By Safdar Inamdar
They say that museum security systems are designed to keep people in, not out. I own a small sculpture museum. Nothing special. It’s in that part of town no one visits, at the corner of that road no one drives down. Business isn’t exactly blooming, but we have enough visitors to keep the place open.
I’m sort of an art lover myself. I love sculptures. I believe them to be the purest form of art. They express so much of the artist’s feelings. Everything from the expression of the face to the entire body posture, they can tell you about a million different things.
Of the majority of my visitors, most don’t know the first thing about art. Their chief purpose is just to come and take pictures with some of the more muscular statues. It’s so frustrating, all those statues, screaming to be heard, but all these fools, just too dumb to understand. But there is the occasional one who has a decent knowledge of what he’s looking at and can understand a little of what the sculptures are trying to tell.
Today was just another typical day. The same frustrating crowd, going around, looking at everything, but not seeing anything. I’d have every single one of them kicked out if it wasn’t their money that was keeping this place open. Like I said, a typical day. Until she walked in.
She seemed just like any of these fools at first glance. I walked up to her and offered her my services. Part of my job as the owner/tour guide was to show people around if needed. Most didn’t bother, though. But she smiled at me and thanked me. I felt a ray of hope. Maybe this one would appreciate all this beauty around her if only a little.
As we walked to the first set of statues, she asked me about their history and origin. Once I was done telling her about it, she started to tell me what she thought the sculpture was trying to express and asked me for my thoughts too. I was utterly taken by surprise. No one had done this in a long, long time.
When we were at our 4th or 5th statues, that’s when I really started to notice her. Although a little shabby, her golden hair looked as if someone had poured liquid gold over her head. Her green eyes seemed to have had captured a never-ending forest inside them. One could just stare at them forever. Something about her face just pulled you into conversations with her and never let you go.
Before I knew it, it was night. The crowd around us had pretty much disappeared. Closing time was nearing. But we kept talking, statue after statue, and before we knew it, we were alone. I asked her whether she would like to see some of my work, sculptures I had designed myself. She was a bit surprised, but she said she would love to. I asked her to give me a minute to lock up.
On our way to the storage room, she asked me why I didn’t display my work in a corner; after all, it was my museum. I told her I couldn’t seem to capture life within them. As soon as we walked into the storage room, she tensed up. I looked at her to see her face go from her lovely smile to an expression of complete horror. She turned around and took off.
I suppose that was understandable. After all, anyone would be scared if they saw a human body half covered in white cement. I called out after her, reassuring her that she won’t be lifeless like the rest of them. She just had too much to say inside her. She would be my masterpiece. The first of my sculptures to be full of life. After all, I was planning on keeping her alive until the cement set.
She was a very fast runner. I never would’ve caught up to her, but luckily for me, museums are designed to keep people from getting out, not getting in. When I finally caught up to her, she was screaming loud enough to wake up the entire neighborhood. It’s a good thing we were in the middle of nowhere.
I kept reassuring her that she would be my masterpiece as I restrained her and carried her back to the room. I kicked off the half-finished statue off my table and placed her on it. She would finally be the one. The sculpture which had so much to say that it actually seemed alive. But I wasn’t too worried. After all, if she ended up like the rest of them, I could always find someone else. I had all the time in the world.
By Safdar Inamdar