Subodh Gupta


In response to an invite from the AAWW, I visited the Queens Museum and wrote about a work of my choice in their exhibition of modernist and contemporary Indian art. The piece I chose was Subodh’s Gupta’s “What does the room encompass that is not in the city?” I had an hour to look at the art-works and then quickly write a response. Here is my flash fiction:

Afterwards, they were to go for drinks.

The exhibition was at the Queens Museum. They had kissed once, some weeks ago, after a screening of Apur Sansar at the Film Forum, but then Piya had left for D.C. to intern at NPR. Piya’s father owned a jewelry shop in Hawthorne, NY. She had been born in a hospital in Westchester County. Aamir was from Allahabad, his parents were both professors there, in sociology or psychology, Piya wasn’t sure now.

But where would they find a bar here? They sat down with bottles of cane cola in the museum café. The café had glass walls. In front of them, they could see giant fountains around the Unisphere, tall jets of water rising twenty feet high, the spray drifting in the warm air while planes crossed the sky from left to right.

Piya said, What is one work of art that has touched you the most?

An art work, Aamir said. Anywhere in the world?

Piya nodded.

In the classes he was attending at Columbia, Aamir was used to hearing professors ask questions. Why is this novel structured thus?

Now, he paused. He wanted to be truthful with Piya, he wanted to say something that was true and touching.