Making a clean breast

28 Oct, 2014


Making a clean breast 
Having spent an interesting weekend walking the lanes of Churu, Ramgarh, Fatehpur and Mehensar, I am feeling a bit depressed and have ideas that range from writing to the PM, to appealing to INTACH or may be writing to a rich family seeking funds to restore and preserve some of the most beautiful Havelis in this region. The guide put the number to about 2000 out of which about 700 Havelis are in the region around Churu. Most of them are in a disdainful condition, even the ones that have been restored to be some sort of a hotel need better maintenance.
I spent a good part of an hour and more at one of the most famous Havelis of Ramgarh, lovingly restored as a museum and may be you can stay in the rooms they offer at very very nominal costs, just to fund their project assured the young articulate French guide who showed us around. Speaking in clear English with French inflections, the guide at Nadine, The Prince took us through the concept and culture of the Havelis in great detail. It was a narrative well researched for most parts and presented with ease. However I had an objection that was gracefully accepted as a point of view, I am sure this will be discussed with Nadine herself and researched for future.
In his enthusiasm the guide pointed out to the many images of Krishna painted on the walls in the typical Ramgarh wall art , Fresco style. Colors, sweeping strokes for clothing, feet placed at right angles to denote movement, bodies typically clad in the frock like shirts for men and a high blouse for women, the curves of the breast showing where the frugal blouse ended. He continued somewhat lustily ( I thought ) to explain that women were depicted to show the crescents of their breasts, because it was sexy to dress like that and this Haveli with many women painted on their walls was so because the owner obviously loved women. And as there were many Krishnas on the walls, it was apparent that he loved Krishna as much as he loved women, may be because Krishna was the ‘god of love’.
What do you think is the purpose of painting women with narrow bodices and have a part of the breast visible post the hem ? I risked this explnation
This I believe is just a representation of the female anatomy, else how do you depict the difference between the man and the woman. Ofcourse in later years the blouse got longer when the artist discovered how to represent the cleavage in his art ! And this part of the female anatomy gained more realistic curves.