Sunday, 30 January 2011

Monalisa on my way

It was Thursday morning, when on my way to work, I was delighted to see a Mona Lisa grafitti on a concrete road divider.
In an age when art has become too alienated from the common man, I feel grafitti is our saving grace. When I say alienated I only mean it in terms of the common man and his exposure to contemporary art. I am sure someone who can wine and dine at the finest gourmet restaurants is abreast with the latest artists, maybe they even have a coffee table book or two. But what about the man on the streets ? His only encounters with art are the t-shirts,billlboards and other forms of  pop art. Grafitti in that context is in my belief one of the most relevant art forms. An artform that dares to rebel against the institution that modern gallery-driven art has become [ it is quite a generalisation, in my part, pardon to those few artists who still manage to be iconoclasts in this institution]. Graffiti in that sense is the true democratic art form - an art form of the people, by the people and for the people.

So no wonder a Mona Lisa on a road divider makes me smile.

P.S. Those who want to catch a glimpse of it, look for a an electrical meter box on your left on Panchseel Marg, New Delhi if you're heading towards IIT.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

saket life

For two months, till the year end of 2010, I had been staying at Saket in South Delhi. The place has changed a lot since the last time I stayed there during 2006-07. The new malls have shed the PVR plaza of its glory, which now perishes away in anonymity.
Many days, I would stop over at the coffee shop on my way back from work. This is a sketch on Saket as it is now, I made over two of those coffee sipping stops...

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tales of Winter

Winter is almost over !
It has been a cold winter, speaking metaphorically, rather than meteorologically (thanks to my cold-challenged physiology).

Without going into the gory details, let me just say we were flat broke. And I mean cannot-afford-food broke ! Anyway, now all that is behind us, thankfully.

The good part of passing through such winters is it strips you of all the "fat"; in my case , I had over the years, acquired quite a bit of social fat in the form of an extended social circle. This winter saw the circle diminish considerably, lot of people fell off, flaking like dead skin; some, came out of the blue and offered fire during the coldest nights. I had hinted on this on a previous post.

Now, Spring approaches, and you who fell, don't expect any calls from me..

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Facing the music..

Fate, it seems, has a sense of irony.

As the turn of events would have it, I am now smack in the middle of an area which is inhabited by my people, a people I inherited by virtue of birth to an ethnic group.  Now this definition of my people needs some deliberation. Is birth into an ethnicity the sole marker of a communal identity ? Is communal identity really so simple ?

Over the years, I have always realised, that I share more identity-traits ( for lack of a better word) with people who are supposedly not my people, people with whom I only share a long forgotten recessive gene, a tiny iota of my genetic history. This sense of belonging, has naturally over the course of time, gravitated me towards certain choices; each choice, in turn, building up my identity bit by bit.
This has of course, weakened my connection to the people who I am supposed to belong to. In fact, in a strange twisted way, I feel more of an alien among them. And, without eschewing any words, I can say, quite a lot of them have only reinforced this sense of alienation.

So far, I had consciously avoided staying in an area demographically dominated by my people. It is easy to be an alien among aliens, the identity clash is less in-your-face. But, as fate would have it, now I have no choice but to face the music.

It's time to face a crowd that keep reminding you that you do not belong among  your people.