There was something that I had wanted to do for the longest time but for some reason or the other, it always took a back seat.
Determined to change that, I made a phone call, got all the relevant details and headed to Max Hospital.
As I took the elevator to the fifth floor, I asked myself what had changed? Why now? But I had no answer, all I knew was that it was important for me and that I just had to do it.
I told the nurse at the reception that I wanted to donate blood. “What is the name of the patient?” she asked.
I said that it was a voluntary donation. She seemed surprised but just passed a form for me to fill.
As I started answering the various questions I realized that one had to be really fit in order to donate blood. No antibiotics, no fever, no tattoos for the last one year, no heart condition, optimal weight, hemoglobin above 12, no long term medication, no addiction, no alcohol …. Wow! As I went down the list ticking various boxes, I just hoped that I would be eligible.
After signing the form, I was led to a nursing station where a quick, painless prick on the index finger would give them enough blood to determine my hemoglobin almost instantly. That done, I was guided to the doctor on duty, he went down the list perusing the entire form carefully. As he signed it and gave me the go ahead, I couldn’t have been happier.
As I lay on the couch squeezing a stress ball, I looked down at the bag collecting my blood, marked with my name and other details, I was fascinated with my body, the strength it contained, its power of regeneration, the amazing beauty within it and most importantly, its ability to help another human being, a stranger, connect to me, by blood…
To put up an exhibition is always exciting. The joy is not so much in seeing months of dedicated hard work being put up to be shared with members of the public, as it is the opportunity to meet people from different walks of life and hear their views and share a bit of their life.
For this show, I had the grand fortune of meeting some wonderful people from all walks of life… a trekker passing through Delhi, on his way to the hills, sharing his exciting memories with me….mothers with talented children, looking for some direction, a bank officer with the heart of a poet, an Orthodontist with the soul of an artist…
Each one pulled by destiny so that our paths could cross for those few moments and we could be more like friends and less strangers.
So here we were, a trekker, a baker (who had brought some delicious home-made oatmeal cookies!), a surgeon, some sundry visitors, all standing and discussing art and life, mountains and Rhododendron treks, when we were joined by another gentleman. As the conversation opened up, we found out that he was a singer who had sung for the All India Radio!
Seeing this motley bunch sitting around, I said, “Mehfil to saji hui hai, koi geet suna dee jeeye.”
To our utter joy, he asked, “Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar, ya Lata Mangeshkar?”
And there it started, an impromptu gathering of people from different walks of life, surrounded by paintings and Arica Palms and bird song, listening to an extremely gifted vocalist in the middle of an art gallery!
I think this is why I love having art exhibitions… It shows me that they are as much about art as they are about sharing the beauty of life!
Once a favorite
Skipping and fluttering
playing in mud, like me
In puddles, like me
In bushes, like me
So little worry
In their little life
Or so I thought
Even as they were
By callous mankind
Now they flutter
Only in my imagination
Little friendly ghosts
From an almost forgotten