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  • Writer's pictureSonal

The Art Studio - Part 1

Have you ever felt like someone is watching you when you are asleep?The cool breeze of the summer night gently brushes past your skin, while you change the pillow to feel its colder side against your cheek. As you drift between dreams, at some point of the night when your sleep is at a comparatively lighter stage, you hear a faint hum that feels like it is coming from near your door. You check your phone to see if you accidentally left the music player on and slept off, but you rather forgot to charge it, so it's all dead now. You still hear the hum, but it is now farther. The hair on your nape is standing up, and your arms are filled with goosebumps. Your throat is drying up, but there's no water in your room because hydrating yourself has never been a part of your personal agenda. You slowly walk out of your room. The hum is no longer audible, but you see a shadow at the far end of the living room. It's your father.

My mother died 3 days after giving birth to me. My childhood was spent with me being shuffled between my grandparents' and my aunts' houses. I was 12 when I came back to live with my father. Our relationship was dysfunctional. We did not speak to each other mostly, except for the occasional notification of a doorbell that was meant for either of us. I did not know anyone from my mother's side of the family, much like I didn't know anything about my mother. I had no clue how she looked either because there was not a single photograph of her in the house - most of them had been burnt, and the ones that existed, her face had been scratched out from them. However, I did manage to steal away one photograph. I guess it was taken right before I was born. Although her face was scratched off from this photograph as well, I could feel that she was happy in it. Clad in a beige and black saree, she had one hand caressing her swollen belly that looked like it could explode any minute, and one arm around my father's waist. Every time I looked at the photograph, I wondered if my father scorned me because my mother died after giving birth to me.

My father was a strange man. Not because he hardly spoke to me, but because he never allowed me to go to the basement of our house. Like a ritual, he would make sure he locked the basement door every day before leaving for work. There was not a single day when he did not lock the door. Apparently, it used to be my mother's art studio before she died. She would spend hours there, painting up blank canvases, none of which were ever visible in our house. No argument of mine was ever entertained regarding the basement - my father did not want me to disrupt the pristine aura of the room. No matter how strange my father was, I believed that he still loved by mother. So I respected his privacy and his feelings.

But you know what they say? Forbidden fruit is the sweetest. But that's a story for another time.

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