A temple in the bus



Mixed media installation / 7 x 5 x 2 ft

Some buses in Kolkata are invisibly divided into the front and the back. Everyone prefers the back, where there is a comfortable footstool. Here is a row of four men. At any given time, one of the men can be found in one of these postures-either signaling 4 which is the minimum bus fare, or sleeping with his palms interlocked or carrying a briefcase. These gestures are as fixed as the iconography of gods in Hindu temples. The four men have been elevated to the status of demi-gods. The fourth demigod (on the right) is blessing in the “abhaya mudra” (abhaya-have no fear, mudra-gesture).

Attached to the pictures are legs colored in the monotonous shades of gents trousers. On two of the legs is written” bhoy kisher pagla,aami to aachi” (have no fear, I am here). This inscription in Bengali can be found written inside most buses. These public buses have various religious markings, assimilating some of which makes up the work. Below the footstool is a semicircular space for the hind wheels of the bus. In humour, it has been converted into a donation box, as a temple would be incomplete without one.