She thought, when I started the painting I did not foresee the painting as it turned out to be finally. I just kept doing what came into my mind, then nothing was planned .It was just the minds flow that took shape into a painting and yet it was perceived and nominated as the best painting of the year which sought her a fortune at the Sotheby’s. She was happy for the appreciation of her work and the fortune she received but in her mind she wondered was it as worth as it was ranked by others?
While just strolling down the road, lost in her thoughts, Aparna walks down till the lake. Near the lake as she takes a view around, she finds one girl almost about her age, sitting solemnly. The girl was lean and averagely dressed, bending down to face the lake water. Aparna’s gaze is now caught by the fluttering pages of a book lying besides that girl.
Wondering what the girl was trying to do, Aparna goes close to her and peeks into the fluttering pages of that book. She gets hooked to that book as the fluttering pages give her the glimpses of what was contained in that book. She could partially see some of the beautiful paintings drawn in that book interspersed with some writings also.
To quench her amazement over that anonymous girl, she taps her gently and says “Hi, I am Aparna. I just saw partially some of the beautiful paintings in your book and I must say they are awesome. Who are you? Are you an artist? If you don’t mind can you show them ? I am an artist myself”
To this, that girl just gave a lame look. Though Aparna looked like a damsel to her, she found some sort of coziness in Aparna’s company and hence started sharing “I am Lili, I come from near by village. I come here daily to search life and the experience that nature has to teach us. What makes you come here madam; you seem to be from a very rich family? Even I wish I was …” the voice dampens and the pitch goes real low “ rich and successful ” “ I wish to work and bring in loads of good for my paren…..”
“No, I am not as rich as you are, I just came strolling here and saw u kneeling over the lake and thought to inquire the same from you. The paintings that I had a glimpse are extremely good, they are awesome, you could win ample awards and money from it. Could I have a better look of it?”
“Sure madam” says Lili and gets close to Aparna to show her the paintings. “This one madam, I had drawn a few years ago, and this one when there was lots of rain last year and the lake looked brim fully happy and this ….. ”
Aparna, now lost in her thoughts as she went through the paintings one by one. She wondered over the worth of Lili’s skills. Just then as Lili was showing her work, Aparna’s eyes hit the words on the flipping pages “Why is it that I wouldn’t trust what I don’t see…..”
To this she put hand over lili’s hand to halt over that page.
“Lili, could I read that what we just flipped by.. those words seem interesting to me .. “Why is it that I wouldn’t trust what I don’t see…..”
Lili, a little hesitant at first shows it to her and says “madam, these are my thoughts and I have no education like you so they may seem stupid and weird to you, but… ”
By now Aparna has already started reading what was written..
“Why is it that I wouldn’t trust what I don’t see?
Where is that reassuring hand to get us through?
What reassurance do people give to themselves in the state of fear or period of trial that would help them dole out relentlessly?
And was keeping faith till the last minute of trial being overly positive..
At least show me the omens that I hang on or move on,
I need omens to guide me through,
I need omens to guide me through,
Be it in form of putting trust on instincts
Or not letting me leave that path that was meant for me to travel,
Cos what purpose will it serve if I return with mission unaccomplished?
Show me the omens to guide me through.”
Totally stunned now, Aparna is thinking over the worthiness of the words mentioned.. they were powerful , they were words with great thought.. words which touched almost everyone . they were words of omens and the dreams..
Lost in the words of Lili’s poem, omens that we should seek, Lili’s worth as a great artist and Lili’s position of where she is and where she should have been … Aparna thinks in her mind “As like the painting she made with not great thought and effort.. it just happened and yet that sought the award, she thought there are many things in life which are incidental or accidental and there is a force that guides one through to make it the way it is… but what of omens and dreams ..and what of Lili’s omens and her dreams …. ”
Other short stories are here , here , here , here , here and here .