TOUCH STONES

‘Yamuna, one of the holy rivers of India enters plains from Himalayan mountains at Paonta Sahib. Soon after the monsoon rains, while walking on the bank of the river, I discovered a stones- beach rising from the deep, cool flowing waters of the river, reflecting the changing colour of the sky. As the sun rose in the horizon, the first golden yellow rays fell on each of the millions of stones on the beach, defining the shape, size, volume, colour and the shadow of each stone. The play of sunlight revealed each stone's contours and its identity also. The stones varied in size from as small as a sand particle to as big as me. Perhaps every stone is as old as our planet. Each carry energy, knowledge and secrets of our planet, of our universe. Sitting by the side of the water, they are linked with my inheritance and cultural identity..

By the force of an intuitive compulsion, I started picking the stones that tingled my creative and visual instincts, some because of the shape, some for the colour, some for the texture and some, I do not why. Some had their fate lines carved on them. Some were cruelly treated by the river and some with tender care. Some had other stones embedded in them for a life long bond. The lines, the dents, the holes in the stones tell the story of their river's journey.

'I placed one stone on a large stone lying around, then another on it. I continued placing them till the pillar (stambh) of selected stones balanced one on another. The pillar changed the personality of the stones- beach, of its surrounding universe, visibly and spiritually. And the change had an effect on me. It gave me comprehension of my total being- my past, my present and my future. I became alive and one of them in the land of Touch Stones . I made another pillar ( stambh) in the vicinity, then another. I went on selecting stones and making pillars till the sun went down behind the hills. I became a medium for each selection. Each selected stone, I realised, had the capacity to change the world around me. I did not feel, I have changed the world. I felt the stones changed my world. The experience was sublime, one of participation in creation.

I named my installation, Touch Stones after Rabindranath Tagore's short story ‘ Parosh Moni'

I arrived at the ‘Touch Stones' beach next day morning just before the sun rise and captured the experience in every changing light of the Sun in my camera, to share with others. I worked on selected images on my computer to add my creativity to the images.



By chance, I read Charles Saatchi's observations on Art Dealers, Art Critics, Contemporary art Curators, Art Collectors & contemporary Artists on internet. I felt all the Art Dealers, Art Critics, Contemporary art Curators, Art Collectors & contemporary Artists should read these observations. I am placing these observations on my website.

Dealers
An occupational hazard of some of my art collector friends' infatuation with art is their encounters with a certain type of art dealer. Pompous, power-hungry and patronising, these doyens of good taste would seem to be better suited to manning the door of a night-club, approving who will be allowed through the velvet ropes. Their behaviour alienates many fledgling collectors from any real involvement with the artist's vision. These dealers like to feel that they "control" the market. But, of course, by definition, once an artist has a vibrant market, it can't be controlled. For example, one prominent New York dealer recently said that he disapproved of the strong auction market, because it allowed collectors to jump the queue of his "waiting list". So instead of celebrating an artist's economic success, they feel castrated by any loss to their power base.
And then there are visionary dealers, without whom many great artists of our century would have slipped by unheralded.

Critics
The art critics on some of Britain 's newspapers could as easily have been assigned gardening or travel, and been cheerfully employed for life. This is because many newspaper editors don't themselves have much time to study their "Review" section, or have much interest in art. So we now enjoy the spectacle of critics swooning with delight about an artist's work when its respectability has been confirmed by consensus and a top-drawer show - the same artist's work that 10 years earlier they ignored or ridiculed. They must live in dread of some mean sod bringing out their old cuttings. And when Matthew Collings, pin-up boy of TV art commentary, states that the loss of contemporary art in the Momart fire didn't matter all that much - "these young artists can always produce more"- he tells you all you need to know about the perverse nature of some of those who mug a living as art critics. However, when a critic knows what she or he is looking at and writes revealingly about it, it's sublime.

Curtators
With very few exceptions, the big-name globetrotting international mega-event curators are too prone to curate clutching their PC guidebook in one hand and their Bluffers Notes on art theory in the other. They seem to deliver the same type of Groundhog Day show, for the approval of 50 or so like-minded devotees. These dead-eyed, soulless, rent-a-curator exhibitions dominate the art landscape with their socio-political pretensions. The familiar grind of 70's conceptualist retreads, the dry as dust photo and text panels, the production line of banal and impenetrable installations, the hushed and darkened rooms with their interchangeable flickering videos are the hallmarks of a decade of numbing right-on curatordom. The fact that in the last 10 years only five of the 40 Turner Prize nominees have been painters tells you more about curators than about the state of painting today. But when you see something special, something inspired, you realise the debt we owe great curators and their unforgettable shows-literally unforgettable because you remember every picture, every wall and every juxtaposition.

Collectors
However suspect their motivation, however social-climbing their agenda, however vacuous their interest in decorating their walls, I am beguiled by the fact that rich folk everywhere now choose to collect contemporary art rather than racehorses, vintage cars, jewellery or yachts. Without them, the art world would be run by the State, in a utopian world of apparatchik-approved, Culture-Ministry-sanctioned art. So if I had to choose between Mr and Mrs Goldfarb's choice of art or some bureaucrat who would otherwise be producing VAT forms, I'll take the Goldfarbs. Anyway, some collectors I've met are just plain delightful, bounding with enough energy and enthusiasm to brighten your day.

Artists
If you study a great work of art, you'll probably find the artist was a kind of genius. And geniuses are different to you and me. So let's have no talk of temperamental, self-absorbed and petulant babies. Being a good artist is the toughest job you could pick, and you have to be a little nuts to take it on. I love them all.



INDIAN CONTEMPORARY ART & THE EMERGING FACE OF GLOBAL CONTEMPORARY ART

India is an older cultural identity. It is a small world in itself with many diversities. It lives amidst many time spans simultaneously... in the past, in the present and in the future.

Because of its geographical location and physical features, India has always been open to external influences, cultural attractions and interactions. India has the capacity to generate its own thought process and it has the flexibility to receive, imbibe and use external influences and cultural interactions to enthuse vitality and relevance in its creative human endeavors.

Indian contemporary art, after independence in 1947, has passed through a period of derivation and a period of retrospection, to arrive to mean, an individual artist's creative expression in his own, creative visual imagery. Both, the period of derivation and retrospection came into being as reactions to the prevailing situations. The compulsions of creative expression in the artist's own creative visual imagery evolved out of these two reaction situations and the expanding grasp of cultural identity, contemporary & global perceptions.

Freedom and democracy created a liberation hysteria, a desire to equal, even surpass, western standards of material and creative human endeavor. Artists coming on the scene at this juncture, were exposed, to the already established and recognised art directions of Europe & later American, mostly through reproductions and art books while studying in the British type academic art schools in India and not by direct contact with the works of art and the artists there. Because the Indian artists of this period had no direct access to the emerging contemporary thought process in the west, they fell a step behind the contemporary art scenario there and this one step backwardness could not be redeemed.

The application of the gospels of western art appreciation and reference in judging contemporary Indian art, further stamped this status. Each one of the western inclined Indian artists picked up the technique and the thought process of a western artist of his choice and began to revolve his work around it. Most of them chose works of those artists whose creative directions had imbibed Asian or African or Mexican sensibilities and began to feel themselves at home. Some fell for those western creative directions which they felt matched their angry young man or liberated or leftist personality image which they wanted to project.

During the west-attraction years, still in and out of their formative years, with wavering faith in their own thought process, many artists reached Paris , London and other art centers of Europe on cultural scholarships. Most of them returned after two to three years, converted. Some came back disillusioned. Some got married there & stayed back along with some others who had migrated there to practice art as freelancers. They got uprooted from the nourishment of their cultural resource.

There were many who did not choose to go. They adopted western mediums and techniques but searched for creative directions from within, around and from the ever regenerating creative visual resource in the country. They did not however close themselves from the world winds. They were sidetracked for some time by fashion wave and hearsay art connoisseurs and art historians. They persisted and became the first Indian Contemporaries after independence. When the creative compulsions and needs of expression could not be satisfied by picture-making only with borrowed ingredients, the Indian artists started re-searching indigenous and traditional creative visual cultural resource. Some adopted it in their work and some interpreted it for their expression. This period of introspection arrived because of the reaction to the western derived art and in search of an indigenous identity.

The exponents of the introspection, did not suggest withdrawal or isolation from the currents of the world art scenario. Some of the artists who had already established their creative visual identity in pursuit of western creative directions, chose to research their creative visual imagery for expression, realising the validity of introspection.

In India the creative visual directions of the past, present and future coexist despite a reaction stance that may prevail against any one of these. You will still come across adherents of Bengal school which was more inclined to traditional directions available in India and the East. Such tolerance and coexistence enrich and smoothly fill the gaps in the continuity in creative visual imagery.

At a given point of time, most of the artists work following the established creative visual directions. Some artists have a compulsion to explore and establish new creative directions. Near about the period of introspection, during seventees, some women artists, some self-taught artists and some prodigals, entered the Indian contemporary art scene, each expressing his/her creative compulsions and concerns in his/her own creative visual imagery. Indian Contemporary art, with all its faults, became Indian contemporary art, thereafter.

A confident and more self- reliant, second generation of artists after independence is now taking over the contemporary Indian art scenario. The scene has become very vibrant, receptive, open, exploratory, Indian & global at the same time, speculative & market oriented. One day in near future Indian contemporary art will synthesise itself to creativity & expression & its identity will emerge.

Our world, from the recent past, has started becoming smaller, more approachable and more graspable. It has started to reveal more and sometimes all. With the information technology advances and increasing speeds in the modes of transport, the rate of change on our planet has become faster and this rate of change will accelerate in future.

Consequently, a global face for every creative human endeavor will emerge. The global face of contemporary art has already started taking shape and can be sensed at the international contemporary art events, especially in the West. In these international contemporary art events, sometimes one is overawed by the scale, magnitude and the freedom of the creative experience, sometimes one feels intimidated, sometimes shouted at, sometimes, like a miniaturised disciple, listening to a commandment and sometimes one encounters altered contexts, human scale and placements. The creative experience appear to be celebration of material, technical virtuosity and sequences of the physical world. Most of these will exist till the event lasts and shall go into the information technology stores for existence. In these events, the conventional format creative visual experiences, hang in unobtrusive corners, like scolded children.

Artists will continue to use conventional formats for making paintings and sculptures. In search for new directions, sometimes sensational creative visual imagery, theatrical installations, ritual, information technology and altered biological code will be explored. In the international expositions of contemporary art, where a large number of artists from different countries will participate. More and more conceptual installation projects will be seen because these have better capability to establish the individuality of the creator and the identity of the work.

The age of art movements prolonging for a long time is over. Contemporary art in future will be an expression of an artist's creative concerns in his own creative visual imagery. His creative concerns will establish his point of reference in history and his creative visual imagery his identity. To be relevant, the artist will be under pressure to produce a substantial body of work before the world moves on.

Contemporary art in future will reflect an aggregate of the artist's local, regional and global consciousness. It will be relevant to the time and will reflect the perceptions of the future. Local, regional and global consciousness will enrich each other and start blending in many permutations and combinations to generate new creative directions. These will provide a balancing human factor and the possibility of immortality to the creation.

The initiative to shape the global face of contemporary art seemed to have passed in the hands of the West. The older cultural identities were playing a minor or no role in its shaping. One felt, when complete, the features of the face will not represent an aggregate of all human conscience and creative aspirations.

India , as well as other countries of older cultural identities, have immense creative visual resource available for use and interpretation in contemporary and avant-garde contexts. These countries and regions have been contributing their share in the World's depository of the creative human endeavor. They have the capacity to generate their own thought processes and have the flexibility to receive, churn and imbibe in their own streams of thought, the alien creative influences and interactions to enthuse vitality, relevance and contemporariness to their art forms.

West has over-utilised its creative visual imagery and is looking around for new inspirations and directions. Older cultural identities can provide inputs for new directions in contemporary art. West is required to alter its codes and references to judge and appreciate creative visual directions of the East & other older cultural identities. Such and similar happenings will keep the global face of contemporary art creative, human and alive, representative of our past, our present and our future. These interactions will help to rationlise creative visual tendencies, emerging on the horizon, to alter and use the nature's biological code for expression & to help man to make other planets liveable for the ‘Man'.


Universe, Earth & Human Race at the end of 21st century

I am an artist.

In the catalogue of an exhibition of my paintings, ‘Creating Space Amidst Planets' organized in 2002, I wrote ……..

‘I am placed in this changing world, which has just entered 21st century.

Man is going to crowd the world with assembly line produced products.

Man has become a suspect of destroying environment and our cohabitants on earth, created/ evolved for his evolution, help & for his existence.

Man has enlarged himself beyond this planet and is extending his reach in the universe.

Man will change the world from ‘natural/material work accessories' world to ‘biological/genetic work specific accessories' world.

In the ‘biological/genetic work specific accessories world' the artists will also create/ evolve their works of art using biological/genetic medium/ material … their butterflies, their peacocks & some their dinosaurs.

Man will rehabilitate other selected planet/ planets with these engineered biological/genetic work specific accessories suitable for evolution in the environment/ material conditions of the selected planet and start living there by modifying himself. Artists will design biological/genetic work specific accessories for him & scientists/engineers/ biologists will specify each accessory's evolution timetable.

Man has started to imagine himself as the master of the universe.

He is dreaming of immortality amidst planets.

Sometimes, sitting in my studio, in between the process of painting, disjointed thoughts about our universe, about our earth & about the Man, roam around me. I am trying to jot these down.

Universe is ever expanding & evolving.

Long ago Man lived in another selected planet of the universe. He evolved himself to suit the environment & physical/ material condition of that planet. He may still be living there.

From there he located Earth. His biologists/ scientists/ engineers/ artists designed dinosaurs & accessories for their survival on Earth, with inbuilt timetable for evolution.

Later the Man there might have, polluted his planet & decided to live on Earth. He thought, he could not live amidst dinosaurs.

He might have destroyed dinosaurs on Earth. He modified/ redesigned him & the accessories he needed, for his evolution & survival & for the evolution & survival of the accessories amidst the Earth's environment. For him, this time, his artists, designed butterflies, peacocks & ……, to give him company.

The Man on Earth may do some thing similar. Pollute the Earth. Make it unlivable. Search a New Planet, where he can evolve & live. Modify himself & the accessories he needs there & shift there'.



MY ART
My art is my personal creative visual expression, with a concern creeping in.

I don't remember any signs, during my childhood, which could have definitely predicted my becoming a painter-sculptor. I was the youngest child in the family. I was a lonely child who had adjusted to aloofness, enjoying it and hating it alternately. Living in a house which was amidst a jungle (forest), about a kilometer from the road from where, I thought, the 'World' started. From the house, a pakdandi (trail) led me through the jungle to the World and from the World to my house.

My first relationship in my life, outside my house, began with this jungle. I took the jungle in me through the window and from the terrace of my house. It tempted me and whenever I came out of my house, it engulfed me, as if to take the responsibility to prepare me to face the world. The jungle was never consistent in its behavior towards me—it changed its moods during the day and the behavior when seasons changed. The jungle, sometimes let me feel its love, care and indulgence. It provided me the cover of cool shade when I walked through it, returning from school in the hot summer afternoon— allowed me to explore it, let me climb the trees, pick flowers, listen to the conversations and the music of the birds. Sometimes the jungle taunted me, even scared me, — let a snake pass in front of me. It lengthened the shadows of the trees, allowed the howling wind pass through it, when I had to cross it at night to reach my house— But always in the end, asked the full moon to peep through the branches of the trees, slowed down the wind,— made a flower drop on my way— and guide me home on the 'paKdandi' (trail). Somewhere, sometime during this relationship with the jungle, I think, the desire to express was born in me. I had no medium at my command to express and the urge got buried somewhere.

Amidst my relationship with the jungle, the world began to change very quickly. The country was partitioned. We fled leaving the jungle behind. I saw a group of people killing one helpless person. I met people who had a compulsion for lying and who planned to harm their dear ones, friends and children, but were accepted as innocents. Urge to express came back and I took a conscious decision to express myself through the medium of painting and later in sculpture. The journey of my expression through art has been similar to the journey of contemporary Indian art after Independence — of derivation, of introspection and of discovering ones own creative visual imagery for expression.

I started as a painter but later included sculpture also, as form of my expression. This inclusion has not been abrupt but has evolved over the years. On the way, I started making hard-edge paintings. These were abstract derivations with ritual connotations. Third dimension crept in my works at this stage. Around this time, I felt that my works of this period developed an aloof personality of their own after they were completed. I became stranger to them and they, stranger to me. They existed, were accepted and I existed separately. I chanced making some figurative sculptures and found that some part of creative and emotional mine gets intensely infused in my sculptures. I no more became stranger to my sculptures. A togetherness developed and continues, whenever we confront each other. In our different moods and shades of thoughts, we communicate our and humanity's joys, sorrows, conflicts and emotions. I created environment for my sculptures to live and found they were content, more vocal and expressive. I provided for some, organic environment and they accepted it and started growing with the growth of the environment. A mention of my installation, Mankind 2110 (An alternative) exhibited in the Fifth Triennale India will explain the role of environment as part of my sculptures, better. A bronze figure of Devi (Goddess) with many arms, on a log of wood suspended horizontally from the ceiling, is walking to descend to a growing paddy field below. The paddy plants grew in height with passing of each day and swayed with the breeze. The paddy field provided environment and the sculpture achieved a total experience of a spiritual happening in nature. The green of the paddy field embarked me on the adventure of using colour in three dimension in company of my later sculptures.

Drawing for me is a complete expression and a vehicle to arrive at my sculpture and at my painting. My drawing, to me, is an assurance. I draw, when a compulsion ceases me. I draw more by instinct rather than by the tenants of formal training to draw, with any instrument or tool capable of drawing. The operation starts with a dot or a line or a blot created with the help of a medium. Then a coordination of instinct, fingers, holding the tool or a brush and the medium develops. During this process, a moment comes when a ray of energy flows out of my inner self, through my fingers to the drawing. The drawing is complete and I recognize it — some part of my creativity and emotion gets intensely infused in the drawing. The erotic in the drawings has symbolic presence similar to ‘Shivling' in the temple or the allotted location of panels of erotic sculptures in the scheme of the structure of a temple to guide the devotee, through indulgence, to fulfillment of life circle on earth and after.

My concern in the drawing, in sculpture and in painting, is human figure or human face. Elements of environment and concern, I feel, are needed to surround these to provide them context, stature, validity and contemporariness.

Programmed in me, I carry compulsions of my cultural identity. I am an aggregate of my local, regional and global consciousness. I am placed in this changing world which has just entered 21st century. Man is going to crowd the world with assembly line produced products. Man has become a suspect of destroying environment and our cohabitants on earth. He has enlarged himself beyond this planet and is extending his reach in the universe. Man will change the world from ‘natural/material work accessories' world to ‘biological/genetic work specific accessories' world. He will rehabilitate other planets with these engineered work specific accessories and start living there by modifying himself. Man has started imagining to master the universe. He is dreaming of immortality amidst planets.

Electronics media is becoming a super power and is taking control of our physical, intellectual and emotional responses. It is churning our cultural identities. It is influencing our needs and choices. Through the advertisements and the programs inserted in between the advertisements, T.V is researching, recreating and inventing 'Icons', as representatives of our time, life, desires, dreams and emotions. Celebrity has emerged as the most powerful and influential icon. One among many types of celebrity icons which are occupying TV screens is the super model in various forms of presentations. For many years an 'Icon', an elongated human form, most of the times a female, has been evolving to take the center stage in my creative visual imagery, in my drawings, in my sculptures & in my paintings. This icon resembles super model in content and in thought process. Its reach is from earth to heaven. It dwells amidst planets, presuming immortality, surrounded by ‘the assembly line produced products', icons of vanishing cohabitants of this planet and the icons which I derive from my cultural inheritance to accomplish my creative visual expression in my drawings, sculptures & paintings.


SPARKLE OF LIGHT

‘I am content choosing to walk, all alone, in darkness ,

locating, building and carving my own path, to walk on towards the universe ( Brahmand) 

of a floating volume of intense darkness, hiding sparkels of light.

Sometimes, a sparkle of light comes out of that universe( Brahmand) of floating darkness,  engulfs me and then leaves me rejuvenated, 

to continue locating, building and carving my path to walk on it in the darkness 

towards the universe ( Brahamand) of floating volume of intense blackness,

hiding sparkles of light'


MY DRAWING
‘DRAWING for me is a complete expression and a vehicle to arrive at my sculpture and at my painting. My drawing, to me, is an assurance. These drawings begin to exist independently and along with my sculptures and paintings. My concern in the drawing, in sculpture and in painting, is human figure or human face. Elements of environment and concern, I feel, are needed to surround these to provide them context, stature validity and contemporariness. I draw, when a compulsion seizes me. I draw more by instinct rather than by the tenants of formal training to draw, with any instrument or tool capable of drawing. The operation starts with a dot or a line or a blot created with the help of a medium. Then a coordination of instinct, fingers holding the tool or a brush and the medium develops. During this process, a moment comes when a ray of energy flows out of my inner self, through my fingers to the drawing. The drawing is complete and I recognize it —some part of my creativity and emotion gets intensely infused in the drawing. The erotic in the drawings has symbolic presence similar to Shiv-ling in the temple or the allotted location of panels of erotic sculptures in the scheme of the structure of a temple to guide the devotee, through indulgence, to fulfillment of life circle on earth and beyond'


NAIKA & THE TREE TRUNK

Last year, as soon as the summer started, I fell ill. I

shifted to the house Gogi's sister in Paonta Sahib for recouping because the climate is not polluted there, Himalayan mountains start from there, Yamuna enters the plains there & Guru Gobind Singh lived there.

‘While recouping, every morning, when the darkness of the night was about to leave and the light of the day was about to arrive, I woke up, went out of the house and sat near the mango grove corner of the garden which surrounds the house. The mango trees were laden with green unripe mangoes, each bursting with energy. I began to recognise & observe each mango tree, every mango and its ripening process. There was a mango tree with twisting tree trunk which looked like a human torso.

Without my being aware this tree trunk entered in the expression of my creativity, both in ‘drawing' & in ‘painting'. The tree trunk began to acquire & change its personality according to the needs of my creativity.

A mango tree, I saw, was a world in itself- a coexistant world. I began to recognise every bird and his voice who visited the mango tree to look for a ripe mango, for rest, to avoid summer heat, to voice his presence to attract a partner, for romance, in search of a safe place to make a nest, lay eggs and rear the children..... all these nuances began to enter my thoughts & my creativity.

Living in the environment of a cosmopolitan city, our eyes, our minds' and our hearts' responses become blured, insensative, selfish & selective. We stop seeing small things & happenings in our lives. In Paonta Sahib I began to see again...... even small living being living their lives on their own terms..... ants carrying a dead earth worm on the mango tree trunk, a snail crossing the courtyard, a ‘kambalkira' holding a mango with his hundred legs.

Away from Delhi when I expressed in my creative visual imagery, all the eye's & heart's intakes entered my creativity..... ‘Naika & the Tree Trunk'. The tree trunk has become as human as the Naika.... it has grown feet & evolved gestures.


IN SEARCH OF HOPE
We cut a stem of a creeper, and planted it outside our Studio. We wished, it will forgive us for cruelly separating it from the mother-plant and will accept us and the new home.

We over-indulged in the care, not knowing, how to behave with the newly planted creeper. The creeper was more rational.

It bore the pain of the injury and the separation from the mother-plant, silently. Even though, sometimes, our ignorant over-indulgence and curiosity brought discomfort to the creeper during the period of its healing, it began to believe in our desire and need for it. At this point of time the creeper might have resolved to sprout again for our sake.

Everyday, in the morning, when the winter Sun is small, red and distant, we would care the stem and watch it for any sign of sprouting. Some days, the stem looked dead and dark—some days, pale and lethargic—and some days, healthy and alert. The day would pass, reflecting the health of the stem in our thoughts, in our work and in our relationship with others, with this planet and beyond.

Watching the stem and caring became a habit. One morning, in the center of the aura created by the winter Sun, a small delicate leaf, fresh light green on one side and fur white on the other, stood alert emerging from the stem. We know, this act of creation happens, millions of time, everyday, on our planet, unnoticed. For us it was a miracle, we were wishing and waiting for and we beheld it for many moments, in ecstasy. For us it was a gift of life from the stem. For us it was a revival of our spirits, restorer of our energy and survival of our faith in life with concern on this planet.

A pretentious big bird with a plume hanging at the back of his head, descended on the railing near the creeper. He stretched himself and his neck in an arrogant self-assurance, as if to tell the creeper about his manipulative ability to decide—'who lives and who dies'. Becoming aware of us along with the creeper, the gesture of aggression melted into a pose of innocence. In a nervous hurry he flew to a group of other birds sitting on a nearby tree and pronounced that a creeper has taken birth on this planet and if allowed to grow, will endanger the bird community. Most of the birds believed him and nobody checked about the innocence of the creeper. We became scared and protective for the small delicate leaf. We created a protective fence to keep away the birds. The creeper consented for the protective fence and started growing.

The delicate leaf grew in size, a new stem sprouted and new leaves appeared. Every morning we confronted a new appearance of the creeper, more alive, more confident and sometimes responding and sometimes defiant. The branches began to spread to the need of the personality of the creeper. The protective fence was no more required. The creeper grew in stature to provide shade. Now the birds came for rest and for a chat amongst them, sitting in the creeper. The big bully bird's backbiting is now getting exposed. We worked in our studio and felt the creeper's reassuring presence along with us.

The tragedy occurred on a hot summer night. Howling dusty winds started. The creeper was new to this aggression and became scared. It struggled and resisted the winds. The winds became furious and sent a whirlwind. It tore off the creeper from the studio wall. We felt guilty. We should have prepared the creeper for this world— we should have provided more supports for the creeper to hold on. The creeper fell on the floor, badly injured and helpless. When the winds passed away, we provided additional supports and the creeper was carefully attached to these supports. Then the rains came—the creeper healed and forgot the hurt. We are now more watchful. The creeper has engulfed the total wall of the studio. Sometimes the creeper covers our view of the world through the windows of our studio. We trim the creeper to save this view. The creeper has flowered and shed seeds on earth to take roots.

Ours, the Indian and world existence has symbolic similarities with the creeper's biography.


THE FAN
The fan was as small as I thought I was and it had the personality of my father—sharp features, glistening skin–quiet and protective. It arrived in the house near my birthday, in May. Schools had closed, a few days ago, for summer holidays.

Summer days in our town were shadow less and white and deserted—you could see the heat suspended in the space. Long after, in the evening when father returned, one summer day would pass and he would bring to the hiding, the news of the heat— 'two horses died of heat-stroke, two old men died, one woman died, two children died'.

'If you go out in the sun, you will also die'— my sister would hold my chin and lift my face towards her— force me to look into her eyes— speak and walk away. Obviously, I was studying in the first standard—otherwise I wouldn't allow my sister to hold my chin. I can calculate the year— it was nineteen thirty-eight .

Just before it was dark— at about seven thirty in the evening— my father returned from his office. First of May— sheer logic— my father entered the house with the walking stick in his left hand— an awkward experience for the left hand to hold the walking stick— it looked amusing to me. The right hand held a table fan— his arm appeared stretched with the weight of the fan.

Between my father and mother— to talk was to quarrel. 'You could have engaged a coolie to lift the fan for you'. 'The fan has cost twenty nine rupees'— the words 'twenty nine rupees' were spoken loudly, prolonged and stressed in the hoarse voice of my father.

The fan was crowned on a wooden table. The family gathered around the fan. Standing by the side of my mother, I watched my sisters and brothers work the fan— turn by turn— switch on — speed one— speed two— speed three— switch off. My mother had no desire and was not confident that she could work the fan. I was sure I could work it but I was not even allowed to go near it. I felt, they were unnecessarily scared. I could see—not even my index finger could get in through the guards around the blades of the fan.

Next morning—the stars were still in the Towards our house—he is also exhausted with the heat and bored of the birds and their cries. I grow pale, stand still and I am scared—even though I know, the snake can't reach me on the terrace. The snake has reached near the wall of the room where everybody is sleeping. I imagine—the snake will go in the room and bite my sister—smile spreads on my face. But my mother is sleeping near this wall— I leave the terrace— run to the room. There is no place from where the snake can come in. Still I stand near the wall— when the snake comes in, I will cry and wake my mother. I stand there for a long time. My sister opens her eyes in sleep and shouts again—'why are you not sleeping'— I go to the allotted place and lie down—I feel drowsy after the watch— soon I am asleep and forget the snake. When I wake up, nobody is in the room— The fan is still on— I don't even want to avail the opportunity to switch it off— but run to the kitchen and press my face on the jali-door.

‘ Maa '.

From amidst her work, she tilts her face and looks at me and I set my gaze on her.

I want her to speak to me— I linger on.

She guesses my need for her— leaves her work— comes towards me— bends herself to be near to me and asks,

'You want anything'?

'Nothing'


THE LICHEE TREE
(A short story for the children)

Paonta Sahib is from where Himalayan mountains start, where Yamuna river enters the plains & where, long time ago, Guru Gobind Singh came & lived for some time. Paonta Sahib is now a pilgrim centre because of the gurudwara built in the memory of Guru Gobind Singh. During last summer, I fell ill. I fled from Delhi in fear of its unbearable heat & pollution. I went to Paonta Sahib and stayed in the house of Gogi's sister to recoup from my illness.

Jiji's house is surrounded by a garden of mango trees. Every day, when the darkness of the night was about to leave and the Sun was about to arrive, I woke up, went out of the house, sat in the garden, amidst the mango trees, facing the gate of the house. The gate led to a small bridge, over a canal, to the road which go along with it & connects the house to the world.

Early in the morning, first to walk on the road are students going to school. They go past in groups & some all alone. Some are in hurry to reach school unmindful of their surroundings. Some have to discuss and argue about everything before reaching the school. Some are not in a hurry to reach the school. They walk slowly, stop & see around & walk again in their own rhythm absorbed in themselves. Some carry small yamuna river stones in their hands & in their pockets to hit at the unattended fruit laden trees. Every morning, once or twice, I hear a stone hit a mango tree, along the canal, in our house & few unripe mangoes falling on the ground. After a moment's silence I hear two young feet sneaking in, picking the fallen mangoes & running away.....remembering my own childhood temptation for unripe mangoes, I pretend, not to be aware of these encroachments. Sometimes hearing the sound of a stone hitting the mango tree, Gogi's sister shouts from inside the house to scare away the children.

Opposite our house, across the road, there is a grove of lichee trees. The trees are laden with lichies in the process of ripening. An old bald headed mali ( gardener ) is the caretaker of these trees. Every early morning a family of parrots, father, mother & their small child, visit this lichee tree grove & perch themselves on top of a tree and start plucking ripe lichi fruits. They peal the skin of the lichi, eat the fruit pulp and throw the seeds on the ground despite mali 's ( gardner 's) shouting & protests.

Around the same time, every day, a small child, going to school, is tempted to stop on the road to absorb in him the drama of the parrots eating the lichi fruits. He also wants to pluck a ripe lichi from the tree, peel its skin with his own hands, eat the fruit & throw the seed with a flourish of satisfaction & the taste of the fruit on his tongue & in his soul, in the canal & watch these seeds swim away till he can see them. He is scared of the mali . The parrots also saw the child every day and felt his temptations and desires.

One day, the mother parrot plucked a ripe lichi from the tree, flew over the head of the child on the road & threw the lichi gently in his hands. The mali saw the lichi in the hands of the child. He shouted at the child & ran after him. The child ran on the road in front of him. The father parrot flew over the running mali ( gardner ). The moment the mali was about to catch the child, the parrot struck with his beak on his bald head to divert his attention. The angry mali stopped running to evade the attack of the parrot. The child ran to his school, relished the taste of the fruit before entering the class room & recorded the instance to the sweet memories of his childhood.


BIOGRAPHY - IN PERSUIT OF CREATIVITY

Ved expresses through the medium of painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, graphic print, photography, computer, limited edition books & writing.

1933 Lyallpur

1952 B..A., St. Stephen's College, Delhi University .

1957 National Diploma in Fine Arts. College o fArt, Delhi

1957 National Exhibition, Lalit Kala Akademi

1958 Nine Painters' group show, New Delhi

1960 Group show of the `Unknown'_ a group of young painters & sculptors.

1961 Group show of the`Unknown', New Delhi

1970 Member of the Exhibition Design Team for India Pavilion, EXPO`70' Osaka , Japan

1975 Third Triennale _India

1976 One man show at Kumar Art Gallery , New Delhi

1977-82 Worked as Chief of Design Division, Trade Fair Authority of India . Designed many Exhibitions in India & abroad

1978 `Pictorial Space'_ an exhibition organised by Lalit Kala Akademi

1979 `Smll Format Sculptures'_ Lalit Kala Akademi's Silver Jubilee celebrations exhibition, New Delhi

1981 International Exhibition of Small Sculptures, Budapest

1981 National Award for sculpture `Mankind - 2101', Lalit Kala Akademi

1982 Commendation certificate for `Installation" Mankind 2110 (an Alternative) and Mankind 2110 (The Second Alternative)- Fifth Triennale India

1982 Designed a bas-relief reposee mural in copper 6m x 10 m for the lounge ceiling at Surya Sofital Hotel, New Delhi

1982 Contemporary Indian Art Exhibition organised as part of Festival of India, London

1983 Contemporary Indian Sculpture 1983 an exhibition organised by Jehangir Art Gallery , Bombay

1983 Invited sculptor for parlicipation in the National Exhibition, Lalit Kala Akademi

1983 Exhibition of Works of the `Karu' group of artists at Baradari, Garhi studios, New Delhi

1984 Commissioner, Indian Contemporary Art Exhibition, Algiers

1987 Exhibition of Serigraph Prints - `Drawings for Sculpture' at Triveni Art Gallery , New Delhi

1988 `Work on Paper' - a group show of graphic prints of Indian Artists, Frankfurt , Germany

1988 Designed Citation Trophy for Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding _presented to Secretary General of United Nations

1988 Designed environmental & communication graphics for World Philately Exhibition New Delhi

1988 One man show of drawings and graphic prints, `Interior Gallery' Islamabad

1988 One man show of drawings and graphic prints, `Nairang' Gallery, Lahore

1989 Exhibition of Contemporary Drawings, CMC Art Gallery , New Delhi

1989 Group Show of Artists from Delhi , Sakshi Art Gallery , Madras

1989 Group Show of Drawings, Paintings & Sculptures at Village Gallery, New Delhi

1989 Group Show of Self -Portraits, Village Gallery, New Delhi

1990 Group Show Conceptual Self-portraits, with Gogi Saroj Pal at Artist Studio Gallery, New Delhi

1990 Group Show at Kala Yatra, Bangalore

1990 Group Show of Self-Portraits, Chemould Art Gallery , Bombay

1990 Exhibition of National Award winning works Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

1990 A Group Exhibition on the occasion of the visit of Nelson Mandela at the Little Theater Group Art Gallery, New Delhi

1990 A group show along with Gogi Saroj Pal at the Artist Studio Gallery, New Delhi

1990 Participated in the 9th International Exhibition of Graphic Art at Frenchen, Germany

1991 Group show of terracotta sculptures at the Artist Studio Gallery as complimentary activity to the "Colours of the Earth" exhibition organised by the British Council.

1991 Participated in group show on the `Year of Girl Child' organised by Shruti, the Art Gallery of Maurya Sheraton Hotel, New Delhi

1991 Participated in he Group Exhibition and Art Auction organised by Helpage India at Jehangir Art Gallery and conducted by Asprey, London

1991 Group Show Kunsthalle Maine , Maine , Germany

1991 Retrospective exhibition of drawings from 1979 to 1989 at Artist Studio Gallery, New Delhi

1992 Indian Artists in Dhaka

1992 The Expressive Line, Art Age presentation, Calcutta

1992 `To Encounter others'; An international exhibition of contemporary art at Kassell / Hann Munden, Germany which coincided with Documenta IX Contributed an installation `Mankind 2192 - Despair and Hope of Kalpavriksha "

1992 Display of installation `Mankind 2192 - Despair and Hope of Kalpavriksha" at Max Mueller Bhawan, New Delhi .

1992 Group Show with Gogi Saroj Pal of paintings 'Mankind and Godkind" at Artist Studio Gallery

1992-93 Group Show of sculptures 'Heads' at Sakshi Art Gallery Bombay, Madras and Bangalore

1993 Group Show of Drawings; Sakshi Art Gallery , Bombay

1993"Wounds" exhibition organised by CIMA at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi .

1993 Group Show organised by CRY at Maurya Sheraton, New Delhi .

1993 `More than a decade ago, the Artist's Choice'; a group show organised by the Display Gallery, New Delhi .

1993 Group exhibition organised by the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda for the cause of Maharashtra earthquake.

1993 Contemporary Indian Art , a group exhibition in Yokohama , Japan .

1993 Helped to conceptualise, design and edit the book on Contemporary Indian Art published by Masanori Fukuoka.

1993 Contributed an installation `Mankind 2193 - Despair & Hope of Kalpavriksha' in the 8th Triennale_ India.

1994 `Paintings in Weaving'-A group show at Artist Studio Gallery, New Delhi .

1995 International Installation Workshop and Exhibition on Art & Ecology, organised by Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi .

1996 Paintings & Installations at Art Today, New Delhi .

1997 Two artist exhibition of recent paintings at the Kal Art Gallery , San Francisco , USA , with Gogi Saroj Pal.

1997 Major trends in contemporary Indian Art after Independence , the exhibition organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi.

1997 `The Looking Glass-Self' a group show at Lakeeren Art Gallery , Mumbai.

1997 '50 Years of Indian Independence ' - a group show organised by Vadhera Art Gallery at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi .

1997 Two artists group exhibition at the Gallery 88, Calcutta .

1997 Masanori Fukuoka's contemporary Indian Art collection exhibition organised by the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi , Bombay , Bangalore and Calcutta .

1998 Artist's camp organised by Alembic Chemicals, Vadodra.

1998 'Uttarayan'_ Sculptor's Camp, Vadodra.

1998 'Unmasking' _a group show of conceptual self - portraits organised by Om Gallery, New Delhi .

2002 : 'Creating Space amidst Planets' was organised at Jamaat Art Gallery , Mumbai

2002: 'Creating Space amidst Planets' was organised at Lalit Kala Akademi, Garhi Artists' Studios, New Delhi .

2003: ‘Archival Digital Prints' at Crimson Art Gallery , Bangalore .

2003: ‘Archival Digital Prints' at Dhoomimal Art Center , New Delhi .

2004: 'Mango Tree Trunk & Naika' at Pioneer Gallery, New Delhi .