The Museum and Continuity

“What is there to see in a museum?” an acquaintance once inquired.

For quite some time I have been trying to conjure an articulate response; I present before you my humble attempt at an abstract explanation of what I experience in the museum, that which might not be visible but certainly felt .

I visit the National Museum to lose myself, only to be found again in the company of inspiration.

For here resides something much greater than all of us, overwhelmingly greater;

In this museum resides life, and life itself is the greatest inspiration of all!

Life in narratives, life in creation;

Life in the quest to go on, which somehow never halts.

And these expressions of the different aspects of life move endlessly across the vast span of time, I would stop at some point, you would, but creation won’t.

The fact that thousands of years ago someone had thought of the wheel, that as humans we respond to our environment and our needs, it makes me question the arrogance of owning creation, when do we create solely on our own? I feel humbled by this continuity, and also by those invisible threads that run throughout the different galleries and connect those tangible expressions of plurality.

This acceptance makes me want to break free from my shackles of ignorance and complacence, makes me want to know more, bit by bit, from sculptures to musical instruments, from Kings’ courts to mythologies, from survival to leisure.

On some days, I feel the urge to run through the corridors where the sunlight seems to be welcoming change. No wonder Surya (the Sun God) is worshipped in almost all civilizations.

I find it awe-inspiring to be in the midst of evidences of the extremes of human passion and creativity, of gentleness and fierceness, of love and war, of birth and death.

As I walked through the Harappan Civilization Gallery today, I saw a beautiful elderly couple standing speechless and gazing at the “Dancing Girl”, a sculpture they must have read about as children. They saw it in real, and that moment must have been like a lifetime of discovery.

This is the power of the museum; it is just as inspirational as it is nostalgic. It gives each one of us, some form of belonging, some form of hope, to stay forever intrigued. This space for me is now home forever.


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