Sometimes the side streets are best. I headed to the Peabody Essex Museum specifically to see the Joseph Cornell exhibit, which was sensational (collages, boxes, films, assorted ephemera) in spite of the gruff guard and the somewhat day-care crowd (The museum is admirably free to Salem residents, especially, it seems, to those with loud youngsters in strollers. Just saying.) I bypassed the Chinese house, a top draw at this museum, and happened upon this mixed-media installation by Bose Krishnamachari. The artist had strung up 162 lunchpails, typical of the kind that are daily delivered to Indian laborers for their midday meal, and fitted 102 of them with small video monitors displaying a range of Mumbai residents -- street vendors and socialites, industrialists and intellectuals -- talking about their day-to-day lives (their voices heard on headphones if you so desired.) Surprising and unexpected, it provided a lovely reality-based moment after hours spent within the seductive and phantasmagorical world of Cornell.