Tuesday, August 07, 2007


For quite a few months now, the building where my office is located has been undergoing a lot of renovation. First some overgrown trees were removed. Then the building got a fresh coat of paint. Followed by re-flooring, re-carpetting, re-ceiling and re-everything.

Finally, the finishing touches began. The landscape artists filled the mud patches outside with pretty shrubs. The cleaners washed the transparent-roof of the walkway to the entrance to a shiny sparkle Then, one fine day, paintings, sculptures and other arty stuff started appearing in the building lobby. It was pretty interesting to see the various items on display and the way they were being arranged and re-arranged till they (whoever the 'they' was) arrived at a configuration they were satisfied with.

Shortly after all these changes were completed, one noon, my colleague V and I were waiting in the reception area for some more colleagues to join us to go for lunch. I started telling V that I was surprised that so much money was being spent on the interior decoration of sculptures, paintings and stuff. To which V replied, "Oh, I asked those decorators the other day. They have not bought all that stuff. It is supposed to be an art exhibition. The items are for sale."

When I heard this piece of information, for a moment my jaw dropped. Then I burst out laughing, "Hahahahahahha! They have an art exhibition in a building full of engineers. They really think some engineer is going to appreciate it and buy them. Hahahahaha! Talk about optimism! "

Both V and me laughed some more and then started speculating about the terms under which the artists would have agreed to the exhibition. Soon, our colleagues L, D and M arrived too and we included them in the discussion as we all started walking out of the building.

Near the entrance, there was a basket like thing which had been lying on the floor for quite a few days. V looked at it and said, "Actually, I like this display." Suddenly L and me had a burst of enlightenment and we both simultaneously exclaimed:

Me: Oooh it is an exhibit! That explains it. I was wondering what that basket was doing on the floor.
L: Oh, I had been wondering why they had not thrown away one of the baskets they had brought the bamboo plants in.

On the way back from lunch, we decided to take a break and have a more careful look at all the exhibits. M stared intently at two paintings hung on the wall and then turned to L.

M: L, may I please ask you a question (M, being a non-native English speaker, is always super polite)
L: Sure!
M: Is this painting finished? When will they complete it?

(to be fair to M, the paintings did look like black blotches of paint with white scrawls over them.)

Then we all stood in front of a sculpture made entirely of Thermocol. It was rather cool looking and we all were examining it from all angles. At this point, D got a sudden gleam in his eye and said, "Do you think it will topple over?" And, in front of our horrified eyes started to happily rock the structure. The rest of us immediately backed away and pretended to not know him. D then stopped and said in a disappointed voice, "Oh, they have used wires to secure it. I was wondering how much force I would need to topple it."

Yeah, we engineers are big-time art connoisseurs, alright :-P!


Bharathis said...

Archu, this reminds me of a comedy in the Tamil film Pokkiri.

Vadivelu stops at a spot in a mall and asks:

Excuse me, what is the price of this painting of a monkey?


yov! It is a mirror you are looking at!

Mark IV said...

its not fair to generalize... the skewed up random stuff on the TVs that just wont play movies in the electronics labs was modern art...

the food they serve at office now still beats da vinci and picasso put together- we r still trying to decode it!

The Pilgrim said...

Yeah, we engineers have our own ways, I guess! I remember, once when we were at a happy hour at a local pub at work, there was someone at the other table, talking about how Lindsay Lohan had a pimple on her cheek as it was shown on the wide screen hi-def tv. What did we do! We discussed how much clarity HDTV's have and went onto a whole discussion of plasma and lcd tv's.

Archana said...

Mummy - yup I remember that one :-D!

Mark - welcome aboard! LOL :-D!

The pilgrim - Welcome aboard! Ah, another true-blue engineer :-)!