MF Husain died today… but for some he was never there…

Many years back MF Husain, was seen uncomfortably moving around our Art College¹ office courtyard… And our ‘art professors’ were seen peeping through their ‘office’ windows… it was our break time. I was sitting on the grassy lawns of our campus with some of my friends. It looked so uncomfortably stupid… here was this Art College in the heart of nation’s capital, and in here had come an iconic artist…( I don’t know the reason why). And no one was brave enough to go upto him, talk to him etc. During our lunch break all of us would be setting on the lawns, on the courtyard steps or in the canteen. We all watched this iconic artist strolling around uncomfortably… not knowing what to do.. maybe he was waiting for his appointment with some one..or he may had come to meet the principal or something…

Photo courtesy of © Pankaj Sharma

As I watched this lanky man amble around.. and all eyes watching him in awe… I decided with my friends to go over to him and invite him to sit with us on the lawns.. I went upto him, and he agreed and came and sat with our group of about 4 friends!! I still remember the peeping art professors turning red!!

By the way our art teachers made sure never to invite any of the ‘real artists’ from the outside world, ever to interact with the students for fear of their stature getting more dwarfed than from their already pygmy sizes!!

We all sat down and treated him as one of our friends.. he had no airs and spoke as one of us.. we asked if he would have tea and he readily agreed!! I ran towards our canteen… and reaching the counter hollered:

“Kamal (he was our canteen owner and chef!! who could rustle up lovely tea, samosa, bread pakora, rice, dal, kardhi…) make tea… 5 cups! Jaldi!!” and Kamal with a dour face replied:

“No milk!!”

 I shouted “Kamal we have MF Husain.. please!!”

 Kamal hearing this got equally excited and enthusiastically replied:

 “No problem!! We’ll make black tea.. Husain Saab loves black tea!!”

 So we rushed back with our black tea and had tea with MF Husain!!

 Of course I become more unpopular with my college staff… and had to struggle through my stay there for 4 long years²…

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*MF Husain died today (9 June 2011)?! 

But for some he was never there.. so the heading of my essay reads — ‘MF Husain Is Dead… Today?!!’ (2011-06-09) This blog was written when I heard the news of Husain’s death last summer. Indian Art Collectors (a well know art website) was kind enough to publish it then. The extraordinarily beautiful portrait of MF Husain was taken by Pankaj Sharma, also an alumni of Delhi Art College. He has kindly agreed to let me publish it here.

¹Delhi Art College, New Delhi, India

 ²1986-90