in connection with Birthday
हुई आँख नम और ये दिल मुस्कुराया
तो साथी कोई भुला याद आया
There is a theorem in information theory that the more random a string is, the more information it contains. Simple string with patterns doesn't possess much information. The same principle can be applied in life too. Steadier the life, the less fun it is. Random things in life make it fun. My life has been going very steadily for a while now, and it is boring. It is better for my husband and my daughter, who is enjoying vacations on a trip. When they send me pictures of having fun, I always cuss at my job for not giving me free time. I need to attend meetings while they are living astonishing experiences. So I decided to bring some fun into my life as well.
I went to the stationary shop and bought oil colors, brushes, and canvases. It was time to revive my forgotten hobby of painting. I was always good at painting, but I had to leave it after I got a job. Then I got married, life went busier, and the skill was left behind. Now since I have a whole weekend just for me, I decided to do something fun. I selected the best brushes and best paints in the store. It reminded me of the old times when I used to think about buying this expensive stuff but had to restrain myself due to a lack of budget. Now I can afford this, so this was an exciting experience. On my way home, I was picturing myself painting in old times. It will be so good to meet the old Riya once again. I set up everything to start painting. But there was one problem: I didn't know what to paint.
I thought for a while about possible scenes to paint, landscapes, portraits, natures, etc... I was also not sure if I still got the art, so I didn't want to jump into something complex. I wanted to start with something simple, maybe a landscape. I thought about the paintings I had seen in some time. And now I got an idea. I got a painting as a gift from someone special a long time ago. It was a picture of a couple looking at the sunset.
I started to paint it. I had already covered the base. I was about to start using colors when my phone rang. It was my husband calling me. We chatted for a while about their trip.
"Is Shalini doing okay? Isn't she missing her mom?"
"She is fine. She is enjoying the experience. She is not missing you. She is happy you didn't come along, lest you would have pointed out: Don't do this, don't do that. It's so funny the way she mocks you." He laughed.
"That daughter of a bitch." I said jokingly.
"You are abusing yourself." He pointed out.
I told him about my decision to start painting again.
"It is a good idea. Shali will not spoil your colors. She is grown up now. I called to tell you about painting too. Painting the house. We talked to the painter last month. He will visit our house tomorrow to look at the house to get an estimation of the painting area, the cost, etc... I hope you are happy to show him the house."
"You can't tolerate me doing something I love, can you? You always put some work in my way, and you never let me get some rest. You two are enjoying the holidays, and I am doing everything here. Have some mercy on me." I was disappointed that the painter had to come on the weekend got to rest.
"Hey, it's not like that. I really want you to do everything you love. But I also want this painting to be done on vacation only. I hope you understand."
"Okay, I will do it. I don't want you to beg me now."
"Thank You. Shali wants to talk to you now."
I talked to my daughter for the next ten minutes. She excitingly elaborated on the trip. And she ended that with 'I love you, mom.' There is no better sound in the world.
After that, I focused on the painting. I painted for one hour, taking special care of every small detail. I stepped back to take a look at it when I was finished. It was breathtakingly beautiful. It was a painting of a couple sitting on a bench looking at the sunset. The girl had placed her head on the boy's shoulder. It was lovely. The color of the sky turned out to be sensational. I had especially carved the gradient when the beautiful orange fades into the blue sky. Everything was just in place, making it a memorable painting. 'I am still worthy!!.' I whispered to myself.
I got over the hypnotization of my pride and made a coffee for myself. I couldn't stop looking at the masterpiece. The painter is coming tomorrow, so I better list the things excluded, including the colors and the plan to paint the house. I am an artist and can plan this better than anyone else. I was being a little too confident now.
The painter came the next day. I was doing some budget calculations for the paint when he entered. He was a tall man in his forties. A teenage boy walked in after him. He was wearing a hat and a mask. He was holding a thick book. He nodded a namaste to me, and I returned with a smile. He didn't come to me but sat in the far corner and started reading the book. I didn't mind either. I took the painter to visit the house. I explained the plan. And when I was finished, I could see that the painter was really impressed.
"I didn't know people plan their house so well."
"You know I am something of an artist myself." I smirked.
"I can see that."
Then his phone rang. He walked away to attend the call. And the teen boy came to me, holding the painting in his hand.
"Hello, Mrs. Sharma. How are you?"
"I am doing good, beta. How are you?"
"I am also good. I am glad to know that you are doing good."
I smiled at him. His polite and formal way of talking was so good to hear.
"Did you draw this, Mrs. Sharma?"
"Yes. Do you like it?"
"It is lovely. I love it."
"Thank You, beta."
"Can I take it, Mr. Sharma? I want to give it to my crush. She likes paintings." His honest request and innocent face made me smile. A hint of laughter suspended across my lips.
"Yes, you can take it."
"I will keep it in my car."
"What is your name, beta?"
"My name is Shyam." It gave me a little electric shock. But he was a good kid.
"It's so nice to see you, Mrs. Sharma." He smiled at me goodbye. I smiled back, but he was already going out of home.
The painter came in then. "Mrs. Sharma, I need to leave. I will call you about the budget and all that stuff."
They both left successively, and I was again left with an empty house. I wanted to start a new painting, but I couldn't. I couldn't help but think about that name. Shyam: someone I loved.
He was my college love, my first love. I was such a clam-composed person. He always greeted me with a wide smile. I always got myself in some trouble, with people, with professors, with assignments, etc... he just listened to me, talked through the problem, and solved the problem without even making me do anything. But after college, he just disappeared. He promised to never lose contact with me. But he didn't message or call even once after we walked out of the college walls.
At first, I was angry about it. I tried to reach, but the phone was showing switched off. I was terrified of getting dumped, but he was too simple to do it. Then I was worried about his safety. When enough time passed to hold the fact that he might be busy, I tried to contact his classmates and his friends. No one had any information about him. He had not contacted anyone. I waited for a month and told everyone to inform me of any sight of him on social media or anywhere else. But nothing happened.
I was drowned in the sea of sadness as the days passed. After a point, it became impossible for me to hide this sadness from my parents. One day, I broke into tears in the arms of my mother. It was very fortunate that I was with her. She helped me get out of my state. 'Everyone has to go through this stage, my daughter. It's okay. You will find someone more loving than him.' She used to say. But I refused to love again. And she set me up with Nikhil whom I married six years ago. Things started to change then.
Time healed everything. It was buried deep in my distant past, but now again, it felt like someone was trying to exhume it. It was painful, but I was enjoying this pain. It was like cutting your finger with a blunt knife; it was so old that I didn't mind losing blood.
The next day, the painter arrived again. We talked about the cost of paint and budget and all those stuff. I was curious that the boy didn't come this time. I asked the painter.
"How is your son?"
"Excuse me?" He looked confused.
"How is your son? He didn't come with you today?"
"My son is good... What are you talking about, Mrs. Sharma? My son lives in Jaipur. Why would he come with me?"
"The boy who came with you yesterday; he was not your son?"
"I don't know what boy you are talking about?"
It took me a full minute to sink that in. I thought that someone was throwing a prank at me at first. The sound of a shovel digging the past was so loud in my ears. It was fucking unresistable. Some random guy came to my house, his name was Shyam, and he took the painting Shyam gave me years ago. This didn't seem like a coincidence to me.
Next week, Nikhil and Shalini came back. Her excitement shifted my attention from the loud thud of the shovel. But it was constantly present. One evening, Nikhil was sitting on the resting chair reading a book. I went to him- "There is something I want to tell you."
"I am all ears." He spoke without taking his eyes off the book.
I told him about the boy, his mysterious presence, and how he asked for the painting.
"Did the painter explicitly mention that the boy was his son?" His eyes were sparkling. He was always ready to cheer me up when I was feeling low, and I could sense the mischieve in his eyes.
"No, the painter said the boy was not his son?" I stopped to grasp the air.
"I don't know I kind of feel attached to him."
"Let me guess... You abandoned a child years ago, and now, you think he has found his biological mother. And now you are worried about whether to adopt him or not."
"Hey! I am sorrowful here. You think it's a time to joke."
"What sort of attachment do you feel towards him?"
"I don't know... I feel like maybe I know him. I have seen him somewhere."
"There is more I want to tell you, Nikhil."
"I am all ears."
I told him about Shyam in the highlights.
"I feel he is somehow connected to him."
"Let me guess again... The boy was yours and his son. You abandoned him after you found out he left you. And now you think he is back."
"You stop this nonsense right now. I want you to be serious."
"Okay." He held my hands. "What do you think?"
"I think it was him, the boy. He is back."
"But you said he was just a boy."
"Yeah, he was just a boy, but he was incredibly similar to him."
"Baby, I have known you for so many years. I know what's wrong here."
"I know you are going through a lot of workloads nowadays. And you are taking too much pressure, both at work and home. But now I have returned, you don't have to worry about household duties. Let me handle it. You can rest now. Focus on one thing: your work only."
"How does it answer my question."
"You are overthinking, baby. Your artist mind starts daydreaming under pressure, babe."
"This is not helping."
"This is not more than just a coincidence that the name of the boy was Shyam. But you have built a palace around it. You can take a step out of your palace, princess. You don't need any Shyam to cheer you up when I am here, do you?"
"No. You are enough to make the world for me. " A wide smile swayed across my face and the loud thud in my mind suddenly stopped.