Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Diary of a Compulsive Stalker - 2

Read Chapter 1

***

Painters are funny people. I turned out to be one funny chap. Really!!
I received a call the other day for judging an art competition. I laughed hysterically after I hung up on the dean.

"Mr. Zubein, we need artists like you to inspire our students", he said.

I hadn't laughed like this in a long long time. 

"Sure, I'll be there Sir. Please text me all the details", I responded decently.

"I will do that. Also, can I ask you to come for the event inauguration first, and I would be very glad if you could suggest a theme for the painting competition", he demanded more, as I heeded.

"No problem Sir. I shall be there", I had to sound amicable. 

He had bought 17 of my paintings for no good reason. I could go without work for so long only because he gave me money. Of course I don't see it that way. I earned it. But I knew what level of an artist I was. I deserved nothing! None of it - money or respect! But I got it anyway. So I made it a point to enjoy it. Humility pays nothing in this business.

"Sure. I do have something in mind. I'll come and address the students at the inauguration", I assured and continued with my internet browsing.

Social networking has its boons and banes. I looked for Bina's address and found it easily. She stays 4 bus stops away from me. The world is indeed a small place. She keeps checking-in in this one particular Costa Cafe, and I can guess easily that she stays somewhere around that coffee house. 

***

Mom has been a crazy woman ever since she became a mother, I believe.

"Zubi, look at this advertisement. Why don't you attend this interview?", she called out one day.

"Mom, I am not going to turn out like Dad. I don't want to be an accountant, fill ledger books and do the same thing over and over again for 40 years", I reasoned.

"How on earth are you going to have a steady income then?", she questioned.

"Mom, I sold my paintings last month, and with those earnings I can spend lavishly for another 3 months. My paintings go in lakhs. Dr. Diwan paid me 1 and half lakh for 3 paintings alone, last month", I explained.

"This is not a steady income. And which idiot buys paintings of nude girls for 1 and a half lakhs?", she sounded disgusted. 

"That's art Maa. Nude art. I am a graceful painter!", I explained, but failed to. She never understood me or my art. Not even when I tried to tell her about how I felt about certain things.

Nude artists are not appreciated much. I remember the first time I chose to stick with one color only. I used red to paint a woman. Shades of red, on canvas. Painting of a woman I saw in one of the B grade flicks of a South Indian movie. I took a still and painted her. Without clothes. I realized there was something that interested me. The divinity behind the entire creation of women is astonishing. I wanted to appreciate the beauty. I painted her in 3 hours. Straight. Most of the times, the most unassuming women of the lot interest me. This woman was one of them.

"Exquisite", I remember Dev complimenting me.

But I found it senseless. My painting did not impress me. I wanted to feel the rush within for having painted this sensuous woman whom I stared at for 5 hours and painted for 3. But nothing happened. 

Just like Bina. Would painting her mean anything? Would I want to see her naked? Posing for me? I would definitely want that. 

I went to Costa the next evening to find Bina. I wanted to apologize, so that she thinks of me as a good man. I am a good man, mostly, women refuse to agree. Ask Dev, he would vouch for me.

Dev....... Well....!!

"Why did your parents name you Zubein when you are not Muslim", he asked once. That was his very first question when we met. I concluded that this guy wouldn't be easy to deal with. He had already judged me on the basis of my name. 

"My mother was a Muslim, and my father is a Hindu. Now we don't follow any religion", I replied.

"That's weird", he exclaimed.

"What's weird? Religion is complicated. Love is simple. We follow latter", I defended, repeating what mom always said.

"Ok. Makes no sense. But people will think you are Muslim", he said.

"Would that really matter?", I asked.

"I should ask that!", Dev said.

"Well, I don't care. What's in a name after all...", I started quoting Shakespeare.

"....That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet", he concluded.

That's how I knew I could be his friend. He was opinionated. But he was still a guy who could be my friend. 

Bina was not in the cafe, when I entered. It was a weekday. A workday. Why should she be out in a coffee house? She must be at work. Looking pretty, scribbling her name on the newspaper, attending people. I sat there and ordered a coffee for myself.

I looked around. There was a girl who interested me. Unlike a real one, but a girl nonetheless. She kept tapping her foot while one foot rested on the knee of the other. She wore a huge-dialed watch. Her lose sweatshirt, made it difficult for me to categorize her. Her fingers, constantly moving on the phone. No nail paint. Her hair, falling on her face, short, blunt. She wore spectacles, and there was no sign of kohl. But... 

But her fragrance drove me crazy. As I tried to capture her picture on my phone, she looked up and walked towards me, realizing someone was clicking her. I looked at her. Intently. Her waist - brilliant. I was stuck on that.

I heard voices diminishing as she approached....


Dev should never know about this.

***

.....to be contd