• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 02

Into the broken aura of a prodigal painting(er)

Your signature wasn’t legible and nobody cared but I know; I know you and your handiwork. A single line that grew laterally and then vertically. A rectangle for the base and a cross for the height. A big O on top or a shadow for the foil-paper sky. That was how you set and centered the work. It was a time anything you touched felt like a wonder. Your fans made you think so; they were drunk on you and filled you with you. Up to the brim. They thought paint poured from your fingertips. Fawning over you all the time, taking your hands, your telephone-cord curly hair - come on- all of us siblings had spiky, broom-stick hair; our scalps had deposits of cement from the construction sites we roamed about. Why, the site was where your 'talent' took shape. I remember your 'wall art' along the River Cooum. Your charcoal and spit cityscapes. I was put to the task of pissing on the pan-juice stains. Prepare the canvas.

Scam- that is what the old paper shop owner is calling your pared-down line drawings. "He is self-taught," I want to clutch the back of his neck to make him peer closely. Cut you the slack you- your talent deserves. "Ah," he clicks his tongue, entitled to his dismissal, like your fans, the fickle creative world that is now screaming the name of one of your disciples. "These are child's play," he laments, grabbing a paper and graphite pencil to do a look-alike, a cartoon-scrawl. Pouting-pointing to the whole series in dust when I still look defiant. Suddenly reality hits him to check if I was your...wife-first, second or third? Or his mistress? Or foster-children you had newly pinned on your kurta to emboss your prodigal charisma.


Into the broken aura of a prodigal painting(er)

I resort to silence rather than explaining or showing proofs to our siblinghood. If I had done so, it would have broken down your glory-greed, exposed your poor past you had so carefully buried, turning the world’s attention back on you. That is what you are waiting for. That public-shame moment. Aren’t you?

Instead, I carry on, walking on the waste on the shop floor- placing one foot after the other, trampling your reckless, scammy work. It wasn’t me who let you down in the end, bro.