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A day at the museum

Deep inside the whispers of a vast museum hall
Silent rows of chairs awaited the resounding call
Escaped to the ivory to learn of origins beyond elephant tusk
Likewise walruses, narwhals, hippopotamuses to contrast dusk
Beauty and durability inspired elaborate carvings by talent anew
At the cost of sacrificing the wild, manifest class distinction grew

Suddenly we knew the moment arrived in the neighboring corridor
Thus emerged from chiseled camels, crosses, cherry blossoms galore
Emptiness no longer externalized as murmurs matured to rumbling
Idling at the crowd periphery harvests a fulfilled void mumbling
Gathering constituents glued their gaze forth to the wooden clock
Pondering what would she tell us, and just how would she tock?

We assembled, we anticipated, we archived the day
With esteem for this gifted life we proceeded, “come what may…”
Confidently she bellowed instructing us with authority to rise
Scurry we must, diverging to investigate what ahead of us lies
Coursing through the ivory we remember what cannot be forgotten
That precious goods and services are just that – judging is rotten

Reaching the ‘walking sticks,’ a sure 17th and 18th century staple
Encased neatly they stood tall, proud to be chestnut, oak, maple
A weapon for the young but for the elderly another reason
As the shepherd guides his sheep, a loyalty not knowing treason
Defying herd mentality individualization sprung
Studded with rubies, rabbits, ryes, a peculiar memo flung

Next an intimate gallery displaying modern Indian art looking older
A vibrant portrayal of a curvy sari-draped female on canvas is bolder
Followed by a dimmer series of Pahiri paintings, the tradition of Himalayan foothills
Notwithstanding ‘Golcanda standing yogini’ with a poise and stare that nearly kills
Utility ware from ewer and tumbler to spice box, metal toy, and even water pot
An array of artistries delivering sustenance to those with memories to soon jot

Straddling the East and West lay a narrative on the festival Bonalu
Honoring the Mother Goddess from July to August by those Hindu
A celebration each Sunday of chanting, carnations, and chickens polishes the lens
Communities joining for ‘bonam,’ and practicing ‘prasad’ by which to cleanse
We then traveled to Japan with blue and white vases standing tall and proud
All in all, innumerable years and places with tales of trial and triumph rang loud

The above describes a visit to the Salar Jung Museum on the southern bank of the Musi river in Hyderabad.  Especially of interest was the exhibit on the Bonalu Festival which is ongoing in Hyderabad and Secunderabad.  Certainly explains much of what we experienced last weekend at Golconda Fort (“where the rocks speak to you!”) – included below are a few shots capturing the traditions of Bonalu.

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One comment on “A day at the museum

  1. Patrick Kelly says:

    Hi Lauren – Fantastic blogs! I loved each of them. One of our Gurgaon based employees that I am friends with used to work in Hyderabad. He volunteered his contact information, including mobile numer, if you need any help, advice, suggestions, etc. Please let me know if you want his information and I will pass it on. Keep up the blogging and can’t wait to see you again. Love, Dad

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