A fictional conversation between a male writer and a female artist who paints.
*Writer waits after pressing the calling bell but the bell didn’t work*
Writer : Argh.. No, not again Artist.
*Picks up the phone and calls artist. Artist disconnects the call and opens the door in a minute*
Artist : Hey ! Wanna smoke? *offering him the cigarette pack*
Writer : *Coughs sarcastically* Woah, it thrills to be greeted with a cigarette but, not now.
*Writer and Artist enters the living room*
Writer : By the way, why isn’t the calling bell working?
Artist : You, know, I don’t like getting disturbed. You are an exception today.
*Both enters the kitchen*
Artist : What do you prefer? Tea or Coffee?
Writer : Coffee, but make it strong.
Artist : Strong? Won’t it taste bitter?
Writer : Bitterness of the coffee is the essence of its taste, you don’t enjoy the coffee when there is no bitterness. Its just like life you know, life won’t be fulfilled unless we have pain. Only those who suffer pain can measure what happiness means in little things.
*while drinking coffee*
Artist : That’s why sir isn’t spending time with family is it? Queen Bee (Mrs.Writer) called me last night and asked me to give you few pieces of advice about how important a family is when compared to your books. Why don’t you spend some quality time with them Writer?
Writer : So easy for you to say. You don’t have a family yet *laughs genuinely*. But why don’t you get into a commitment like me?
Artist : Let’s leave that topic for few years at least, I’m on a mission. Moreover I need someone in my life who will be afraid to lose me, till then I can wait.
Writer : But aren’t you afraid of the consequences? Living all alone even at this age?
Artist : But, not standing up for what you strongly believe in is even worse, right?
*They slowly move to her drawing room, where all the paintings are scattered on the cupboard, desk, table and on the floor. Writer picks up a painting where a Lion and butterfly face-off each other*
Writer : Wait, let me guess what the picture is about. Is is about the butterfly expecting a majestic life like lion? To be the beast who can be without any fear and can live long instead of the short span of butterflies?
Artist : Booo, you and your optimistic philosophy about life, don’t you ever see how bad the society is turning out? Anyway, the picture is about a lion who seeks the life of a butterfly. The lion which is caged, not fed properly or not given enough freedom for its life, instead been used as a showcase element for fun and pleasure. Here the lion refers to the women these days, who aren’t given enough freedom, who can’t live their life without any fear. We all want a life like a butterfly, even though it’s span is short, it lives the life to its fullest by moving from one flower to the other and pollinating the way they fly.
Writer : It’s pretty intense, I have no words to say. But I do know one thing that the society is changing. Have you seen the youngsters protest in Chennai and all over Tamilnadu, there were girls who pulled out all nighters for 6 days without any fear, they were untouched and there was not even a single case of harassment or eve teasing. I am proud to see this change among the youngsters.
Artist : All I hear, see and read in the media are about violence and harassment against women and girls irrespective of their age. In the same Tamilnadu, haven’t we seen a guy of 20+ years old brutally raped and murdered a 7 year old kid? What’s your take on that?
Writer : See, one bad thing can’t overlook a good deed.
Artist : No Writer, there are selfish bad deeds which are more in numbers than the good deeds which people can notice.
Writer : Let’s cut it out. Hey where’s the signature? You forgot? Or is the painting unfinished yet? Oh wait, there’s no signature on any of the paintings. Why?
Artist : Hmmm. It’s a long story, but I’ll brief it. I’ll do my first signature when I find a masterpiece, which will reflect my views about the world. I’m in a hunt for one but yet to find it.
Writer : But, Artist, a painting’s life is fulfilled only if there’s a signature and getting hanged in a wall. I’m afraid that all these brilliant works of yours will haunt you one day as you aren’t fulfilling the paintings’ life.
*Artist holds the hand of Writer and drags him to a room where there’s an empty frame, hanged in the wall with the sign “In Progress”/”Coming soon”.*
Writer : What’s this Artist? That’s just an empty wooden frame, hanging in the wall. I don’t get it.
Artist : Writer, let me tell you something, as you have noticed in my paintings, most of them have negative shades in them one way or the other, but I want to draw something which reflects my heart, also the one which reflects the society’s take on women. The day I find one, I will sign it and hand it here. The wall has been empty for last 5 years, I am still finding such an incident of my life which can prove me wrong.
Writer : I’m happy that you’re on a mission, I really mean it. If I tell this now, it will be really dramatic but, I do believe that the society is changing, for good. I don’t think it will take long time for you to second my thought. Not immediately, but definitely, One day, you will call me.
Artist : I’m Waiting.
*Writer lights the cigarette of Artist and leaves her apartment*
Prabakaran Thodithot Sembiyan