Today evening, I went to an art exhibition in KL, a solo by a Malay artist Rafiee Ghani. Raifee is an abstract painter, the solo exhibit is based on the theme Homeland that relates to the phenomenon of people/communities being uprooted owing to wars or calamities, who have to take refuge and find identity in new places. Vibrant colours on large canvases seem to be his style.
I spent sometime at the gallery, enjoying the big pieces of work, among other strangers , probably art lovers. The feeling is really good, KL is growing on me slowly, and I am finding peace here. I was reading the titles of the works like , ‘ Yearning for home, No network, Peace below the red mountain’ , and ‘ Nothing is sacred’. It caught my eye, and memories rushed to a few years back when I had read Mr. Salman Rushdie’s essay/lecture – Is Nothing sacred? Nostalgia struck . It’s so beautifully written, I came home and searched for it , read it all over again.
“I grew up kissing books and bread.
In our house, whenever anyone dropped a book or let fall a chapati or a “slice,” which was our word for a triangle of buttered leavened bread, the fallen object was required not only to be picked up but also kissed, by way of apology for the act of clumsy disrespect. I was as careless and butter- fingered as any child and, accordingly, during my childhood years, I kissed a large number of “slices” and also my fair share of books.
All this happened before I had ever kissed a girl. In fact it would almost be true, true enough for a fiction writer, anyhow, to say that once I started kissing girls, my activities with regard to bread and books lost some of their special excitement. But one never forgets one’s first loves.