Please note that this story is purely a work of fiction and all names, characters, places, events and locales are either a product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictous manner. Any resemblance to any event and/or person living and/or dead is purely coincidental. We do not intend on offending any race, religion or community.
Ved descended down the stairs holding a wooden box in his hands. He placed it on the floor and then slowly proceeded towards the dining hall. He sat down quietly at the table as the housemaids were arranging the cutlery.
Ragini was busy preparing the tea. She still had tears in her eyes. Words once spoken can never be taken back. And sometimes the wounds they leave do not heal that fast. She grated some ginger and extracted its juice for the tea. As she was opening the lid of the jar of sugar, a thought came to her mind and she put the jar back on the wooden shelf.
She went to the boiling pot of tea and said,” No matter how many ingredients I put into it, no matter how creamy the milk is, I simply hate to drink it without sugar. But that doesnt make sugar a necessary ingredient for tea. Its still an added or an optional ingredient. My taste is different from others and so is my work. What might be an option for others is a necessity for me and vice-versa. Sugar may be an optional ingredient for some, but for me it is the most important one. Art maybe an option for some, a hobby for others and an additional source of income for many. But for me, its the sugar in my tea, the beauty in my misery, the rain on my barren world and the breeze on my sunny days. For me, art isnt only about making a living. Its about creating a life and building a kingdom of love and hope.”
“Two spoons!” exclaimed Ms. Manya as she saw Ved adding extra sugar to his tea,” thats quite a lot of sugar.”
“I agree,” said Nishant pouring himself some water.
“Sugar is highly addictive,” said Ved stirring his cup of tea,” it can be really dangerous when consumed in excessive amounts.”
“Then why did you add that extra sugar into your tea?” asked Ms. Manya feeling surprised.
“Because,” he said sipping his tea,”my tea is my only source of sugar. I do eat fruits sometimes but I never eat chocolates, cakes and candy. I dont eat them only because I want to enjoy my tea with the sugar in it. Thats how I love it.”
Ragini was applying butter on the bread while listening to his words. Something in his tone touched her heart and she said to herself,” He is a genius. The things you love, put them first even if that means giving up on the rest of the lot. I have a very strong feeling that my decision of choosing my art class over my income has so far been the most amazing decision of my life.”
“I bought a painting recently,” said Ved in his usual soft tone,” I cant tell you how much it touched my heart.”
“Will you please show it to us as well?” said Nishant drinking his tea.
“Sure,” said Ved wiping his hands,”its in my wooden box.”
Ragini stood dumbfounded as Ved took out a painting she had drawn months ago. She had gifted it to Mrs. Bhaskar’s son on his seventh birthday as she didnt have anything else to gift him.
“Where did you get this from?” she couldnt help asking.
Ved looked at her with a surprised look on his face and then answered in his usual calm voice,”I made quite a lot of clay pots the other day. We had put up a sale at our workplace. A little boy walked upto me and asked if he could have a small clay pot in exchange of this. He said that this painting was a gift to him but he was bored of it and needed a new clay pot. I couldnt say no to him. I fell in love with this painting the moment I saw it.”
“But thats just a baby horse,” said Ms. Manya in her usual harsh tone.
“Thats not a horse,” said Nishant leaning back on his chair,” thats a baby unicorn.”
“Well,” said Ms. Manya looking at Ved,” what do you like about this?”
“I wish I could explain,” he said,”but I have no words to describe how I feel about this.”
“In those times,” said Ragini looking at the painting,” when you needed a warm hug and never got one, in those moments when you needed a few comforting words but no one said them to you, you felt like a baby unicorn caught in a field of ponies. This reminds you of that, if my guess is right.”
Ved listened patiently as if he was under some kind of a spell. Then, he finally spoke,” How do you know this? You dont even know me.”
“Art conveys emotions,” she said,”and sometimes emotions connect people. I felt these emotions while looking at it. So I made such a guess.”
“Thats wonderful,” said Ved looking straight into her eyes.