Déjà Vu


The old painting in the glass frame reflected her curious face. I tried not to turn around as she came closer to look at the painting, just behind me.

It was an oil painting of Himalayan evening. The snowy blue peaks were gleaming with swaying pale yellow sunset. Thick strokes showed the painter didn’t care for little details but its very essence.

She waited for me to move to the next painting. I could see her reflection, anxious and restless. She didn’t want to skip to the next painting. She likes routine. She works out daily, I guess. Maybe wakes up early, everyday. How long can she wait for me to finish?

The signature were initials of the painter. He moved from Russia to India around 80 years ago. He settled in a small Himalayan village. Why would he do that? To give up the comforts? Why did Thoreau do it? Why can’t I do it?

She gave a big sigh and moved to the next painting. As she stood to my left, gazing at the other painting – a monk with a yak – she kept giving sneak peaks at the painting I occupied. So obsessed with the habit of discipline, she is too far from her comfort zone.

I stepped back and looked at the girl. She was looking at the painting. I looked at her eyes in the reflection and they were looking at me. I passed by her and looked at other paintings in the room. She quickly moved to that painting. She didn’t smile or cried out of happiness, but she was content. Her house of cards was intact.

The painter died a long time back. And here I am, borrowing his eyes or at least, his vision.

The girl is examining the painting with her right hand rubbing her chin and left hand cracking its fingers. It’s drizzling outside. I must go or I will lose my bus. Before I leave should I tell her that she is beautiful, just like the painting she is looking at?


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