I have one Ara in my house. If is the only painting I have ever possessed, so, naturally, I have hung it on the wall and given it pride of place. So far, it has been admired by all my visitors. But ever since this controversy about fakes, my visitors have been putting doubts in my mind.
For instance, a friend, who has muli parathans at Samovar every Saturday and so naturally is familiar with art, came to the house, had one look at the painting and said: "So, you have been fooled also. My dear chap, that is a fake, and a very bad fake at that."
"But the late artist himself had given it to me," I said.
"Ha, ha," said the friend, raising one eyebrow.
A lady who came for tea with the wife, asked her: "Could I took at the back of that painting, please?"
"Why do you want to look at the back of my painting," I intervened.
"Because I want to see if there are any dirty fingerprints on the rear. If there are not, then it is a fake," she said.
I told her the painting was fixed to the wall and could not be removed the rear.
A gallery-owner came to the house and said: "Now who sold you that lemon! Can't you see it is too clean to be an Ara, and look at all that white space. If you want to buy a painting, you come to me. At least, you won't be cheated."
I told him I was not buying any more paintings.
Mr. Vithal Kamat came with his family, two boys and a girl. The children pointed at the painting and shouted in chorus the entire evening: "Look, fake, look, fake." The father told me, rather proudly: "Children are very clever these days hey know."
A contemporary of Area came home for a drink. "Busybee saab," he said, "aap yeh kiya utha kay gharmay laa ker rakh diya hai ji! Yeh apna Ara nahi hai ji."
I did not say anything. I was feeling too depressed to say anything.
The wife said: "Why don't get your friend Ashish Nagpal or somebody to sell if off for you. If hangs here in the house, you will feel more and more depressed."
However, thing have considerably improved since then. This morning, the distinguished art critic and historian, dnyaneshwar Nadkarni, came home. He looked at the painting, asked me for a pen and paper, and immdiately issued a certificate declaring that it was genuine.