#Reflection

A museum where history comes before time

It is dimly lit at the mouth of the tunnel leading to the museum, but that should not hinder your vision just yet. The coarse downward-sloping stone tiles nudge you to tiptoe in – but they do not tell you where to. Walk in a few more steps, and the light gets fainter. But somewhere in your conscience you know you are headed on the right path.

A little ahead, on the right side, is an alcove seating. You may sit on it briefly to get used to the dull light surrounding you - or you may choose not to. You know you must walk on. So, you do…and lo and behold, you are facing a fascinating corridor – with a shiny black floor and a shiny black ceiling. Look up, look down – and you see ‘YOU’ in different dimensions. And so, you begin to wonder, who is the real you?

All at once, you are conscious of the erubescent red illuminated wall on your left side. It’s bright red – but that does not bother you. In fact, you start liking the bright red cutting across the pitch-black corridor… Welcome to ‘The Museum of Living History’ – where the physical world blends with the virtual.

The red blaze that begins in the black tunnel has thinned out now, but it still encircles the museum – leaving markers for those who walk in. Discern for yourself the physical and the virtual world. There are thought-provoking explanations for the colours used, and the layout. The shiny black tunnel, with a bright red illuminated wall, stuns your mind to a “comfortable numbness” – allowing you to take in the sights with an open mind. The museum layout – with partitions in concentric circles – typifies the rings of a magnificent banyan tree.

‘The Museum of Living History’ allows you to see things as per your social location. You derive the meaning of what you see. At its core lies the powerful idea of pluralism, which accepts people of all sorts – from different races, religions, cultures, social background, and sexual orientation. Quite often, this fluidity breaches your own consciousness too. As a result, each time you visit, you will have a different understanding of the museum or a different interpretation of an artwork that is on display.

A whiff of lemongrass tingles your olfactory senses the moment you step into the cool confines of the museum. The objects on display tell the story of Mahindra’s core values and principles, its various businesses, its rich history, and its outlook for the future. Delicately carved chalk figurines, provocative installations, a digital book, interactive holoboxes, digital audio-bots, a race car simulator, and a large dreamcatcher tell stories of a time gone by – and about the time to come.

In the middle of the museum hall is a digital clock with time projected on the floor. Walk through the bluish hue of falling laser beams to get the feeling of crossing a time warp – a rite of passage from old to new. ‘The Museum of Living History’ is ever-evolving. It is not a museum of the dead. It will keep up with the times – much like time itself.

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