In our desperation and a slight bit of restlessness, Gautam and I would go for the late night walks and sit down near any one of the graves near our student housing in St Hanshaugen, Oslo. We would talk about our mutual friends in Delhi, discuss the movies we had seen and sometimes just think and share what would we want to do the next day. Gautam is a good painter. These discussions usually went on for hours at times. We both were looking for our next fellowship/job those days. He used to have better clarity of thought than me. He would paint in his room, and I would watch him do that. We would also share movies we have recently watched. Sometimes we would take a sip or two of Martini and get back to watching a movie or doing something random. He introduced me to the unseen part of Oslo art circle, and I attended many of those exhibitions. I got to meet many interesting and aspiring artists living and trying their luck in Oslo those days. I visited some of them as well. We would talk about the times when painters and artists used to get commissioned to work, and compared it with the current situation. I was more of a friend than an artist, so our commonalities would vary. But we were okay with all of that. Interesting, weird and at times quite thoughtful conversations evolved. We did talk about the Labour Day, and Van Gogh and Munch and a lot of unknown people who I still do not know much about. Our conversations ranged from talking about a small village in France to some market in Himachal Pradesh. They would tell me how easy it is to learn European languages whereas I tried to tell them about sociological and political theories.
I came back from Norway, leaving that group of friends to their struggles with them, and started to find out new ways to question my desperation and an unknown restlessness. It was Mandi House, New Delhi where I met Aakshat a couple of years ago when I had shifted to Delhi to find a job. Things were not exactly great for me. We would meet at the Russian Culture Centre and then have tea, talk about his work (mostly I would listen). Slowly, I found myself in another art circle in Delhi, in which many were trying to find their way to reach a level they felt they deserved. Yes, selling art is difficult but I must admit the challenges in Oslo for those artists were no less difficult than for my new friends here in Delhi. There is a crematory near my house in Delhi as well. Sometimes I have walked past it but I never sat down there with another Gautam. I am still looking for my next fellowship/job, but I do not watch those many movies now. There are discussions around art and science and maths and politics; I find myself being more of a listener than speaker these days. I have written a book on art and am working on the next one now. In between all this, I took part in promoting my friend Sukant Khurana’s art (with his exhibition “From Creative Destruction to Destructive Creation”, and now am actively writing about “The Drifting Canvas” where Aakshat is the curator for the Indian contemporary art scene and works of artists like Prasanta Kalita, Kali Charan Gupta, Kanchan Chander, Sukant and many others are to be on display. Not sure, if there was a point in telling all of this. But hey, art at times is to keep the artist at ease with himself. Just know that art is highly rated because it can cure many evils (within us and between us).