I once painted this on a kurta for him. It wasn’t the first I’d done for him, nor the last either. But it was probably the best.
The first one was given to me after much deliberation and then again, a new off-the-roadside kurta that was bought for the occasion. He loved the black single-stroke line-drawing Buddha I etched out on the white textured cloth. And that one was worn long after the cloth had gone ‘unwearable’.
There was also a colourful Ganapathi that I remember. Which he received without much comment. Until he got back from home-vacation with the message that
Mum said it should have been painted on the back.
Nothing of the Durga though. Goddess of his land. Goddess of my spirit. I think of him when I see this particular picture. And I wonder what did happen to the kurta I painted….since it received no comment from him (but a mark of appreciation from a common friend who saw it on him in class and recognized my style). Relegated to the bottom of a cupboard most likely. Yet another object untreasured in its lifetime of use, but elevated to useless sentiment later.
But he never really understood Durga, did he? In spirit or in me. I never painted for anyone else after that.