Indian in England

Musings of a student

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Nice. Very nice

ART, or anything close to it, is completely wasted on me. That’s a known fact. Still I went to an art exhibition at Gallery 286 in London the other day.

I went because my friend Pearl John, the artist in question, promised me free orange juice and biscuits. Besides, she was using a bit of my text -- actually I borrowed it from someone who borrowed it from someone, but don’t let that bother you -- in one of her anti-war pieces, and I wanted to ensure it was showcased prominently.

Some of the holograms -- there’s something called holography out there, did you know? -- were quite colourful and exciting. I stroked my chin, looked at them from different angles, and said, “You combine text and visuals very effectively.” Pearl was very impressed and got me more orange juice.

I spent some time watching the artist. You need to be a good kisser to be a good artist. You have to be fast and be able to handle large traffic. In the three hours the private viewing lasted, Pearl dispensed at least 250 kisses: four kisses per person (two on arrival, two on departure), there were about 65 people, so you do the maths.

I also nosed around a bit, eavesdropping on the people who came to view art. It was very rewarding, and here are a few snippets of captured conversation…

AND the Artist stood by the door, powdered and polished and perfect, smiling and nodding and kissing, then smiling and nodding and kissing some more.

"Are we doing one or two?" said the Fly, offering a cheek.

"Always two," admonished the Artist, kissing him on one cheek, then the other. "That’s more arty."

MAN-in-Black walked into the cream-walled room with Lady Long-Skirt and seriously began viewing art.

"Lovely," said Lady Long-Skirt.

"Yes," said Man-in-Black, peering into the soul of a hologram. "Very personal."

"Very nice," said Lady Long-Skirt.

"Yes," said Man-in-Black. "Very nice."

"THAT'S all about her travel in America," said Man-in-Black.

"Yes, but what are those lines?" said Lady Long-Skirt.

"I think those are lights," said Man-in-Black. "Neon or something."

"In those colours?" said Other Woman.

"I think she photographed them from a car," said Man-in-Black. "Those are probably cars passing by. Or maybe lights. Neon or something."

"QUICK!" said Ms Pixie-Face. She had dark hair, long legs, and wore a black top. "Come here!"

"What?" said Mr Pixie-Face.

"Come here! It’s beautiful!"


"Take a peek!" said Ms Pixie-Face, leaning over the windowsill to lift the cream curtains and reveal a slice of the wet green world outside. "Isn’t it nice?"

"WHAT'S this?" said Lady Long-Skirt.

"This is from the Internet," said Man-in-Black.


"This is a blog."


"A blog is short for web log."


"Yes. It’s like a diary."

"Oh, I wouldn’t know the first thing about Internet."

THE Fly paused by the stairs at a quizzical look from the In-House Girl.

"Just going upstairs,” he said, smiling.

"Excuse me?"

"Going upstairs," said the Fly. "To look at the stuff there."

"There isn’t any stuff upstairs. That’s private!"

"Oh," said the Fly, and flew away.

AND the Artist stood by the door, polished and polite and pleased, still smiling and nodding and kissing, then smiling and nodding and kissing some more.

"Thank you ever so much for coming," the Artist said, planting two more kisses. "I appreciate it."

Don’t be silly and so bloody English, thought the Fly. Aloud he said, "My pleasure."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Life stops for no one

THAT girl in the corridor, that girl in torn jeans and blue jumper who flashes a smile and moves away: what does she know of me?

That girl in the front row, that girl with her hair piled all high who scribbles down every word I say: what does she know of me?

That girl at the door, that girl in a skirt too short for this winter day who mutters an apology as she walks in late: what does she know of me?

They know nothing of me. I know nothing of them.

They could tell me tales that would make me weep. I could tell them my brother died today.

If we did, perhaps we would look at each other for a second and say an awkward sorry before we went back to what we were.

He dies, you die, I die; life stops for no one.

Life stops only for the one who died.