Saturday, January 26, 2008


It's so silly putting framed paintings on a blog. You can download them from any of the thousand copies on the Internet. But I feel a bit of pride - I saw these Monet Paintings (and many more) with my own eyes at Musee D'Orsay. Yes, the originals. Almost a year back, 'How do we know' sent me a book. It was big and heavy and had a green cover. It had the complete collection of Monet Paintings. When I asked her about the heavy book, she lightly replied that it was her duty to hand the book to its rightful owner. I will never forget that favor.
Back in my childhood days, my father had a collection of art books. There were one's on Renaissance, on Toulouse Lautrec and many others. I remember fondly flipping through the pages. Mom had decided to go back to University and on Saturdays I would visit the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai and sit with the artists on the roadside, until Mom would be done with her lectures. I had painted deer on my bedroom walls and when headlights from cars would flash from outside (I don't know how they reached so high, all the way up to the 20th floor!), the deer would come alive. In the day time after school I would run to my friends apartment and talk about kung fu, girls and sometimes about paintings.
I don't know when I first saw his paintings, but I had learnt to recognize them almost instinctively. Once in San Francisco, at the Museum of Modern Art, I saw a photograph. It had a girl in a garden and they were having breakfast. And I saw in it a Monet. It was not his painting of course, but the photograph was inspired by a Monet painting. I asked the guide, "Monet?" She nodded. That was the first time I saw Monet.
Granny would say, an artist holds a mirror to the world. Does Monet hold a mirror to the world? That lady in the field with red flowers, her face isn't even complete. The boats sailing in the lake, isn't the lake up in the sky and sky down in place of the lake? Then there is the cart that trundles on the snow, the sky is brown and the trees appear blue with snow. The plates on the table take centre stage and the people are the background. The house of parliament a hazy shadow, the sun and its reflection hazier still. The little boy in utter darkness beyond the illuminated curtains and flower pots.
In Monet I see the world.
Elephant Girl

After a long day,
Of paper cups, keyboards and saucepans,
She notices some lines,
Pencil marks under her eyes.
She rubs the mirror.
"Sheets of paper cannot hide,
From an elephant memory."
She decides to think of the bus schedule,
The laundry list,
And other important matters,
While the elephant quickly hides,
Under the writing desk.


Vasu said...

I get the poem now ;)
And I am incredibly jealous when I look at the pictures now.

How do we know said...

i dont understand the poem yet, but u it must have been a day for you!! Congratulations on finally having seen the originals :-)

Thank you, too, for remembering that gift.

Aurora Sky said... i envy u for seeing the originals..n thanks for putting them up here...they look more real here than in wallpapers...
made prawn curry last week..thought of u :)

Oreen said...

oh u lucky guy...
btw, a molotov cocktail is a petrol bomb . . .

Life is a matter of virtue said...

hey...i saw the famous monet paintings way back in 1998...and trust me even after 10 years it still has place in my memory..i was so delighted to have seen them..send me more pics plz....

rajiv© said...

wow you lucky fella .... I would kill to see those paintings ...

Wriju said...

Yeah please become as green as a dollar bill!

Yeah I was ecstatic. I gotta go back soon. And I shall treasure that book all my life.

I made some prawn curry sometime back too. But I like it with coconut milk and I don't get it here.

Oreen da:
Now I shall remember the molotov cocktail for good :)

Thanks. I took the pics back in late October, and here is the whole album .

The Musee D'Orsay pics are towards the end (you will have to bear with some boring family pics!)

Hey you should come sometime...

Priyankari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Priyankari said...

Oh! Lucky you! I am really jealous of you! You get to travel such a lot!