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Since 1st March, 1999
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Zarina Hashmi: Wrapping the Travels

Geeti Sen is currently the director of the Indian Cultural Centre in Kathmandu. She specializes in modern Indian art and has published several books on the subject. Her latest offering is Your History Gets in the Way of My Memory: Essays on Indian Artists. It deals with the works of Ganesh Pyne, Maqbool Fida Husain, Anupam Sud, Nilima Sheikh, Manjit Bawa, Syed Haider Raza, Meera Mukherjee and Zarina Hashmi. A number of celebrated names are missing, for instance, Satish Gujral, Vrindavan Solanki, Arpana Caur and a few more. Besides, Sen has not explained why pictures of circles and squares are considered works of art by experts like her. However, some of the artists’ works have been embellished with their poetic compositions, which read better than their paintings look. One example is Zarina Hashmi. While her drawings baffle the viewer, her poems bewitch the reader. I reproduce one sample:

“Far away was a house with Four


On rainy nights the ghost stopped by

the pillar

The black snake came in the house

On long summer afternoons

everyone slept

I run outside to play and burn my


One night we heard the owl in the


The one-eyed maid said we would

have to move far away.

Pak invasion

Last month, there was an invasion of visitors from Pak. I do not use the country’s full name, Pakistan, or the derogatory Paki but I use Pak because it is pure and full of warmth. I welcomed my visitors with open arms, particularly Asma Jahangir, who is Pakistan’s loudest voice clamouring for closer relations with India

I am of the opinion that instead of requiring visas, both countries should have entry-permits, which can be filled at entry points, stating purpose and length of the visit. And the visitor be allowed free entry.

I put this suggestion to Asma and she fully endorsed my suggestion. Relations between us and Pakistanis should be most cordial and exemplary for neighbouring countries. If Canada and the United States of America can live as good neighbours, so can Indians and Pakistanis — as brothers with no misunderstandings.

Naked fashion

There was a time when

Men and women on earth

Went about naked, as at birth.

To make cloth man took ages;

Then came the clothes, tell history’s


And then quietly sneaked in


The grace of clothes to heighten.

But it proved to be the Arab’s camel,

Who first solicited for his snout

And finally pushed the Arab out.

So now we see little of cloth or


Naked fashion struts on ramp and


(Contributed by J.C. Metha, Delhi)

Speech defect

I was travelling by air from Amritsar to Delhi. Because of heavy fog, the plane was unable to land and kept hovering over Delhi for a long time. The public address system kept saying that the plane was in the outskirts of Delhi and would land shortly.

Fed up with the repeated announcements, my fellow passenger, who was a sardarji, called the air-hostess and shouted: “When would we enter the ‘inskirts’?

The lady was stunned and speechless.

That was easy

The chairman on the interview board asked the candidate: “Give me the full form of the name, OBC bank.”At this, the candidate answered: “Other Backward Classes Bank.”

(Contributed by K.J.S Ahluwalia, Amritsar)