Special Supplement

Moment of moistness

Published : 07 Aug 2019 09:17 PM | Updated : 06 Sep 2020 04:31 AM

Walking along the side of a mountain where grasses are small and green, where little flowers shrub up the roadsides I come across a village. Quiet. Thunderclouds and cumulonimbus floating across the endless blue above like blobs of cotton candy. I guess that metaphor has become quite a cliché these days. Yes, a cliché that I have used too while thinking to myself about the hamlet, not the Shakespearean one, but, the one I am walking by. 

My vision plummets from the condescending colours of the sky to a piece of art lying on the bricked lane. Art on the street. A child’s meticulous trials and errors to capture the likeness of her fellows. The erased lines tell a tale of her efforts to make the face of a child she is holding as perfectly as she could. Clear brisk moments fill up the imagination to make a translucent picture clear. 

Thunder clouds clap and flash. Wind starts howling. Fear. Not of the storm but of the thunder alone. The mountains far away are wet and heavy with rain. Soon it will come this way. A step further followed by a few more. A little girl holding a child. A few steps from her is a man’s best friend standing by. Another art piece? Spectacles have turned blurry with the droplets that have now started to emerge. Brown in colour and in a satin faded red dress. Hair tied in a nice pony tail. She looks at me and turns to face.

The bag in my right feels heavy suddenly. A few papers, water bottle, half a pack of cigarette, a half finished book. Quite a burden. I move it to my left. Keeping my gaze at the girl, she seems unmoved with my presence. The child she holds supported by her hips. Steps followed by steps, she nears my vision, but she still is standing where she was. I wanted to ask her whether she had drawn the picture on the road. Seemed like she might be the artist. Only hanging pieces on walls of galleries, made of expensive emulsions and royally made frames are art? Maybe, maybe not. 

Sudden thunder clap takes my vision upwards. I see a flash of rapidly changing direction of lighting. First one, then two. The moment has passed. The picture was on the roadside. Maybe it didn’t have any value—monetary or sentimental. I liked it and the effort made behind it is clear.

A moment later I looked at her and she was not where she was standing but was standing beside me. No. She was not standing beside me. I had just been walking all this time and now was crossing her line of vision. The baby shrieks as a droplet hits its forehead. She hushes the baby quiet. I couldn’t ask her anymore about the art. The introvert self in me kicks in. I couldn’t call to her anymore. The baby grabbed all her attention. Probably a good way to let life continue—she standing at her address and I moving to mine. I so wanted to ask her about the picture, though.

But… the moment has passed.