Read Chapter 2 HERE
My thoughts drifted back to our first meet. We had just exited that bar and I did not know what to expect out of it all.
“I am sure you do not own a canvas, so I guess we’ll have to go back to my place. It’s not that far from here. We can walk.” As he said that, he looked down at my stilettoes. I took them off and grabbed the comfy walking sandals from my bag and put them on. He looked amused and impressed.
“By the way, my name is Dev.”
“Divya”, I said introducing myself.
I wanted to propose we have this battle of words v/s paint some other day, but for the first time in months, I could smell adventure! I wanted to see what these sequence of events would lead to. Everything for me was a story waiting to be written, either on paper or in life. What worried me though was that I had been corrupted by the structured compositions of the online publication I was working for. My personal blog had not seen any entry in almost 5 months. I hoped the intoxication would help me rekindle my creativity. Many artists from the past are known for drowning themselves in hallucinogenics. I had another random burst of laughter, outside the chambers of my thoughts.
“Sorry. I was thinking about something”, I said feeling awkward. Trying to make conversation, I asked him, “So you are a painter”.
“You are not good at conversation. I hope you are better than that in your writing skills.”
“We shall see.”
Fifteen minutes of silent walk later we reached his apartment. We looked at each other, just to make sure, we were on the same page.
“Ready for the war?” He asked with fake enthusiasm, just to liven up the awkwardness of that moment.
“Sure…I am!” I said that again in my head, realizing I was exceptionally off today in putting words together. However, there was no turning back now.
The apartment was nothing like I had expected a guy’s den to be. Well organized with a very raw feel to it, like a studio where you could do anything. I saw a bunch of paintings resting against the wall. The one in front was blank. The ones on the back looked inviting, but I didn’t want to look too interested.
“Alright, here you go.”
He handed me his laptop and pointed towards the two person dining table. This wasn’t the time to go fancy. I kept the laptop on the side and took out a notebook and pen from my handbag.
“I like to do it the conventional way.” I said feeling proud.
I loved the way words would get imprinted on the sheet of paper and emboss on the other side. I loved the touch of those embossed words and those curled up sheets with doodles around it. Doodles say a lot about the writer’s thought process. They are a language on their own. How a piece of paper could hold memories and emotions from an elapsed moment! I placed my hand on the poem I had written a couple of months back, as if drawing strength from it. I so desperately wanted to feel it. To the outside world it might have looked bizarre, for me it was magical.
“So what do I write about?”
“Hmmm…I have given it some thought. We don’t know each other, but I bet you write poetry. So, write about your fondest memory.”
I looked outside the window and for the first time, felt at home in this strange city. I closed my eyes to re-live those moments I would be writing about. They appeared on a giant wheel, like in game shows and I gave it a good spin. My first day at school, the first time I held my baby brother in my lap, my friends, the anxiety of first love and on and on it went until the wheel finally stopped at a very cold day, when I woke up at 6 am only to watch sunrise from the rooftop of my hostel building. I knew exactly what I would write about. The next 3 hours were stressful, but I managed to pour down all my thoughts in the form of words.
“Ok! It’s done.”
There had been absolute silence in the room for the last couple hours. I almost had not realized I was in someone else’s home. I was not used to feeling this comfortable. He was sitting in front of a blank canvas placed on an easel, which looked like a soldier holding the frontier. It had stains of paint all over it. Dev was listening to music in like a state of trance. I walked up to him.
“Are you ready to paint?”
He took the notepad from my hands and read it carefully. Then without saying a word he began to paint.
I could have just left, but instead I watched him. When he was done, it wasn’t war anymore, it had turned into camaraderie. In that one article and one painting we had revealed too much of ourselves. We spent the next day giving each other input and improving on our works. While he got the opportunity to drink the worst tea of his life, I got a chance to learn some absolutely useless card tricks.
I never left.