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Picture this

THERE'S PERKINESS in her gait as she glides up the stairs. Mollie Cherian makes up for her diminutive size by displaying oodles of energy and vim. It stems from an empathy that she shares with her husband Kandathil Koshy Cherian. Kandathil loves pictures. Wife Cherian has made that her business too. Kandathil has been pursuing this interest that was ignited almost a decade ago when he retired as a metallurgist from the city-based Indian Aluminium Company. Now with time hanging heavy, Kandathil sorted out and pored over his picture collection that he had built over the years. But at the end it didn't amount to much. His sons pitched in. They sent him pictures taken from museums across the world, wherever their jobs took them. Themselves well travelled; Mollie and Kandathil enriched their albums during trips abroad. However, most are prints compiled from magazines and books. In January this year, Kandathil was ready and raring to go. He took his pictures to the Durbar Hall Art Centre and announced their display. First time out of the closet so to speak, he could objectively identify the problem areas. The couple took six months to rectify these. Pictures were laminated; aluminium stands on which they were mounted were made dismantle-able so that the collection could easily be transported to different places. Kandathil is not fussy about his subject matter. Pictures are pictures. Be they of any kind. This is apparent at the Picture Museum exhibition put on view at the Lotus Club from where it moves to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium. With over 1200 pictures to show there are a large number of subjects that they have been separated into.

The topics include wonders of Ancient and Modern Worlds, highlights of world history, important geographical features and cultural activities of various places, revolutions and scientific advancements.

A picture shows a million shoes that belong to Jews who were killed in Nazi gas chambers. They were found in a store in Germany after the World War. There are some more pictures of the World War scenes. There is also some family memorabilia, a handwritten letter from Gandhi to a family member: shots of the tallest building, biggest temple, biggest mosque, biggest Buddhist shrine and of the place where Christ was born.

Still faltering in parts, the exhibition needs to be measured for the spirit behind it. Realising that it was near impossible for anyone to collect rare artefacts or go around seeing all the wonders of the world, Cherians decided to bring it in prints for the public. Informative as it is, students would benefit largely because pictures " leave a lasting impression and are worth more than a thousand words".

As a guest commented, "It gave me a feeling of having travelled around the world". The exhibition is on at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium till Sept 6.

SUNANDA KHANNA

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