The Painting (08.24.2017)

I visit Ana’s brother’s kids in Pune. They are six and eight, little balls of irritation and delight.

A couple of days with them is enough to exhaust me. This is telling me that I am getting older at a speed that I am not yet ready to comprehend.

They would like to play a toy house with uncle Z.

We sit under a homemade tent of old sarees. They give me tea in miniature plastic cups. I drink the fake tea, eat the air sandwiches, and burp out fake air — loudly.

We three giggle conspiratorially.

The younger one asks me to draw a dragon.

“I can’t draw, little buddy.”

He looks at me, indignant, nonplussed. He furrows his eyebrows.

“But, Uncle Z. You can do anything!”

And so, I draw. The paper is small and as I draw, I find myself wishing it was bigger so I could express my creativity a little bit better.

I am suddenly engrossed in it. Invested.

I run the color pencils and the crayons over my creation again and again as a man possessed. I conjure up the shades, the scales, the colors breathing my vivid imagination. It feels like an eternity as they surround me and watch me with bated breath.

And finally, I am done. I turn the painting around so he could see it.

I am nervous — as nervous as I was before the exam results came in.

His reaction is so very fierce. The jaw drops an inch and his eyes grow wide.

He breaks out into an evil evil grin as he looks up at me.

“More heat uncle Z!”

And there it was.

A dragon with extra fire and a flash of added flames so so hot, I had streaked them with blue.

I am now the Picasso of my own creations.

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Life is represented by two distinct sets of people: The people who live it and the people who observe them. These are their stories.

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Z S

Z S

Life is represented by two distinct sets of people: The people who live it and the people who observe them. These are their stories.

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