None of his mornings had ever been different, at least in his memory. He would pick up his Naples yellow, Ultramarine blue, Venetian red, Burnt umber, Burnt sienna, Titanium white, tattered brushes with hair glued together from yesterday’s paint, some turpentine and reach the nearest beach which was famous for the seals that climbed up the shore and lay over like lazy and yet shiny black pebbles of gargantuan size. He was known never to carry any rough cloth though.
He didn’t even change the sight he wanted to pull down to his piece of art- the same cliff, the same horizon, the same grass patch, with a change of seasonal flowers which he so comfortably overlooked and painted them violet anyhow, and the seals… well! who can forget those seals; he used extra linseed oil for that glossy skin. He moved his hands in curious and abdrupt brush strokes – a little here and a little there. If you would zoom in to admire the art, it would seem as if a toddler had done finger painting, and you would feel pretty embarassed at your attempt to visit this man just because you had heard of his genius on your social network website. But, if you were wise enough to step away to return to your home and yet glance back in disgust from a distance, you would be amazed at the view that would pop out of that plain cotton canvas.
And then, he would just give away the painting to a passerby who had chanced to glance back.
“Do let it dry for twenty four hours,” he would always advice.
I asked him finally, one morning. “Why the same painting every day?” I tilted my head up to him as I knelt down to tie the shoe laces which had not gone loose anyways.
He answered solemnly. “Why the same life everyday?”
I, feeling like someone had just slapped my cheeks red, replied with mock arrogance. “I don’t know about you, mister, but it’s not the same for me… I’ve work, my family, my Samba classes.. I … I even volunteer for helping at the charity work in my community..and then there is music… of course music. I have to drive long hours. And I love cooking. You have no idea how many cuisines I can turn up on table every other night.”
He said, as he wiped his brushes with the sleeves of his shirt, without any hint of smirk which I so expected was to emerge, “If it weren’t so, you wouldn’t explain. But the point is that even if it is so, it’s just your eyes to be blamed. The color tubes might be the same. But it’s the never the same sky. It’s never the same grass blade. And have you seen those seals – I can tell one from the hundred others. I’ll tell you a secret – count their whiskers if you got time. But then again, have you got time? Anyhow, it’s never the same painting ever, my friend, even if it’s monochrome alright.”
With those words, he wrapped up his day’s work and walked away to return the next morning, as I analyzed my monochromatic life for the first time.