"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.
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?
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Image: Watercolour Sketch © Jean Burman 2018 [detail]