As the old man watched the painting on the wall with squinting eyes, he was reminded of his younger self.
The painting depicted a young male working as a blacksmith hitting the red hot iron piece with a hammer.
He was lost in his thoughts as to how his life changed from just being a blacksmith to a budding businessman who dealt with iron ore. How he could never thank god enough for what was given to him. His years of hard work and a change in fate brought about this drastic change..
The art exhibition was a huge success and she couldn't stop beaming as she signed autographs. During closing time, one man just kept staring at a picture and would not budge. The guards summoned the artist. She smiled as she watched the almost-blind man.
Hugging him gently, she asked, â€œShall we go home, dad?â€
"Congratulations, my girl,â€ he said, acknowledging the hug. He then pointed to the picture and asked, â€œIs that...?â€
â€œYes, it is Mom. I glad you recognised her. Isn't she beautiful?â€ she asked. He nodded..
He was the greatest lawyer of his time. Hardships rocked his boat; life showed him pain before success. And his son wanted to be an artist. A mere painter! Argument exploded. Anger shook him that night. The kid ran away, the artist survived.
Life jumped 20 years. He stared at the award-winning artwork. Artist - his son, eight-time-award-winner! The painting burned deep into his heart â€“ A hungry kid. Eating a painting. Of breadcrumbs.
He turned around. A banner welcomed his son. A queue was awaiting the star-artistâ€™s arrival. He silently joined. Not as a father. As a fan..
Hundreds of portraits around. Yet the 80-year-old stared at â€˜The ringâ€™ â€“ an almost blank painting of a black ring resting on a white cracked tile. â€˜Great work!â€™ he whispered for the tenth time, wonderstruck.
The curator was intrigued. Been fifteen minutes. The elderly man hadnâ€™t moved an inch.
â€˜Belongs to 320 AD,â€™ he chipped in. The man hardly listened, eyes transfixed. â€˜Flawless!â€™ another gasp of wonder.
Curatorâ€™s heart flowed with pity. â€˜Itâ€™s fake!â€™ he whispered slowly, moving closer.
â€˜Thatâ€™s what stuns me!â€™ a delighted response came. â€˜Looks so authentic!â€™
â€˜Of course! I stole the original 55 years ago!â€™.
For a decade he had been first in every art competition. Unbeatable veteran. Now he lost to a rookie! â€˜Secondâ€™ sounded unpleasant. He rushed to art gallery. To witness the masterpiece that toppled his crown. As he approached, his eyes widened. It was him in the painting! A portrayal of him sketching himself! He peered at artistâ€™s signature. Heart jumped. Memories sparked.
Years ago. â€˜Sir, can I learn drawing like you?â€™ his maidâ€™s son looked tired but determined. â€˜Sure, start with mopping the floor,â€™ he mocked. The kid quickly obeyed, ecstatic. Master never taught him later. His passion did..
â€˜Choose my best pic you gotâ€™ he said. She raced through her phone gallery, paused at one, smiling. Eager, he looked over. A wave of disappointment. Pic of an elderly man in an art-show. He had clicked it for a contest months ago. â€˜Kidding, right? Iâ€™m nowhere in the pic!â€™
â€˜The glass door,â€™ she winked, zooming out. And there he is! Holding his camera. Reflected in the glass-doors of the museum! Transparent. Almost unnoticeable.
But she had noticed.
â€˜Can never miss you,â€™ she giggled. The pic lost in the contest. But it won her his heart. All over again..
Every photo was a reminder of his past. It seemed that the walls were playing a highlight reel of his life. Every memory had a happy and a sad moment associated to it depending on the lens used. Every happy moment seemed like a trap and every sad moment an opportunity to break free.
The progression of these fleeting memories froze when he saw a photo depicting companionship. He missed his companion of life. What she was, wanted to be and could not be. As he stood staring the photo he could not move, trapped in his own reflections.
He had a whiff of betrayal the day there was theft in his studio. Then one of his friends told him that there were photos with his signature style written all over them at an exhibition.
He had a lot of faith in humanity and would not believe it till he saw it with his own eyes. He entered the exhibition hall, scanned every wall and his heart sank. Those were his photos. Each one of them with the signature of his protÃ©gÃ© at the bottom. With the lost credit, he lost his faith in humanity.
Photo 1: What poise and pose? Life is missing in my structural subjects. I want him in me.
Photo 2: Heâ€™s mine. I need to show a wise guy amongst my human subjects.
Photo 3: Lay off. My space subjects need an earthly touch.
Photo 4: The girl in me needs a mature companion.
Photo 5: Look at the light. It reflects well from his bald head. The composition is just perfect due to his bottle shaped body. I need him in me.
Photo 6: Guys, realise the context. He is in the frame with us. Heâ€™s taken.
Iâ€™m an old owner of this art gallery now. Thinking back! Often being unfulfilled, a phrase that I used too oftenâ€¦. â€œI am sorry to yell at youâ€¦" Looking at the blank wall with a vision to understand the art. I wish the people could take notice of that society which is less visibleâ€¦ the elderly â€¦ or those who are suffering. The desire to move out of the circus of monotony life has given me the relief of self achievement.
Looking at the frame, I smile to myself, Love You Papa for being my true inspiration!
I look around, trying to comprehend,
For this is the art that I saw her transcend.
Mountains and Hills, Lakes and Oceans;
I see a multitude of captured emotions.
A smile so deep that it meets the eye;
The melancholy that makes you sigh.
Peopleâ€¦ Oh, how they fascinate her!
I wonder, why this ruthless creature did she prefer!
And before I decipher in the code these pictures hide,
â€œDaddy, youâ€™ve been captured!â€ she barges in shiny-eyed.
Maybe sheâ€™ll always remain a mystery unsolved,
For some minds are just way too convolved!.
I stare at the few pieces of art on the wall. These are the last remnants of the world I once knew. The new alien kingsâ€”our benevolent oppressorsâ€”will not allow us any more than these vague curated glimpses into our past. Our past is violence, they say. Our future is peace, unburdened. It fills me with rage and sorrow to be so severed from a piece of my soul. Humanityâ€™s grace was lost in the dust of its own wrath. Before the war I was an artist. Now I am nothing..
He did not visit the exhibition driven by his male ego but a little fatherhood in him made him end up visiting later.
He lived a mediocre life with his regular job and expected the same from his son. But he, driven by his passion, chose a way to achieve his dreams. It was fascinating to see his son earn money and respect more than he ever did in his life. He never supported his son and was way too cruel with him and the regret washed his cheeks that night imprinting a 'FAILED FATHER' tag forever. .
The last of the viewers had left the gallery; he walked back and stopped short. Unbelievably his father was there, looking at the photographs on display.
He remembered the last meeting in a posh hotel; they had had a shouting match. With his father wanting him to join the billion dollar empire of his and him wanting to see the world, capture nature and life.
As he entered the gallery, his father looked at him, patted him on his shoulder and walked away. Then he noticed a blank cheque on the table. His eyes welled upâ€¦.
So one had art, the other had fame. They had been in love before but it materialised to this.
Some compromises speak louder than love.
Life is much more, she now knew as she switched off the television after another one of those interviews. She had become her in a way. She had no regrets, she told herself as she went to make another one to make it up to her never-ending liability..