Bookmark #738

I walked across the taupe steps, inadvertently scaring the flock of pigeons. As they flew away, colliding with one another, they created an impromptu orchestra, supported by the vocals from all the people sitting around the steps, with the obscenities, the murmurs, groans and the tsks. I bowed my head in apology and smiled sheepishly as I quickly jogged across. But if I am honest, I had completely missed seeing the pigeons. It seems I was too lost in my reverie. For every step I took, I also walked inside my head, trying to find an answer to what had caused a tumultuous feeling inside me all year.

I pondered over what stopped me from writing as much or what had reanimated the cynic in me. And I had no answers, of course, but it always helps to list the questions down when we find ourselves at a lack of immediate explanation. Often, just doing this finds the answers in a jiffy. And then, surrounded by art in every corner, in the museums, on the streets, the buildings, the people, and in the air, it occurred to me that it was precisely the cause of the apathy that had risen in me. To put it bluntly, I had been an idiot.

All year, without a plan or realisation, I had studied the works and lives of artists intensely, and now, their ghosts haunted me. It was not my first foray into this, but it was a year of unexpected immersion. It seems my overwhelm had created a hole in my heart. When you experience a work of art, you let it make a home in your heart, and then, the work informs you without permission, for it does not need permission. It stays forever with you. So we must be careful not to let too many tenants in at once to keep the mischief managed.

Naturally, comical as life is, I had reached my breakthrough right when I walked into the flock of pigeons. The explosion around me pulled me out of my deep interrogation. There I stood, having just caused an uproar for everyone sitting comfortably under the shade of a broken pillar, carrying nothing but mild embarrassment and a little bit of resolution in my heart.

Then, it began to rain, so I scurried into the nearby cafe, and said, “Ciao, un caffe, per favore?”

It was then that I realised I was smiling.

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