Art attack

I am a philistine. Which is not to be confused with Palestine. Palestine is a country while philistine is a state, a state of mind. If you look up an English dictionary you will not be able to find the meaning unless you have a few hours on your hand because every year these dictionaries keep adding words to themselves, words from technology and words from Hindi because India is the only country that speaks English, the reason why all those call centres are in India. If you are thinking about the USA, Australia and the UK, well, the Americans speak American and the Australians, Australian. In the UK, the Scots speak Scottish, the Welsh speak Welsh and the Irish, Irish. It is too cold in England too speak and in any case, it’s usually the President of USA who speaks on behalf of England.
So who is a philistine? He is the guy who is sleeping in a classical music concert. Or the guy who sits on a bench in an art gallery because staring hard at paintings makes his head spin. Or the one who has thoughts like these at a classical dance recital: “Is the layer of make-up on the dancer’s face thick enough to stop a bullet fired at close range?” But most theatres these days have adequate security arrangements and it is difficult for a philistine to smuggle a gun in and find the answer.
So there I was last evening, a poor philistine, gun-less, at Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda Festival.
It’s a great festival, this Kala Ghoda and there were a lot of horses around because ‘ghoda’ is the Hindi word for horse and I propose it should be included in the English language and if all one billion of us vote online for it, the English dictionaries will have no option but to take it in. In fact, with the internet being what it is and people doing everything online, yes everything including ‘that’, the day is not far when the first American Presidential Election is held online and we, the billion and multiplying Indians, will have the deciding vote. Who knows Mr. Prasad from Bihar might become the President of the United States of America. After all, how difficult is it to capture a web site?
The Festival: There was one very realistic horse towering over the Festival, there was a horse made from twigs and there was a horse painted with chalk on the road. There were two more horses, harnessed to Victorias (buggies named after Queen Victoria but let’s not try to find why a buggy with a horse attached and available on hire is named after the late Queen). These horses were not part of the Festival. They were just flesh and blood horses with their flesh and blood owners waiting to give a joy ride to Festival visitors. The rates were negotiable, but not less than Rs. 150 per ride, a horse is a big animal and eats a lot and so does a big family dependent only on a horse.
There were sculptures of other animals too. There were a lot of sculptures, installations and photographs. In tune with the world-wide outcry, there were a lot of doomsday messages about the evils of industrial and vehicular pollution, global warming, rising oceans and of the fast-depleting forest covers. There was a classical dance performance. There were bells and whistles. There were arty things for sale. There was a booth pretending to be a photo studio from a village fair. There were children painting pictures. There were heavy words like ‘the artist expresses the dichotomy of urban angst and…’ There were hawkers selling books, bubbles, pinwheels and drums.
I, the philistine, paid attention to nothing. I had nothing but three cups of coffee and five biscuits since morning and was hungry enough to eat a ghoda.
Today, after a good lunch, I will visit the Festival again. On a full stomach, who knows, I may not be a philistine.

For more pictures of the Festival please scroll down.


  1. Loved the article! Reminded me of days when I read Busybee on the bus..keep writing

  2. ghoda is marathi for horse! hindi came afterwards. and you still haven't told me anything about the festival (other than there were a few horses and one philistine). need more with less digression.

  3. Agree Anita. Deven you need to stay with the subject you start off so well. I was cozying up to a nice report on the Kala Ghoda fest I missed out this year. As Rupa says, you do at times promise what BusyBee used to deliver everytime (well, almost!). Keep working at it Deven and we still love you and your work.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts