On TV two days ago, one of the news channels referred to 2008 as "The Year Best Forgotten" (or some such formulation). Well ... I don't go for that approach. It's hardly the fault of the year.
For me it was a much more sociable year than most: the Kala Ghoda Festival in Bombay early in the year, Madras twice, Finland, Boston, Rhode Island and Sayre, PA in the summer, Bombay again for the Crossword Awards, back to the US for a spectacular fall in Vermont, more Sayre and Boston, a final week in New York, then Kathmandu for the Cartoon Congress organized by Himal Southasia, then in December back to Madras for my Mother's 90th, to Bangalore and then once more to Bombay for my cousin Shashi's son's wedding -- and in the midst of all this, I was able to do two new lithographs and publish a novel! And several paintings in acrylic too, though most of them fall into the category I like to call "Not-Ready-To-Be-Seen-By-Anyone-Coz-They-Are-So-Hideous".
So anyway, from the mass of available photographs I culled a few to share here -- I think my favourite is the one called WINDOW BLIND -- it's from my niece's charming apartment in Boston, and I've been wanting to take a picture of it for ages. The pair of water pipes from Bombay are what can be seen from my nephew's equally charming 10th floor apartment in Bandra -- I found the view in all directions quite spectacular, like ready-made sets for several different kinds of art movies.
The family photograph is of my two sisters and my parents taken in the time Before Me. As part of Mum's birthday celebration, we created a montage of photographs from her life, accompanied by texts written by us about the houses in which we lived, for visitors to read when they came to the house to wish her. This was just one amongst many beautiful photographs. It has the quality that old photographs often have, of being graceful and well-composed, while involving very little artifice.
The gorgeous bouquet is what my friends Ranvir and Nandi Shah sent to my mother for her 90th. The glowing tree is of course from Vermont, where the colours were so spectacular this year that even local residents had to admit they were awestruck.
The hand with the ring is my hand, and the ring is just one of the outstanding pieces of jewellery-cum-art designed by Saara Hopea, wife of our dearly beloved friend Oppi Untract, also a designer, artist and superlative collector, who died this year -- but by a rare piece of good luck, only after we'd had a chance to enjoy his legendary hospitality at his home in Finland. Oppi gave me that ring as a keepsake.
And the peak ... well, it lives in Nepal!