So I was very sweetly reminded by Zeel that the exhibition that included works by Picasso and Dali at The Viewing Room, Colaba, was ending today.
I proceed to take yesterday’s Bombay Times, fold it away into my bag, and begin my journey.
I leave my building, and this is where things start getting interesting. I proceed to walk down my lane, which is currently in the process of redevelopment (basically they’re laying paver blocks instead of the usual mix), and forget to notice where the blocks end and the soft, black cement-mud begins. I find myself gently lowering as I walk, until it strikes me that maybe I should walk on the solid sidewalk.
My fast-thinking brain, I tell you.
I reach the end of the road without incident, and begin to look for a rickshaw.
And nearly get decapitated by a passing biker with a bunch of pipes attached to his pillion rider.
I breathe, adjust my sunglasses and hair, and get me a rick.
I reach the station. Proceed to nearly get run over by a ridiculously old Fiat Padmini Premier (the taxi Fiat) driven by an old man who can barely see over the wheel.
I board a train now, and look for a place to sit. I find none. So I stand. Near the door as usual. No one else next to me, so I plug in my earphones and start to sing with the music. I choke on a couple of words as a passing train throws up dust, causing me to hack and splutter all over the poor lot in that train as it flys by.
If any of you are reading this, I profusely apologize.
The singing continues, and the journey by train sees no further incident.
I reach Churchgate station. Proceed to find me a cabbie who’ll take me to Colaba Causeway, as my destination is Walton Road, which is opposite Cusrow Baug. Find one. He drives off before I can shut the door, brilliantly whacking a government Ambassador, and inflicting a lovely black bruise on the clean white paint.
At this point I’m thinking, “this day can’t get any weirder”.
It so does.
I get to Colaba, and find the gallery. Walk in, and proceed not to notice a glass door.
For those of you who know me, you know what’s coming. For those who don’t, I walked into it, something I do quite regularly.
Rubbing my nose, I ride the elevator up to the gallery, open the elevator door and trip. Just as a couple of big names in the Art world walk out of the gallery. Brilliant na?
I blush, straighten up and go into the gallery.
I am enjoying and being awed by some of the artwork, especially by the work of Patrick Hughes and Salvador Dali (Anisha, you will love this man just like I do. If he were to join the two of us, all hell would break loose. Do google him.), when a certain Lalit Modi of IPL fame walks in.
Now I do not know the man at all, and probably will never see him again, but in the brief 10 minutes he was there in front of me, I found him to be, for lack of a better word, dumb.
There are a series of works by Patrick Hughes, which are 3D paintings, dealing with perspective in a way I’ve never heard of or seen before. Every time you move in a certain direction both left-right and front-back, the painting seems to change it’s perspective, just as you would see things differently if you were on a terrace with a bunch of buildings’ corners facing you if you moved. The whole thing looks different. EVERYONE BUT LALIT MODI saw this change.
He proceeds to say ” I cannot see what you talk about, I’m sorry”. The lady he’s with literally gagged.
I hid behind the book on Dali I was reading. And proceeded to fall into a fit of silent giggles and sniggers, causing another patron, a girl who caught my eye, to start too.
He leaves, I ask for the loo, get in, and burst out laughing, flushing at the same time to hide the loudness…
For a guy who came up with the IPL, he doesn’t really strike me as too bright a bulb….
Done with the show, I thought I’d check out some other shows in the Kala Ghoda area.
I went to the Museum formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum first.
Trust me, people, go. It is one of the most interesting places in the world. And I speak not of the artifacts or paintings.
At the entrance.
Watchman 1 – (very innocently, and he’s a really young guy by the way, I think it was his first day or something) “Ji, Aap kahan jaa rahe ho?”
Me – (startled, cos i did NOT see him standing behind the gate pillar) “sorry?!”
Watchman 1 – “Ji, Where you go sirrr?”
Me – (laughing in my head, LOUDLY) (gesturing too) ” I go see Museum?”
Watchman 1 – “Yes sirr, you firsht getting tickut thyur.”
Me – (dying already at this point) “Thank you. I go?”
Watchman 1 – (realising he’s been blocking my way) “Ji, Yes sirrr, yes sirrr. Enjaay sirr.”
I move up to the ticket booth. The guy inside for some reason believed I was nowhere close to Indian, leave alone a Mumbaikar.
Ticket guy – ” Yes sir, how can I help you today?”
Me – (in my most ghaati, conversation-with-a-cabbie accent) “I’d like a ticket please, and a camera pass too.”
Ticket guy – (shit-shocked into hell by that) “You live in Mumbai?!!??!?”
Me – (VERY INNOCENTLY) “Haan ji, Vile Parle mein. Kyon? Main gora dikhta hoon kya?”
Ticket guy – (probably wishing he was dead, or that I was) “Haan beta, thoda bahut…total hoga Do Sau Pandrah..”
Me – (handing over a Rs. 500/- note) ” Hota hai bhai, hota hai.. relax yaar, aur thanks!”
I take the tickets and change, and move on to the first security check.
Now, note that Watchman 2 has not seen any of this, and thinks I’m gora too. Also probably thinks that goras are illiterate and that they cannot read a board that has directions to the main entrance of the museum and to Coomaraswami Hall.
Watchman 2 – “Ticket please sir. Any caymra? Eating things? Drinks?”
Me – (now ready for some fun, I put on one of my best yet Aussie accent) “No, no eeatabuls aww drinks mate, but ah dew have a camra..”
Watchman 2 – (thinking I’m a bloody illiterate gora at this point) ” Ok sir, no prablem, museum entry on right side. Please enjoy.”
Nodding thanks, and laughing to tears in my head, I move on.
The guys at the main door do an airport screening on me, and let me through no questions asked.
I do my rounds of the museum, and as I’m getting done with the European paintings, I hear a silly sniggering.
There’s a family of 2 adults and 4 kids, pointing and laughing at an oil painting of a bunch of nude women.
The attendant proceeds most amazingly, to brandish a stick at them and yells at them till they literally ran toward the stairs.
I sat down and laughed with the other people in the room. It was brilliant.
The lady had hitched up her sari and waddled away, husband in tow, holding up his pants, followed by a gaggle of kids hooting away like geese, all horribly dressed in checked shirts and faded purple or blue jeans. With that disgusting furry cuff thingy..
Having enjoyed the museum, I went off to another few galleries and took in the art.
Now the journey home.
Oh sweet sugar.
No cab will take me from Kala Ghoda to Churchgate.
I find one guy who says yes, on the condition that I alight at Eros. I agree, and as I’m opening the door to get in, a lady gets in from the other side, followed by a guy in the front and one pushing me aside to get in the back.
I told him it was my ride, but he just grinned in the most ludicrous fashion imaginable, and told the protesting driver to move on.
I did something childish…
I had peanuts in my hand.
Guess what happened next.
Yup, that’s right.
I threw them at the moron.
Then bolted, laughing maniacally, as everyone else there pointed at the cab in uncontrolled laughter.
The next obstacle was Oval Maidan. And lots of cricket. And flying balls.
I somehow got into a mood of causing a run out, so when a ball landed at my feet, instead of throwing it to a fielder, I aimed at the stumps.
I hit something.
It wasn’t the stumps.
I felt really bad for the batsman.
I really did.
I apologized, and ran.
Almost into oncoming traffic.
I reached Churchgate safely, and boarded a train.
I thought to myself, “ok the day’s coming to an end, what more can happen to me?”
I decided a train is a lovely place to paint.
And the guy who thought it’d be a good idea to sit down next to me obviously was wrong too.
Just as I squeezed a dollop of red paint onto my palette knife, the genius man brushes past my hand on the way to the seat.
Needless to say, his white shirt now has a lovely red stripe across the front.
And as I grinned stupidly and apologized for some weird reason when it was his fault he couldn’t use the plenty space there was across from me to sit down, he turns and says “sorry if I spoiled your painting haan beta, very sorry”.
Genius man doesn’t realise till then that he has a red stripe across his waist, which everyone is looking at and grinning.
I said it was nothing and merely packed up and got up to get to the door.
Best decision ever.
The luggage rack above where I was sitting, had a lunch bag on it, which went on to tip over and pour the poor guy who took my seat with chole-bhature and mango pickle.
Something told me that finally, the insanity had ended.
Oh, and by the by, the Museum is quite the romantic hotspot…And I don’t know why the portable public toilet in the garden area was moving, but I have a good guess.. Go figure…