My friends were making plans for a weekend party and I was sitting there with my arms and legs crossed, trying to make up excuses in my mind. My best friend’s wedding was about to take place and I didn’t want to be a part of it. I remember how I used to be excited about that little get-together or that unplanned adventurous trip. Now, I was silent thinking about the best excuse, and I heard one of my friends saying, ‘Why don’t you paint her something as a gift? She will be happy’.
‘What difference does it make? It’s just my hobby.’ I said looking at my phone, acting like I don’t care. Honestly, a question stuck with me. The unavoidable question of ‘What’s the point?’
I don’t see the beauty in my little plants anymore. All I see is plastic flowers and corporate wishes everywhere. Even going to my office or the simple act of making my breakfast seems like a burden. It just feels pointless. One evening, most probably a Wednesday, I vividly remember staying in my bed at 6:30. Apart from the playful voices of children from the community park nearby, the place is almost silent. Looking at the ceiling, I thought to myself ‘What’s the point of waking up anyhow?’
At first, this thought shared some space in my mind. It didn’t bother me much, so I let it stay there. Eventually, it demanded attention and everything else, every other positive thought went spiraling down into the dangerous void of my mind. They never came back. I tried to fight it, but the damage was irreversible. I accepted that I have to live with this demon for the rest of my life.
A few weeks later, I finished my work and heading for the coffee counter before I leave my office. I see a 9-year-old boy struggling to clean up the colourful mess around him. May be he was painting earlier so his table had paint marks — pink, yellow and purple. A broken glass was also sitting over there, right beside his little bag. I offered my help and he rejected. Instead, he quickly unpacked his bag and showed me his painting.
‘Do you know how to paint?’ he asked me
‘Yes, I used to paint in my college days’ I told him giggling like a teenager.
‘Can you teach me? It’s my mom’s birthday. I don’t get it right.’ he said.
‘Sure’ I said walking over to the cafeteria. He followed me.
I lost the sense of time until his dad, one of my colleagues from the other team came to pick his boy. The boy is all smiles. He thanked me a thousand times for how the picture turned out.
‘This is what I had in my mind exactly’ he said.
That day I went home and searched for my painting journal. I found it in the middle of a dump of old books. I cleaned it and turned page after page, visiting my old memories and the old me.
Meanwhile, I received a text from my colleague, a picture of the boy and his mom. It said ‘Look how happy my mom is’. The painting may not be perfect, but their smiles are.
Now I know, the journey is all about finding that smile. A lifetime of suffering is worthy to bring a genuine smile on people. Art can do that effortlessly. We may forget our true selves and get stuck in the process of growing up and finding a meaning, nature always has a plan of reminding us who we are.
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