“Real museums are places where Time is transformed into Space.”
― Orhan Pamuk,
Living in Indore since 8 years, I never saw the Central Museum. People around thought it was a joke when I requested them to take me there. They didn’t find it worth it. Eventually, I stopped asking and then life with its daily routine took over. However, that lingering thought remained. The thought of missing something even if it didn’t yield anything solid kept rearing from time to time. So this Sunday on 11th September, 2016, I floated the idea of visiting the museum to all the #konversationalists. Firstly, we were to meet at a cafe and then head to the museum.
We all met at The Nest Cafe. Their 2nd anniversary celebrations were going on and we felt completely at home in the cafe we loved. Our group of konversationalists ranged from students to entrepreneurs and we were an eclectic bunch of people who shared the common bond of books, writing and arts. Our meetup threw in a lot of discussions and sharing on life, goals, books, music, events and even entrepreneurship.
It seemed that we had so much to pour out… time seemed to just slip off! Then we had to set out to the museum. And what did we see?
Noticed the sculptures on the right below side of the images above? They maybe broken but they’re beautiful.
All left to be exposed to the elements of the nature. Each one is a delight to watch. Each line, each shape. None of these were marked. Just the names. No story. Notice the Hanuman sculpture? He carries a dagger. Who’s the person he’s killing? I had to google to know and guess what it must be.
This could be the explanation:
Akṣaya_kumār (Sanskrit: अक्षयकुमार) was the youngest son of Ravana and the brother of Indrajit. In the Ramayana, When Hanuman started destroying Ashoka Vatika after talking to Sita, Ravana sent him at the head of a Rakshasa army to take care of it. It is mentioned in the Ramayana that when the news of Hanuman‘s destruction of Ashoka Vatika reached Ravana’s Court, Ravana looked at his young son, Akṣayakumār. A warrior of just sixteen, he took the gaze of his father as his command and left for battle in his flying chariot. He fought valiantly with Hanuman, aiming various weapons at him. Though highly impressed by the young prince’s valor and skills, finally Hanuman had to kill him.
The red brick stone is a replica of some temple (there were no footnotes to understand what it was). The reclining Vishnu is usually shown in the side reclining position. Here he’s shown to recline straight. Why? We needed to unearth that. The Boar or Varaha is one of the forms of Vishnu. However we wanted to know about the carvings on the boar’s body and couldn’t understand it. The legend goes as….
Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of a Boar in order to defeat Hiranyaksha, a demon who had taken the Earth (Prithvi) and carried it to the bottom of what is described as the cosmic ocean in the story. The battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksha is believed to have lasted for a thousand years, which the former finally won. Varaha carried the Earth out of the ocean between his tusks and restored it to its place in the universe. Vishnu married Prithvi (Bhudevi) in this avatar.
It is to be noted that the Varaha Temple at Khajuraho has similar sculpture of Varaha that’s colossal and monolithic.
The sun god sculpture in its basic form without intricate engravings caught my attention. The another thing I loved was the writing style as shown in the middle image. Looks so beautifully styled! The third image looks Grecian and medieval in nature. It looks like a western influence on our sculpture style. (I might be wrong)
Did you notice I was guessing everything? Well, the pitfall of visiting the museum was:
- The footnotes were hardly legible in most places. In many places they were over written making it distracted look
- There was no one to guide us about the history of the place
- Nothing was put in chronological order. starting from the present to past or other way. All things were randomly put as if they were unloaded from truck and directly put up there
- Incomplete information in display cases. Pictures too didn’t yield any explanation.
The best part?
- We explored
- We tried to find out
- We infered with our limited knowledge
- We tried to logically deduce the meaning
In short it got us thinking, guessing and fired up to known more about the whys and the hows of each piece.
Ok, Let’s compare this: UAE didn’t have a rich cultural heritage like us; yet they created a cultural district Saadiyat Cultural District near Abu Dhabi with the replica of Guggenheim Museum. It’s a beautiful one and look at our museums… they’re dying for want to attention!
The question is –
Did I enjoy? Yes! I did.
Will I go back? Of Course! and with a historian too probably! 🙂
Why will I? Didn’t you realize that what’s not there has to be filled up in the gaps and the space shall soon be alive, does it matter whether we have something or not? We go ahead with whatever we have and can get.