The better part of the morning and the afternoon were spent in the Salar Jung Museum. The holiday season brought in a large number of guests to the Museum. I remember viewing a Public Interest Ad in one of the TV channels recently on the Indian habit of disrespecting the queue. Regardless of age and gender, the queue is given a go by. Photography is strictly prohibited – cameras are prohibited in the Museum. There is an efficiently run cloak room to keep the prohibited articles while on tour of the Museum. The ‘Veiled Rebecca’, a 1876 masterpiece sculpted by the Italian, GB Benzoni, is the most famous work in the Museum. The ‘melody in marble’, is based on a Biblical reference to the visit of Isaac to approve of Rebecca as his wife. There is so much life in the statue that you can almost feel the tassles of the veil swaying to the rhythm of a light breeze. Salar Jung II, on a tour of Italy in 1876, saw the work of the master craftsman and had it shipped to India after settling on the compensation. Anyone would have fallen in love with the 178 cm, beautifully proportioned masterpiece.
Dante’s Faust is immortalized in the single wooden statue of Mephistopheles and Margareta; viewed from the front is the former and a mirror reflection of the rear shows the latter - artistry at its very best. There are many sculptures worthy of mention – ‘The Smile’, ‘The Veiled Lady’, Cleopatra, Atlas, Cupid, Venus, and many, many more. The collection of porcelain is equally impressive, particularly the Chinese, the French and the English. The carvings on Ivory, especially the paper cutters, are depictions of consummate and exquisite artistry. The period furniture, the paintings, the bidri works, the clocks, etc keep you amazed and wonderstruck for hours. A full day would just about suffice to do justice to the collection. It is unfortunate that photography is prohibited, for the Museum shop does not offer either a book of the photographs or postcards of the more famous pieces in the collection. However, a must buy from the Museum Shop is a replica of the Jacobs diamond, the original of which is part of the Nizam’s jewelry collection. The food court in the Museum has a good selection and is efficiently run.
It must be the chillies. The madness on the roads is unbelievable. I returned in one piece from a daring foray into the city at night! Young and old alike, two wheelers and four wheelers without discrimination, choose the roads to show off their dare devilry, which would have been better appreciated in a circus show. And in the show they would have only endangered their own lives without putting at danger the life and limbs of others, as they do on the public roads.