Museums. 2 On 1.

This is the first post this year of a new weekly initiative 2 On 1 of Shackman and mine to write on the same subject every Friday.

My association with museums started with a number of visits to the Government Museum Chennai. It was an annual ritual with martinet class teachers herding us around things we had no interest in. We would have been happier playing football or cricket instead.

In my mid teens, my brother Arvind and I were taken off on a short vacation to Bombay as it was then known by our uncle and one day, he simply dropped us off at the entrance to the Prince of Wales Museum as it was then known with some cash in our hands and told us to see properly as we were to be quizzed by him later in the evening. We dutifully went through the museum but more enjoyed the snacks outside.  Subsequently, having been posted in Bombay on four separate stretches, I had visited the same museum as an adult on several occasions primarily escorting friends and family.

It was in Hyderabad in the early sixties where the visits to the famous Salar Jung Museum became more voluntary, not because I suddenly became interested in anitques or collectibles but, because it was a place to go to at very little expense with my then steady girl friend. Further visits were also made to escort her relatives or friends.

In 1973, we were posted in Calcutta as it was then known and so I had the very unpleasant duty of escorting my beloved wife and a couple of her visiting friends to the Indian Museum Calcutta, the oldest in India.

After that came a long period of having nothing to do with museums as I was busy with other more important things in life.

Then came 1980 when I was transferred to Delhi and for the first time was happy to visit a museum voluntarily and with great joy escort visitors too, The National Railw Museum Delhi. I have lost count on the number of times that I have visited this museum, sometimes on my own to recharge my batteries but mostly escorting visiting friends and family. Given the opportunity, I would like to visit it again before I pop off.

We shifted to Pune in 1990 and naturally had to make the pilgrimage to the famous Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum. Another museum that had no special interest for me but I had to visit on a few occasions to escort visiting family and friends.

I have also visited some other famous museums in the West but because I had to rather than I wanted to. Had I not, on return to India, I would have not been able to answer knowledgeable Indians asking me if I had been to the Tate of the Metropolitan or seen the painting of The Last Supper.

I am now at that stage of life I myself am a museum piece and hence do not foresee any more visits to any museum.

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