I unearthed this painting from Ma’s closet, where she had kept this in safe custody for more than 25 years. This happened in March of this year, when Ma and I visited Kolkata, to spend a few days at my parents’ home, to clear the flat, as it was ready to go for sale. Honestly, even I had forgotten all about it until Ma reminded me that I had gifted this painting to her. This was a real surprise for me.
Sometimes, I wonder how much we change over the years. There was a time when art and music was such an integral part of my life, despite everything else that was going on alongside. I was so deeply connected to every single piece of artwork that I had ever worked on—the ones I’d proudly show to friends and family as well as the unfinished ones—sometimes abandoned due to the most flimsy reasons.
The home that my parents had lived in, and which I shared with them for about two years is now gone—buried in the casket of memories. Some very tangible memories do pop up now and then. And some, totally intangible ones drift silently in the backdrop of a home that once was ours. Each precious and treasured, all the same.
Like forgotten voices, many familiar faces and visions from the years come and go—leaving one misty-eyed and with that ‘lump in the throat’ feeling that belies description—a torrent of memories come rushing by, bringing back the highs, the lows and everything in between that summed up our lives from those years.
The other day, while talking to a school friend, I came to realise that many of my artworks from the past are now lost forever. Had they been preserved, there’d be quite a collection by now. I loved working with water colours mostly, but a few were in oil as well. And quite literally, there would have been tons of sketches, too, if only I had them safely tucked away somewhere.
That is perhaps why, I find it amazing, that of the entire lot, this is the ONLY one that has been safely preserved. And I shall remain ever indebted to Ma for that. She says this one reminded her of me during the times when I lived away from home.
It was then, that I thought of getting it framed. And, a few days back, when it came back framed from the shop, I felt happy.
You know, we often speak of how nothing stays forever. And I know, it’s a very humbling thought indeed—especially when you think what transient beings we are. And, how delicately balanced our existence is, on this planet. But still, some things do live on. The books we write. The art we create. The songs we sing. The work we leave behind. And such like.
So, I am hoping this one will too, outlast me and live on!
Even if, in a tiny way, only to remind a loved one of my presence, when I’m gone!
Title Credit: From Thomas Moore’s classic ‘The Light of The Other Days‘—a poem that I grew up reading and reciting since my earliest years.