3. Art of Persistence
Persistence is the key to making your passion into your profession. My father had told me this one day. The struggling artist had needed to hear that that day.
I have always loved colors. Ever since I saw him paint, I knew I what I wanted to be. The difference was, he told, he didn’t have the luxury to only keep painting. When he had to, he made the choice, difficult as it was. He put the brushes away and focused on climbing the steps of the corporate ladder. He worked hard, and earned every promotion he got. Even when his company chose to part ways with him because of a down-phase in the market, and he couldn’t get another job quickly, he persisted in his efforts. I loved that about him. I have never told him though.
Mother tried to guide me toward the science field, like her. I told her how I struggled, that the formulae and diagrams and steps felt like Greek to me. She didn’t understand. She worked long hours, and never had the time to sit and listen to me. I knew she loved me, but even now I wonder if she missed me like I missed her. Pa, who had more flexible working hours, saw my love for colors. He encouraged it. When only the two of us were at home, he even watched me paint.
“You have a gift, Sayi. I am so proud of you,” he would say. I liked that. Sayi.
For my thirteenth birthday, he gifted me brushes. His brushes. The ones he had put away many years before. For the first time in my life, I cried on my birthday. Mother didn’t understand, but by then I didn’t expect her to. To her, my paintings were just splashes of color. Sometimes, she saw a scenery. But never the meaning. I knew what I was painting always. Not many did.
For a while, I lost the gift Pa had said that I had. I didn’t know why. Pa seemed to. Mother didn’t notice. When I didn’t paint, I felt the world was dark. It didn’t matter if it was night or day, I didn’t feel joy. I wanted to paint, God knows I did. But the paintings didn’t make sense. They looked too abstract, lost without meaning. Only Pa thought he saw meanings in that. He sat with me and shared what he saw in them. I didn’t feel better, but I liked that he tried to cheer me up.
“Sometimes, the colors don’t come together like we want them to, Sayi. It doesn’t mean they aren’t together. Don’t give up.”
I knew I wouldn’t give up. Of course I would persist. A role model right in front of me.
(© Vinay Leo R. @ I Rhyme Without Reason,
10th October, 2018)