Election daze

Delhiites sure know how to make the most of any given situation. With elections due later this month, their quintessential yearning to bend rules and get on with business seems to have found a perfect foil in “election frenzy”.

Unwilling to upset the “voters”, the Administration makes little effort to clamp down on unauthorised construction work. No wonder the city has been witnessing a spurt in construction works.

A friend who lives in a DDA colony in South Delhi was approached by a neighbour recently to join him in building an “extra room”.

When the friend asked questions about the legality of the proposition, the neighbour was quick to quip: “It is election time, no one bothers.” To re-assure the friend, the contractor who offered to build that “extra room” reeled off a list of houses where such construction work was either nearing completion or in full swing. And all of these houses had one thing in common – the assurance that it’s election time and no one would bother them.

Smriti Kak Ramachandran

Jamia shows the way

After it felicitated one of the finest Indian painters with an honorary degree at its Convocation last year, Jamia Millia Islamia has now dedicated a new art gallery to M. F. Husain.

The university opened the new M. F. Husain Art Gallery this past week on the first day of the “Talimi Mela” (Educational Fair) which is an annual festival of dance, music, debate, plays and lectures on the Jamia campus.

The gallery is a striking contemporary building designed by leading architect Romi Khosla, located adjacent to the Ansari Auditorium on the campus.

It was inaugurated by another leading artist, Satish Gujral, who said it was a matter of shame that the greatest Indian artist was not present in the country. He also commended Jamia’s move of expressing solidarity with the beleaguered artist.

The first exhibition to be mounted at the M. F. Husain Art Gallery is a collection of works by some national and international artists.

A message from Husain was read out at the inaugural ceremony where he said he hoped to return to the country soon. He also expressed his gratitude to the university for the initiative.

Parul Sharma

Cobra nights

Driving on the Capital’s roads at night offers its own share of surprises. Returning late from work over the weekend, a friend driving down the Akshardham flyover in East Delhi observed an unusually thick pack of vehicles moving at a snail’s pace. Driving further down and reaching the stretch leading to Samachar Apartments, the friend noticed that the traffic jam had given way to a sizeable crowd of curious onlookers murmuring nervously among themselves. Wondering what was going on, he looked out and realised what the fuss was all about. Surrounded by swarms of people was a black cobra coiled upright in a striking position.

Shimmering brightly under a car’s headlights that had been trained on it, the snake seemed in no mood to move.

Driving past the crowd, the friend managed to overhear a few words from someone in the crowd: “With the Yamuna floodplains still under water from the recent floods, it is not surprising where the snake has come out from.”

Manisha Jha