The portrait

When we came out of the Garuda Hotel, I went shopping while Savyasachi and Alo ate. In the first shop I visited, two boys were begging me to let them draw my portrait for 3,000 rp. I said, "No, I don't want it."

Then I felt sorry for the younger one and said, "All right!"

They asked me to sit down on a little bench that was not even a foot long. They were very amused. When I sat down, the older one started to draw very seriously, but the younger one began to laugh. Then I said in English, "Don't laugh!" and he kept quiet.

They said it would take only five minutes. But after ten minutes they said it would take five minutes more. When I looked at what the older one had done so far, I was simply amazed that he had captured the right side of my face a little. I thought, "I will be able to show my disciples. It is so nice."

Then somebody came in smoking a cigarette. It was their boss. The boss snatched the picture away and began to finish it. In two minutes the boss redid what the boy had done and ruined the picture completely. The boy was doing it so nicely, but the boss was a hostile force. It didn't resemble me at all anymore, but I took it anyway.

When you sit to have your portrait drawn, people laugh at you as though you are doing something silly. Two French girls came and watched me. They were laughing and laughing.

— January 1988