Saturday, May 8, 2010

Canvas


Slowly, Suvesh gets up from his bed and stealthily walks out of the room. The clock strikes 3 in the morning, it’s still dark. He walks out to breathe in the open air. He shuts his eyes for a moment and his entire life flashes before him. It was not meant to be like this, he shakes his head but there is no escape from that terrible feeling.
Reema pretends to sleep, like every night. She feels unnerved to ask him any questions now. It’s not that things were any better before but now the damage seems to be irreparable. She lets out a heavy sigh as she watches her husband go for his daily walk… in the middle of the night! She feels she is quietly letting him slip into the dark but she can’t help it, can she?
Suvesh left college with just one dream, the only dream he saw ever since he first held a pencil- to leave an impression on the beautiful white canvas of life. It has been a year since his last painting was rejected by the galleries. He remembers when his first painting was displayed, nine years ago when he was 22. It had gone unsold, like his next seven paintings. He sees the portrait of a sad and ugly painter who lived in the illusion of a dream. Terrified, he scraps off this image and tries to splash some new colors but colors are fading now. They can no longer hide the face of the ugly painter.
He still paints, for a living, making posters for a local theater. Most of the times, he is asked to draw the same images, a tempestuous girl with playful eyes. Sometimes, he mixes a little pain with the colors as he paints the curve of her smile. He hides a little anger at the corner of her lips. Often he draws thin lines of worry on her forehead or merges her blush with a light of hope. He chuckles at the fact that no one has noticed, and you can feel the heart breaking pain in the humor. (No one has noticed!)
Reema tries to close her eyes… to life and Suvesh… to sleep. But sleep has evaded her … like smiles and joy… and love? She decides to follow him, instinctively or out of love, she knows she has to. She had known it that day, when she left his father's home to be with him. He wasn’t ready to let her come with him but she had sneaked into his life. And today she has to follow him again.
Reema walks out of the door into the sidewalk but Suvesh is no where. “How far could he have gone?” Indeed, how far could he go? She sees a dim light coming from the guard room. It is strange as there has never been a guard for the apartment. She peeps through the tiny gap between the doors.
Suvesh is standing in front of a huge canvas. The sky is murky. Its darkness is terrifying; layers of black merge into each other and dry like a clot. Shades of gray hint a storm that had died in its stride. Stars have lost their shine; they remain helplessly suspended in the mist; hanged in the darkness. Moon is alone, robbed off its beauty. Its flaws are obvious and grim. Its sadness is like the pain of a yesteryear's heart-throb who is now old, ugly and undesirable. The earth is a huge mass of ice; cold and frozen. Still, a little green twig has grown, staunchly, from its infertile womb. It's fragile but unperturbed by the torture it has undergone, the effort it has made to break the layers of silence and coldness. It wears the green of the brightest dreams, ecstatic joys and undying hopes. It is so unreal and yet when you look at it, you feel that it is meant to be. The painting is a mosaic of sorrow and hope. 
Unaware of Reema’s presence, Suvesh tries bit by bit to perfect the painting, adding colors, layers by layer. His brush strokes not only the canvas but also his heart; soothes and heals it. His heart and soul are, for a moment, in harmony with the freshness of the green twig. 

The painting isn’t an expression of the painter; it is his escape from everything he has been.
 Reema smiles. 
(c) Ankur Srivastava

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Commented in AP....

Thanks,
GB

Sashu... said...

Ah!Lovely images! All the nuances so well captured!N the last line - stunner!! Lovely :)

Ankur said...

Thank you Sashu :)

Richa said...

This is a really good piece of work.. The descriptions are just so apt and vivid. Loved it!

"The painting isn’t an expression of the painter; it is his escape from everything he has been." Beautiful!

Great work! Keep 'em coming!

Piyush said...

It was a lovely piece, in the terms that you managed to be in two persons' shoes at the same time and bring out their feelings.
Suvesh's character aptly takes center stage; the dilemma within his mind on whether to follow his dreams or bow down before the world depicted in a way that allows the reader to immediately feel a connection to him.
At the same time, Reema's character is also portrayed beautifully -- the feelings she suppresses quietly, the sacrifices she must make, and her own dilemma of the whereabouts of the thin line between being supportive and dominating..
Good work pal!!

Usha Pisharody said...

Amazing in the progress to the rebirth, and reconciliation of the self.
The characterization is subtle yet telling.
Good job!

Vinaya Natarajan said...

wonderfully written..!! the dilemma in Reema's mind was very beautifully portrayed. i loved the piece.. great work.. !!

Ankur said...

@ Richa
Thank you, that line happens to be my reason for building up the story.. glad you loved it. :)

Ankur said...

Thank you piyush, you have pointed out the most difficult part of narration. am glad that you feel i could do a little ustice. thanks mate.. thanks a ton!

Ankur said...

@ Usha mam
It's so nice to hear from you, mam and to know that you liked it. :)
thank you

Ankur said...

@ Vinaya
Thanks vinny... really happy that you liked reema's character. I was afraid that i might not do justice to her character. thanks for dropping by and your compliment.. :)

Aayushi Mehta said...

This is beautiful. Loved it.

nitin said...

the whole story leaves a heart touching impact....
nice yaar.....

Dolly Singh said...

Whoa..I see a budding writer here..Such intensity n maturity of thought n expression at your age is a gift indeed.. I wish u very best,Ankur.
Hope to read more from ur pen soon
Good luck

Ankur said...

@Ayushi
Thank you.. happy that you liked it.
:)

Ankur said...

@NITIN
hi, feels great that a painter himself liked my story.. thnks nitin :)

Ankur said...

Thanks Dolly for the lovely compliment.. thanks for dropping by.

Leena said...

Hey Ankur,
Although we don't know each other personally as friends from college, I am taking the liberty to say that your story is really awesome !!!
Your style is achingly beautiful, clearly depicting the conflict of the protagonist. You have described the Sorrow and the Hope in the story in such explicit detail it leaves its mark etched onto the reader's heart !!! Keep going !

Leena Mathai

Ankur said...

thank you so much leena.. tha's all i can say :)
thanks for the lovely compliment. glad you liked it..

Venkat said...

Hi Ankur
This an excellent example of what I call an O'Henry-esque story. If you had elaborated on the length just a little bit more, it would have fit that description completely. the chaacters are very well described and the part where he mixes in feelings into the movie posters is fantastic !! A touch of class to differentiate the artist from the painter. Kudos on the ending too, you have done this form of writing very good justice.

Ankur said...

Thank you Venkat. Am so happy that you liked it.. makes me want to keep goin always :)

Aayushi Mehta said...

This was amazing!

Ankur said...

thanks aayushi.. thank you so much!

Aayushi Mehta said...

Actually, this last comment was for the poem above this. I keep making this mistake on your blog.