The Orphan HouseI am just thinking some random thoughts, and these thoughts might not be very appealing to the viewers or readers. You know what they tell you in Painter Uncle’s rule book—that your art must
I am young, very young, and feel lonely like many thousand others, and soon I’ll have a family to look after. I’ll be married, and have children, maybe a daughter.
My daughter, Sheela, will be sick, after staying here for too many years, like Buwa, who was sick and is now dead. She might even suffer from cancer or some other severe disease. I might not have money to purchase medicine. Every time I see this seashore and waves that dance along with the wind, I am terrified. I don’t think anyone has a choice in life.
I am just thinking some random thoughts, and these thoughts might not be very appealing to the viewers or readers. You know what they tell you in Painter Uncle’s rule book—that your art must be touching and sensible; it has to speak to the reader, at much greater length, far more than a human’s emotions and feelings.
I don’t know what I will do with my life now, or perhaps, after this moment, in this dark wood, across the sea, near the skyscraper trees that give me these feelings that everything is limited, even my time here, or the time of those I loved.
Should I just go to Chitwan and do Buwa’s last rites? I don’t know.
Wait . . . look at that pink sparrow! What?
A pink sparrow? Isn’t it beautiful? But why is her body pink?
Maybe she is just ready to die; or is it because someone coloured her body? Why is that pink sparrow looking at me? Life is difficult for a pink sparrow as well.
“No . . . no this is not the right way to paint a canvas,” Painter Uncle said.
“Then, what is the right way?” asked the child.
“Look what you have drawn. You have drawn a pink sparrow. And do you know that a sparrow is not pink?” the Painter Uncle further said. “Stop delineating antiquated people. They are of no use. You cannot make painful art, so very painful that it becomes difficult for the observer. You have to make it ebullient and inspiring. And who is this beautiful doll? But she is also drawn as though she is having a heart attack.”
“She is a cancer patient; she will be my daughter, Daddy”, said the child.
“Am I hearing it right? Did you say ‘Daddy’? Stop calling me daddy. I am not your daddy; I am your uncle, the Painter Uncle. Your daddy is long dead. Don’t you remember?”
“No, I don’t remember,” said the child.
“I don’t know what your problem is. You always paint dead people. What is wrong with you? Are you suffering from some mental issue? I shall take you to Doctor Premji tomorrow. He is a child specialist, also a well-known psychologist, and I hope he will explain your situation in detail. Go home. I’ll throw away this painting. It is of no use,” said Painter Uncle rudely.
“Do you remember the appointment with Doctor Premji?” Painter Uncle asked the following day.
“Doctor Premji,” Painter Uncle repeated loudly.
“He must be a doctor of love. Why do they call him Premji?” said the child.
Painter Uncle was silent.
Ghorle happened to be ready to visit Doctor Premji.
“Doctor Premji, this child is really having some serious mental issues. Could you please check him?” Painter Uncle suggested.
“Okay . . . don’t worry. Please leave us alone for a while, I’ll check him,” Doctor Premji said.
“Your Painter Uncle is saying that you have some serious issues. Are you sure?” Doctor Premji asked the child.
“What issue, Doc?” the child asked.
“Your uncle says that you cannot paint properly. You always paint antiquated pictures, images, scenes and people.”
“What is death and what is life? I only portray what I feel most, from the bottom of my soul. Whatever comes to my mind, I paint that, and yesterday like every other day when he asked me to paint near the seashore, near our house, I closed my eyes for a few minutes, and then I started painting on the canvas what I saw. I saw that my father was lying dead on his deathbed; I saw the sorrow of my future wife who was thinking of getting a divorce, also my future daughter, Sheela, who will be suffering from cancer and so on,” the child said, delineating his symptoms.
“So, I believe you are just normal,” Doctor Premji said reassuringly.
“Who cares what you believe? Painter Uncle never believes what I say.”
“I guess, you’re a normal child. You have these visions because of your medical history. I’ll talk with your Painter Uncle soon.
“Ghorle, can you give us a moment please,” Painter Uncle said.
“This child’s medical history seems very interesting to me. He is suffering from schizophrenia—a rare form of mental disorder, and his mental state is very critical. I wonder why you have stopped giving him those prescribed tablets. I know he will not remember to take his tablets, but it is your duty to give him those,” Doctor Premji said.
“Doctor Premji, you are right, but I don’t have enough money to buy those tablets. I recently lost my day job, and I make enough to put food on my table and this child’s. Besides, I also have to look after the child’s mother, who is married to me,” Painter Uncle said.
“Where is his dad?” asked Doctor Premji
“He is dead.”
“Where is your wife?”
“I divorced her.”
“And, do you have kids from your previous wife?”
“I have six. But, I left them back in Chitwan. They don’t live with me anymore. They live with my previous wife. My new wife is Ghorle’s mother.”
“This is a little confusing and disturbing for me, Mr Painterji,” said Doctor Premji. “Now, I understand why Ghorle is having such visions. Are you mindful of what goes on inside a child’s brain/mind when his father dies? When his mother marries immediately after her husband’s death? Listen . . . never ask for this child to come back to me. I cannot help him anymore. You and your newly wedded wife are the cause of his psychological issues. If you cannot look after the child, you must take the child to the orphan house,” Doctor Premji angrily said.
My life is filled with buckets of tears; thousands of people shouting in my ears; the humming and chirping of hundreds of Himalayan birds, which are irresistible to hear. I don’t have choices. I feel lost in this bubble of emotions, melodramatic relationships, and chaotic feelings that seem so obscure—as if these black clouds, in my canvas, will never leave the purple sky.