The silence of the room seemed dreadful as always. I stepped in slowly without disturbing the atmosphere, he doesn't like it. The walls of the room was a treat to the eyes. Every time I entered the room I was awestruck by the beauty of nature so artistically captured by this man. I have witnessed the walls change fifty times right in front of my eyes... The walls narrated the story of freedom movement and then for a few years there were different stories from the sacred texts. There was a time when I used to feel I walked into some garden with flowers and trees that were several times larger than I am... I felt like an insect walking among elephant grass.
The present paintings on the wall depicted daily routine in the village. Women wearing colorful lehangas and antique jewelry decorating their ears and hands. Their fingers adorning mother earth with artistic designs. Small kids played peacefully with wooden toys at a corner. Their faces delightful and eyes shining with joy. It reminded me of the long gone days of large families. I gave a heavy sigh which echoed within the room. 'Who's here?' asked a strong voice. The heavy sigh! That must have disturbed him, and the echoes... I followed his voice and shyly presented myself. He looked fiercely for a moment and then smiled. Before returning to his painting he gave me a confused look and I reminded him about the jug of water he had called for. I left it on a three legged stool and re-traced my path to the garden.
My husband loved his work. Art. I have never seen a man so involved in his work as him. I am not just saying this because I am his wife, it was crystal clear that he was in a constant state of joy as long as he was in his studio. Nothing seemed to affect him. Illness, cries of children, poverty, the treacherous neighbors, government.... all failed to create any kind of ramifications. I filtered most of it from touching him but the rest he resisted them himself. Near the door was a photograph of him with the president, I wiped it clean with the edge of my sari. He was being honored with the padmabhushan and it was a proud moment for me. With tears in his eyes and smile on his face he gave me a nod which acknowledged every small effort I made to protect him from others, sometimes himself.
I only had a minute to catch a glimpse of what he was painting near the eastern window. What I saw was the result of six months of hard work! It was the Himalayan mountains. Sun rays crowning the peak, a mixture of golden and white snow, slowly melting away into various shades of blues and whites. Clouds seemed to embrace the snow covered peaks. I glanced back at him. He was staring outside through the window. The sage was meditating....