It was the month of May in Delhi. In the scorching heat, I was thinking whether or not to go check out the art display by NGO's that worked in different underdeveloped nation. I hadn't been out for almost a month as a recent failure in life had it. It seemed that life would never be the same again, I had lost complete faith in myself. Though I tried to motivate myself every small disappointment at work, even some negative comments by colleagues reminded me of only one fact "I had failed" in what I wanted for myself in life.
The lady from the agency who looked after the press called again to confirm if I was coming. Considering how much effort had been put up and the fact that she reminded me that most of them was by women, the feminist and the art-lover in me won the battle. I therefore decided to go. Sometimes the universe does conspire for you towards things you dont know will help you in the long run. Now that I think of that day, it conspired hugely to leave a lasting impression on my mind, one that will motivate me for life.
The exhibition was held at The Ashok. I reached the venue in the evening when it had become a little more cooler. The vendors/volunteers were at their respective stalls trying their best to talk to each person visiting their stall and as it was all handicraft, be it food, jewellery or art they explained how everything was made. That aided both publicity and sales. I loved most of the things there. The ambience of the place, full of light, colours and aroma uplifted the spirits of everyone. The energy of the place was vibrating like it had a life of its own.
While relishing all of it and felling better after days, I spotted a stall where a handsome young gentleman with a warm smile was welcoming everyone to look at art from Afghanistan. The land has fascinated me in Khaled Hosseini's writings. Its beauty in wilderness. The land which Babur longed, Humayun wanted India to be and Akbar tried replicating. It was a ric country once but like everything beautiful is scarred by the human race, this country is sadly now in ruins. My feet took me there and I went as if in trance. I started looking at all the creations in awee. It was on wood as well as on paper. Each of it had such vibrant colours that I was surprised. How a land that has been a victim of such serious war reflect such liveliness. The handsome Britisher understood my confusion from my expression I suppose and started talking.
I asked him if this was by people from Afghanistan currently living there? He smiled and nodded yes. My next question was asked by him, "Are your surprised with the use of such vibrant colours?" I was ashamed at first for thinking in that manner but he smiled calmly and told me that when he visited the country first he thought like me but working for their upliftment had taught him at the spirit in those people was as live as their colours and reflected in their creation. I was dumbfounded, speechless and stood there wondering. He then asked me to look at some paintings. I liked a few of them, which were rough but had truth, honesty and they spoke, as if they had a story.
The most striking painting that day is something as clear as my own reflection. It was a regular day painted and there was a cricket ground. A group of boys were playing on ground and smiling and half the painting had black smoke receding and the sun trying to peep through. The batsman in the painting had one mechanical leg. I was told it was a ten year old who had painted it. He had lost the leg during a bombing incident and hence the batsman was so, but he hoped one day when the dark clouds of hatred would leave the land, the sun will shine and he will achieve his dream of playing cricket like before with his friends. I was in tears when I heard the story. The young man told me this was the story of most children there, their body parts are amputated, they beg for food , they do not know what would happen tomorrow but in the midst of all of this what comes out from them, their actions are as if they will live to see a normal day, free from all of this. Their spirit is undying and that makes them go on.
Unable to contain myself longer I thanked the gentleman and headed straight home. It was a very overwhelming experience for me. Here I was crying for loosing one thing that mattered, but for that child everything he had today may not be there another day. He understood this, as he lost his own leg, yet he thought he would get an artificial leg and play cricket. He had such positive spirit for a simple dream he wanted in his life and I here was crying when my life had no such threat. I could still restart and do things differently. Every resource was at my disposal and nobody was bombing my nation, there was no uncertainty that I might get killed in my sleep and no wake up to see another day.
The lesson learnt was "there is someone who has seen worse than you, yet smiles and hopes for a better tomorrow, why cant you then?"
Since that day I stopped sulking for all minor and some major disappointments, knowing that as long as I am alive I can do a lot to change my reality. The beginning of which is my attitude towards life and its situations and I choose to be that child who taught me at the end of the day if you love cricket, play it, no matter what and there will be a sunny day so never sulk, smile and be positive. A ten year old child in war torn country can and so can I.
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