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Improbable Deja Vu

Some time back I went to Manali, a picture postcard tourist town beside the river Beas. There I came upon a museum dedicated to Svetoslav Roerich and his wife, the indian actress Devika Rani. The museum is housed in their erstwhile home. The ground floor showcases replicas of various canvases by Nicolai and Svetoslav Roerich. All doors in the upper storey of the house are closed; but by pressing my face against the windows, I could make out the library, the bedroom and the study. It is strange, but this kind of voyeurism is simultaneously fascinating and repulsive. I felt like an intruder. As I tried to imagine how life would have been for the Roerich’s, sitting in the study or veranda and looking over Nagar valley, I felt a poignant lump in my throat.  A kind of philosophical sadness on the ephemerality of all things beautiful.

Thoughts floated up. What if they came to life as I looked on and went through their life as usual, oblivious of my presence. What if I entered into a ghostly time warp and became their guest for a while, what would they tell me, what would that be like. 

When one visits such places which were once alive with people, but are now preserved in the polished unchanging eternity of a museum, can one return without being touched by melancholy. Am I being sentimental? Que sera sera..

Categories: Totternama
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