One way of assessing maturity or positive progress of any civilization is to look at its achievement in the various art forms
This may be music, literature, dance, sculpture and painting. It is not enough if there are performers in these fields. There should a larger participation of lay persons in that civilization who know how to appreciate and enjoy these art forms.
Not all of us are fortunate to be exponents of art forms. It is reserved for the privileged few who have the perseverance, talent and single-mindedness to pursue these interests often at great personal sacrifice. But if we don’t have the talent or perseverance, the next best thing is to develop a feeling for appreciation of art. Everyone has eyes but few can appreciate a work of art or the abundant beauty that is around us. To give one personal example. I must have seen the painting of Sunflowers by Van Gogh at least a thousand times. I am still not tired and can see it again with the same pleasure many times more. It simply dazzles me. Same is true of the painting of water lilies by Claude Monet. What is this feeling which so uplifts my spirit that is contained in these paintings? I cannot say it; it has to be experienced and cannot be easily described.
I have seen and heard musicians performing. The expression on their faces is one of intense pleasure. They are so involved that they are oblivious to their surroundings. To experience of listening to some of the great musicians is the same as one gets one views a great painting. I can say the same with dance forms.
I recently had the pleasure of viewing a recorded performance of Bharathnatyam [a form of classical Indian dance] by a young relative of mine, Mithila Ballal [Mittu, as she is known to us]. I sat transfixed for more than one hour watching and listening. It was a soul filling experience and I felt I was in the presence of a great talent.
Our lives can often be boring because it consists of many repetitive acts. Some of these are necessary to live and some we are forced to because to live we have to do these. Our humdrum lives can become interesting and meaningful if we develop interest in one or other form of art. This is true for all ages but especially so when one grows old!