The Art of India


Some years ago, I was sitting in the back seat of a taxi in Bengaluru. It was midday when the light is thin and bullying. I was only half paying attention. As luck would have it, I looked up for an instant and saw Superman whiz by. What followed was one of those moments where your mind, so much slower than your eye, tries to make sense of what it thinks you just saw. “Superman. On the outskirts of Bengaluru? Okay.”

I asked the taxi driver to take a U-turn and go back to the spot where I’d seen the superhero. And sure enough, after about 100 metres, we rolled up alongside Clark Kent in his cape.

I slowly got out of the taxi, drawn magnetically towards the wall on which Superman stood. Like the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey who gape and dance in wonder at the strange plinth that has landed among them, I gawped at the scene before me. Like the apes, I wanted to touch this strange thing but was nervous I might get shooed away. I was at an artist’s workshop and didn’t want to be unceremoniously run off the lot.

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