Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Reflected glory

My mom paints. As in, does paintings. This post is intended primarily to plug for her website,, (which you should all visit). Advertising her site (even though she refuses to reciprocate, since she considers the personal touch "unprofessional" :) is little enough to do in exchange for her X chromosome and all that followed.

This post's secondary (but actually real) reason is to crow about a past triumph.

The event where those photographs were taken - Mom's art exhibition.

Which, despite all odds, we managed to keep a surprise from her...

The heretofore untold story of covert operation IJAE (Indu Jaggi's Art Exhibition) follows.

I cooked it up in a flash one sleepy night a few months before my trip home last summer. I ran the idea by my brother and a few relatives, who egged me on. I started the ball rolling by asking my aunt (the person on the right in the photograph above) to manage it. Which she did admirably in my stead (since this was my first trip home in quite a while, mom jealously guarded all my quality time).

Before flying home, I called up friends and family (who had most of the paintings) to arrange for a date for the exhibition and to ask for their help in collecting the paintings in one location.

And of course most of them immediately called mom and started hinting about surprises she'd be getting in the near future.

Luckily, I had an ace up my sleeve. I'd deliberately booked a flight arriving a day earlier then my parents expected me. After the initial shock, mom thought this was the surprise my aunts had been hinting at.

Then came the next speed-bump. I needed to travel about Delhi looking at the venues my aunt had suggested, but any unexplained trips outside the house had to be accounted for to mom; (after the surprise vacation my brother and I had arranged for my parents' 25th anniversary on my previous visit, mom was a very suspicious woman indeed when it came to unexplained trips I made around Delhi...)

Which is where my cycling excursions on the roads of Delhi came in handy.

Exercise, was my excuse. Which had the advantage of (also) being the truth. And, y'know, cycling in Delhi is actually quite fun. You should try it.

Of course, nobody could keep the big secret to themselves...

Mom: Huh - you said you were going to go buy vegetables - that took a long time! Dad: (whom I'd asked to help get some wine for the event) ... I had to go do something for you, but I can't tell you what...

... and on another occasion, phone chat with my grand-dad...

Grand-dad to mom: So, which paintings should we get tomorrow night? Self (hurriedly cutting in while mom had this quizzical expression on her face): Sssooo, how're you doing? Been a long time since I've seen you {and jabbered away}

... and me renting a cell-phone and slinking away whenever I got a call, which convinced mom that I had a girfriend (or worse, a boyfriend) she didn't know about.

Actually, the thing that came closest to giving the whole game away was, after these near-disasters, my extended family's decision to just keep mum about the whole thing. They took it to the extreme of not calling (otherwise they'd "blab all about it"), which mom took as a personal affront "my son's come home after this long, and nobody's even bothered to call and chat with him?" Of course, I'd been having daily conversations with many of them, but how was I to say that? That would have caused
a minor vendetta, but for the skilful diplomacy of my aunt. Who also did an excellent job arranging the whole thing.

And then came the day... we'd have to be out of the house for six whole hours on one of the hottest days in the Delhi summer, so that the paintings at home could be sneaked out. And then arrive at the exhibition hall at exactly the right point in time.

I bit the bullet, and asked mom to help me go shopping.

Well, the long and the short of it is it all worked out, and was quite a wonderful evening. Once again, go check out mom's website, and the art exhibition.

Here's something to whet your appetite.

And now here comes my faithful reader's comment to this post...


Blogger t said...

Yo director:
Been meaning to call for a while. I recently lost my phone book, so I looked you up online instead.
Your website has way more fun stuff now than pre-PhD-end. I like. A lot.
You know what else I like - shawl, and really awesome new cloth from India. Thanks. I love.
Okey doke. I'll be reading you.

9:07 PM  

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