Behind Those Faces
By Neel Anil Panicker
“You have just worn the Best Artiste of the Decade Award”; you are considered one of the finest and most impactful Expressionist painters of the modern era, in short you are a creative genius when it comes to wielding the brush and filling an entire white canvas with a mind dizzying kaleidoscopic range of colours—tell me, ma’am—when did you think that you would make a life and career around painting”?
Sixty-seven year Mamta Kale looked at the assembled battery of reporters, at the lady in the off grey suit in the front row who had asked the question, and smiled, even as her mind went down memory lane, a lane that led to her childhood home, a half a century ago, a run down thatched one room roofless apology of a structure that was home to her and her seven other siblings, all raised by a near alcoholic mother and a man she was told was her father, but one who slipped and slept beside her and did shameful things to her come dark, when the horrors of the long night visited her all through her horrendous childhood.
As the din around her reached its nadir, Mamta jolted back to the present, smiled, and replied, “I had wonderful, loving parents who taught me the value of a good human heart and instilled in me an intense appreciation of the creative arts which ignited me and led onto the path of creative pursuits”.
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