Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Old passion re-asserting itself

When I was six, Ma came home with an exciting news about an artist/teacher, a dignified and illustrious Mr. I forgot-his-name, accepting six or seven year-old children to train under him at home. The students--whom Ma imagined could be all boys--would stay with the Master on weekdays and may go home on weekends, an arrangement similar to a boarding school for young artists.  Even in a remote place like B'la, it promised something special; it even sounded different: a training in Art. I felt loved, happy.  Even at that point, I thought, Ma must have felt something about me, must have thought I had some of what people called "potential."  I was filled with excitement. Day after day I waited for it to happen: to learn Art, to watch the Maestro render reality on paper. But the month ended without a word from Ma. I waited and waited until the waiting became so unbearable.  When I finally asked her about it,  she told me she decided against it because she was worried about me. For her, it was unimaginable: a six-year-old girl living with boys under the tutelage of a man.   That officially ended my career in Art and Ma quickly forgot all about it.  I didn't. 
Well, maybe, I forgot all about it while I was growing up but that's what I remember now.  I remember how I was quickly forgotten, my dreams set aside. 
Ma taught us to put ourselves last always.  All the drawings that mattered in school were those being done by boys.  The bold strokes, the tri-dimensional realistic renditions, the portraits that copied reality even if they were only done with a ballpoint pen. Girl drawings were merely beautiful, trivial. Together, we--girls--thrived in the shadows, learning from each other and enjoying every moment of it; and that's how we persisted. It's only now, when old passions try to re-assert themselves, overwhelming us in their intensity, that we come to realize we could have been bolder.  
Then, we want to start all over again.

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