Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Quick Smoke

It was exactly 20 years before, that one rainy afternoon in the school playground amongst his few close buddies, Joel dragged on his first cigarette. Though he coughed, cursed, and almost threw away the cigarette, something in the bitterness of the smoke made him hold on to the cigarette and take his second drag, followed by the third, and the fourth until his head began to spin and he passed it on to another eager hand.

And as Joel progressed in his biological years, he embraced smoking with a spiritual rigor. He smoked to keep calm, to get tense, after dinner, after fights, after sex, and before breakfast. Joel also itched to paint. For reasons unknown, one midnight after he watched a cigarette stick burn away into a cylindrical column of ash, he decided to quit smoking. The following morning he also quit his job, brought a warehouse and started to paint. And in this warehouse, stroke by stoke he gave life to a simple idea on an oil canvas – a young woman sitting by the riverside with her head on her knees.

For years Joel could think of nothing but paintings; those rich, lush colorful pieces of creativity framed and hanged on numerous museums, bedrooms, art houses, and toilets. Joel always wanted to paint. But to him, it seemed that the whole world had conspired to prevent him from doing just that. When he was young and would spend hours with his drawing sheets, his mother would snatch them away and place Logo building blocks in front of him so that he uses his brains in doing something constructive.

His father didn’t help either. He wanted Joel to be the star batsman of his building apartment – a dream that his father could never fulfill. As soon as he was home from office, Mr. Mukherjee would ask Joel to dress up for the match. Joel would be dressed in a pair of brown shorts, white shirt, canvas shoes, and a cap. Next, an old bat and ball would be placed in Joel’s hand. Thus armed and dressed, Joel would proceed for the local cricket match played in his building. Joel hated this entire errand and would see a large canvas with beautiful paintings as he waited for the ball. Disaster always stuck on the first ball. He was always out with the preciseness of the moms calling out to their children from various windows on various floors to finish the game at 6:00 pm.

Like the renaissance painter, Joel grew a beard, ate only to refill his lost energy, slept when his eyes could hold no more, and painted. He mixed mediums, created dyes by dissolving pigments into binders, and deftly etched lines into the canvas. And one day he was done. He got off his stool, walked to a distance and watched with satisfaction and critic at his creation. It was exactly at that moment that the old familiar urge to smoke stimulated his tired brain once again – a quick smoke.

In midst of his paints, spirits, and fumes, he lit a cigarette. As the match stuck the prosperous, a ball of fire engulfed the air and exploded into a burning ball of raging flame. Joel choked on his breath, the oxygen in his lungs sucked out, and his vision blurred to nothingness.

Later in the day, when the firefighters had come and gone and the flames brought under control, someone observed that if it were not for the tragic accident, the gutted warehouse with its watery floor and sense of loss would have made an excellent theme for a grim painting.


Madhavi said...

Why are all painters and writers shown, described, depicted or cast as smokers or drinkers? :) It is not just in this blog..but have you noticed in movies, theatrics, or famous novels?

TopCat_200 said...

Nice Image of the himalayas ..

And the writing has got a tinge of Shobha De..

Keep em coming..

Brazen Upyours said...

Shoba De? Hehe, I was thinking more on line of Hustler/Playboy! ;)

Vivek S. Kumar said...

hmm very nice and firm thoughts.. keep it up

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You need to send that PDF file by close of business to your product manager/SME and the file won't just print. What do you do?

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Pain: When you right-click a Microsoft Office file to convert to Adobe PDF, the application returns the message, "Missing PDFMaker files," and does not create an Adobe PDF file.

Solution: Remove Adobe PDF from the Disabled Items list in the Microsoft Office application.
To manage your Disabled Items list in a Microsoft Office application:
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If the error message continues to appear after you enable Adobe PDF, then check the security level for macros in Word:
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Watch this space for more!

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