foster is nothing short of soaring. I’m so glad you read into the greater message here (I never doubted for a moment that you would)

    So lovely to hear from you again!

    — Jean

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