Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Bharany Collection - at the National Museum, Delhi

I went to see the Bharany collection on display at the National Museum. The show is called the Passionate Eye, and it represents a small selection from the vast collections of R. K. Bharany, whose son donated this collection to the museum.

Even the loveliest of gems needs a sensitive setting, and I was delighted at the aesthetics of the exhibition. The dark matte background, and the subtle lighting ensured that the objects drew the eye, and you were led through a progression of themed items. 
The Bharany collection is actually very varied; so making sense of it and ensuring that the layout has a natural physical progression without confusing and repeating themes is important. It's like story-telling. Every museum exhibition is a piece of story-telling. 

I was looking around, wondering who the story-tellers were; the magic guys who had highlighted and brought this set of art objects alive. I was lucky to bump into Siddhartha Chatterjee, who designed the exhibition display and the graphics. He was kind enough to explain some parts of the process. I realised, very quickly, the enormous work and thought that has gone into A Passionate Eye. I could only understand a tiny part of the thought process in our ten minutes together, but it was a valuable insight. I would have liked to spend more time, just talking about the project, but you know how it is - the day has just so many hours, and I had multiple meetings lined up. 
In the photo above you can see one of the many highlights of the exhibition; a Rajasthani pichwai, with a Vishnu bronze from Kerala in the foreground. Siddhartha explained to me that in designing this section, they decided to go with a primarily Vaishnavite theme; but also that hidden in one corner were two interesting exceptions :) If you visit the exhibition, see if you can spot them!

A Passionate Eye is on view at the National Museum until 14 August, from 10am -5pm, all days of the week except Mondays.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rai-Jamun in the monsoons!

The jamun-sellers are back! Yesterday I ate these sweet, slightly sour, happily purple jamuns.
Woman sitting near National Museum who sold us the jamuns
The fruits were sprinkled with kala namak (a type of rock salt)... yum! Apart from
being delicious the salt also counters the jamun's astringency.
These are rai jamuns (Syzigium nervosum), not to be confused with regular jamuns (Syzigium cumini). Rai jamun is a different species that has slightly bigger, more elongated fruits. The jamun wallahs call rai jamun "ashadiya jamun" because it ripens in Ashad (June-July). The regular jamun is called "jamoa" or "bhadoniya jamun", and ripens in Bhadon (August-September). Most of the trees in Lutyens' Delhi are jamuns, though rai jamuns line the lawns on both sides of Rajpath.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

2:30 AM at Jama Masjid during Ramzan

Behind the Jama Masjid, the streets were still buzzing with activity at 2:30 AM. More photos to follow.

Photos posted here:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Taj Mahal view from a boat in Yamuna River

Some of the guys from our Delhi office went to Agra this week, and here's what they clicked from a boat on the Yamuna river. The Taj looks gorgeous, doesn't it?
The water level at the Taj Mahal this week is quite high, but when the monsoons really kick in, it will go much higher. The river current is not very fast, so it's ok for the boats which are still rowed by hand. This photo was clicked in the evening around 5:45 p.m.

Photo credit: Gaurav Jain,