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An Interesting Art Walk

Right.

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.

Really.

I apologized, and ran.

Fast.

Almost into oncoming traffic.

Again.

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?”

BIG MISTAKE.

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.

Yum.

Something told me that finally, the insanity had ended.

It did.

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…

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12 thoughts on “An Interesting Art Walk

  1. @ Mohini – i know! and yes you missed a great show, though Picasso’s works were 2 lithograph “portraits” and Warhol’s work was the Chinese dude..i forget his name…

    @ DirtyRhymes – Gracias! and yes.. i kind of am..never used to be, cos i was too shy and reserved..i credit Anisha with bringing it out, and gladly so… i love being a kid…it’s so freeing! *says Wheeeee just for the fun of it!*

  2. Dude! Hilarious account. Ive had days like this, and there just the right amount of prescribed drama that makes life interesting. I cannot believe i missed the show. Dali, Warhol and Picasso are like some of my gods.. And yes, The Museum formerly known as Prince of Wales is brilliant. Apparently, an SLR camera, and some colorful Goa type clothes, is all you need
    to be mistaken for a Gora. Believe me, ts hilarious every time. When are we discussing out project? Ciao!

  3. hey bro…Divyesh here….I dunno how good you are at painting, apart from the mural in Urmin’s house…but I’d say you’re quite the fancy one at writing…but yes…somehow, Cabbies, and going to town, does tend to throw up interesting ‘Days’…good to see you document it in a fun and throw-away fashion…and Yes, to all the other responses here, I can vouch for the fact that Zaiu writes, just like he speaks…with gestures :p…

    Divyesh
    vijaykar-natyagruh.blogspot.com( haha i forgot my login for blogger, but u can check that link, its my ‘old’ blog) :p

  4. hahahaha lovely… and as for such a late blogroll entry, i’m quite technologically slow, so please to be the forgivings…

  5. wow. I made it to your blogroll. gracias!
    ps. I might have grown out my hair and all….but i’m still ‘one of the guys.’ well, mostly. go figure.

  6. Hi Raj,

    thanks for reading, and no hard feelings whatsoever..well, Anisha and I are best friends, and yes, I have been inspired by her writing style among many, and being more of an artist than a writer, I’m still trying to find my own style. it’s another matter that i tend to narrate this way when i speak too..with gesturing for some strange reason…i guess it’s a little friendly competition, considering that we tend to have interesting days in our varied lives….

  7. hi jai. i have come to your blog for the first time and read your first post. it is very funny and well written. but i went to your friend anisha’s blog too and i noticed that her writing style is exactly the same as yours and she has written on dates earlier than yours. i just want to aks if you are inspired by or are you taking her style of writing. please dont feel bad bro i just am asking an honest question. it seems like you are lifting

  8. lol you should..makes life interesting…

    trust me i know how you feel…when my hair was longer and i’d shaved, i was once mistaken for a girl cos i was wearing skinny jeans and a full sleeve tee…go figure..

    i do draw and paint in the train..saves me time..and thank god it wasn’t oil paint..it was acrylic, which means that it’s a bright stripe that probably will never come out…:P

    Dali for King i say. Persistent Memory is the painting you speak of..brilliant…

  9. i’d listed out a buncha things to say as i read this (long) post…..it sums up to: un-fucking-believable.
    I should have days like this (or not.)
    gora, really? i’d be lucky. I live in an arab country. at this track meet i went to (and i looked like a guy at that time. short hair. humongous brows) some girl started babbling to me in ARABIC. sigh.
    next: you tried to paint….in a train. paint. in a train. jesus. so now that guy has oil paint on his waist. bright idea.

    and last but not least. Dali was a crazy man, if he was alive he shoulda ruled the world. the melting-watch-painting (forgot the name. it had a pretty good name) is brilliant.

  10. Okay, I have A LOT to write! Firstly, you were in such a hurry to sign out and I had to tell you soooo much about that exhibition!!! Especially about Pattrick Hughes and his mind-blowing work! I was absolutely dumbfounded when I saw that 3D painting..and btw, as I walked closer and closer, thinking that the painting was a flat surface, I banged into one of those blocks that protruded right across my forehead.And they purposely mentioned Andy Warhol, Dali and Picasso in all the newspapers to rope in more art lovers! The NewYork ‘collage’ was awesome.

    And yes, I was in love with that place haan..Viewing Room. Loved the ambience.
    And I cant believe the Lalit Modi story. Was he THAT stressed to not notice the most spellbinding work in that exhibition?!

    I couldnt agree more to “the Museum is quite the romantic hotspot”..I’ve noticed it a lot of times.*chuckles*

    And oyyiiiiiii..you mentioned me in your blogpost! *pulls his cheeks*

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