3rd August 1996...
carried on asking, "and that beautiful painting of the
Dalai Lama, dearest Elizabeth, when did you paint
that?" Elizabeth answered, "I believe it was in
1959 in Mussoorie. In the Birla House over there. It
belonged to Birla's mother-in-law and was given to the Dalai
Lama for his temporary residence when he came. There he was
gracious enough to sit for me."
then our lovely friend Laurence came in to join us. It was
so nice to be all together on this auspicious day. The
atmosphere in Elizabeth's room and our talk made the day
Lutoria was in one of his rare communicative mood. He
started again, "the Dalai Lama came to India after his
escape from Tibet in March 1959. But he came before that,
with the Panchen Lama, on an official state visit. That must
have been in 1956. I came to Delhi in 1954. When the Dalai
Lama came for the first time, I was here. I saw the Dalai
Lama. They stayed in 'Hyderabad House', I remember."
Elizabeth confirmed this, "that is when I had an
exhibition of the Buddha paintings on the occasion of the
celebrations of two thousand five hundred years of 'Buddha
Jayanti'. Both His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and the Panchen
Lama inaugurated it and bowed in front of our paintings and
felt blessed by them."
belive I painted this Dalai Lama painting in 1959 in
Mussoorie (Uttar Pradesh)'...
Laurence looked through the book 'Freedom in Exile',
Autobiography of the Dalai Lama, to get the dates right, Mr.
Lutoria mentioned, "China had already started occupying
Tibet, when the Dalai Lama came for the first time. And he
was hesitant to go back to Tibet."
And Elizabeth said, "yes, yes. And there was a
fear in my heart hearing that he would go back to Tibet. He
knew what he would be facing when going back. And thank God
he could escape safely." Mr. Lutoria said, "the
credit for that goes to the 'Kampa' martial tribe of Tibet.
They made it look as if they were celebrating the New Year
at the Potala Palace, it was a misty, foggy day. And in-between and in disguise on ponies they escaped. The Chinese
realised what had happened, then they chased them. And by the
time they came to the Indian border, the Dalai Lama had
crossed it already. And then the Indian authorities were
informed. When they came to Delhi, the Tibetans were
starving, hungry, all in rags. Elizabeth worked really hard
and helped them a lot."
After a while, the conversation was changed
completely. Elizabeth talked once again about Hungary:
"My father had opened his art school and was working in
it, while my mother was going through a very intense
learning period. My mother was so fond of animals! She
started to raise chickens. She was, in fact like a
scientist, watching the eggs and how the chicks inside were
growing. At that time it was not so easy to write to other
countries. Yet, she asked eggs from several countries of
different kind of hens, different types. She was carrying on
serious studies in natural science. Already then she was
searching for the essence of life. But I remember,
grand-father once exclaimed, what is the point of being
surrounded by fowl, if I never see even one on my plate!
My father, besides teaching arts, became crazy for
hunting. You see, people will not understand. He had a
neighbouring friend who was also a hunter. I mean his hobby
was hunting. And some days he would go together with this
friend to the forest, with rucksack and gun. So naturally
they talked all day, being in the forest.
But the one thing I did not like in my father",
continued Elizabeth, "is, that he became a hunter. He
had that dog, Nero, which rarely crushed anything. Nero was
a hunting dog, he would bring back whatever father shot. So
once he brought back a rabbit which was still alive ... And
the rabbit and I looked into each other's eyes ... I will
never forget that. About that little rabbit ... after sixty
or eighty years ... I still feel about him. That made an
absolute, unchangeable resolution in me: to become a
'vegetarian' and never to kill.
I am sorry, it all came out just like a little 'pletka'.
"'Pletka' means disclosing what happened at home."
Laurence smiled, "letting out secrets, 'opening the
cupboard' you know."
Dagmar changed the subject again, "you went into
the beautiful forest also. I always imagine Hungary being a
country of the most fantastic woods and forests."
Elizabeth replied, "sometime. After I was in
Budapest doing sculpturing at the Academy of Fine Arts, then
I would follow my mother some days. Although I did not
paint, I watched her. She didn't mind my sitting about two
meters away. Then I would walk a little and come back and
see how far she had done. She didn't teach me, she didn't
say, you should do it this or that way. My first paintings I
did all on my own. In father's school we used charcoal and
crayons. Very characteristic and very well proportioned ...
My aunt used to collect all my childhood paintings. I
suppose they all got lost.
But you should have put more ... " Elizabeth
changed the subject " ... things like in the beginning.
You put a few funny thing into the text." Dagmar
laughed, "let's find a subject about which we can laugh.
I think it is overdue.