Museum of Illusions

‘Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.’ This famous quote by Albert Einstein can be found on the walls of the newest museum in town- The Museum Of Illusions. Situated in the heart of Delhi- Connaught Place, right above the iconic Wenger’s.

The concept is highly unusual-to teach you more about your brain. About how we perceive things, and how easy it is to miss the tiniest details. From Visual Illusions, that play with your retinal sensitivity, to size illusions, to Kaleidoscopes, to 3 D images, to Upside down rooms, the tricks will leave you bewildered. The 50 illusions that are part of the exhibit have been studied by some notable physicists and psychologists like Ehrenstein and Jastrow. Hence, they would be of great interest to anybody with an inclination towards science or the arts. For six hundred and ninety rupees, you get an hour of brain twisters and fabulous imagery.

Since, one navigates the city, primarily by oneself, as soon as I entered the space, for a fraction of a second I regretted going alone. But the staff was so attentive, that they immediately figured out I would need some assistance, as selfies don’t work with the tricks. So, all my pictures were taken by the crew: mostly by Neeraj who accompanied and took pictures of me, while giving me a guided tour. Since, the cases are spiking, the museum is very strict about COVID protocols and the only time people are allowed to remove their masks is when pictures are being taken. So take your kids, a date or just yourself without hesitation.

The museum in Delhi, is the first of its kind in India. The backgrounds used here, have local references- from a picture of Gandhi to a backdrop of CP. Initially, it opened up in Zagreb, Croatia in the year 2015 and now there are around thirty such museums around the world in – Athens, New York , Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Riyadh etc. I hear, Bangalore and Bombay, too, will be getting their very own Museums of Illusions.

Happy V day-Mein Swag Se Sol

SB looks at the cake and flowers and has no reaction. ‘Bachke rehna re baba, bachke rehna re!!’, she tells herself. ‘Hi baby! I love you. Happy Valentine’s Day!’ she yells excitedly as she plants a kiss, on the only person, who she doesn’t look at with suspicion.

‘Dead, you’re dead inside!’ , SC tells her. ‘ You ‘re too dramatic…songs make you howl…forget the men…the songs that remind you of people make you cry. Please sleep for a decade. You can take over at 50.’ Their tussles begin in the morning and go on throughout the day. For the past few years, SB has won most of them.

She zips to Noida and races with a cutie on the DND. Sex on V day? No! Adrenaline rush ( orgasmic) from racing? Hell, yeah! It’s funny how we hide our true selves, under so many layers and yet the smallest things, betray us, to reveal who we are. The bookshelf- shows ours interests, the way we dance-how we are in bed, the way we drive- our attitude and of course our eyes, the damned eyes- exactly how we feel.

A day spent, splitting time between the studio and the father’s work, in the evening lots of presents are bought for the baby, to cheer her up. After kisses and cake cutting, one heads for some ‘me time’. If you think watching a movie alone is problematic, try watching one alone on V day. You’ll end up raising more eyebrows than you can imagine. From the guy at the ticket counter, to the guard who is supposed to hand out roses, everyone seems surprised. But we are swag se solo!

The movie is amazing, not just because it won the Oscar, for best film. The way the two families are portrayed, is rather interesting. The smell, the rain, lovely. Two contrasts, in the extrinsic world, the duality within. Hmm.

A drink and a few conversations later, V day is over. Until next year, SB shall keep love at bay. Unless of course she finds a Howard Roark or a Thomas Crown, who says, ‘ Here’s to the fear of being trapped!’

Solo Date #53-Rameswaram

Solo Date#11-Sakley’s Mountain Cafe.

Sakley's Mountain Cafe

As another year comes to a close and one finds ones self wishing for a few ‘mask -free’, days. I head out for a quiet evening to Sakley’s in Greater Kailash-1. The staff is polite…the food fabulous and no disturbs me, as I sip on my Sangria. Well, other than my phone which buzzes every few minutes, with different people wanting to have various conversations. Next time, no phone on solo dates!

Found this treasure on the table- ‘ My solitude is not my own, for I see now how much it belongs to them-and that I have a responsibility for it in their regard, not just in my own.It is because I am one with them that I owe it to them to be alone, and when I am alone they are not ‘they’ but my own self. There are no strangers.- Thomas Merton.