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The Artiste

By Shrestha Kar

Vanya claims 17 is the best age to because you grow out of the fantasies of sweet sixteen and get realistic and slowly start to picture how you want to your life be like. This is also the age where you kind of start preparing yourself for being eighteen and matured. When we are younger we are in rush to get older because we are convinced that there is great sense of jollification in growing up but you eventually stop romanticizing getting old when integration, organic chemistry and derivations gets added to your syllabus.

Vanya believes that a person becomes who they are based on the lessons life has taught them rather than how they are raised to be. As said in the movie Split (2016): “The broken are the more evolved”.She believed surviving abuse gave one strength and character as if they are reborned. But it is more than just that coping with trauma give us a stronger will. He seemed to think that you would literally become a superior superhuman being by nearly being destroyed by a trial by fire. They are evolved in the sense that no one has seen the world’s ugly truth so up close than they have.

Vanya’s classmate thinks that she is too much of sadist that she doesn’t believe that this world was never a better place nor will be one. According to Vanya every generation was virulent. She was a realist and people didn’t always like that. She viewed the world as in terms of people, her thought was that being greedy, jealous and hateful are all part of human emotions and people always condemn and pretend that its inferior. When in reality these emotions play a huge role in striving to achieve something, it gives you drive.

She felt like an outcast among her friends. She wants ted to spent all her time rotting in her room reading about galaxies and cosmic feelings, to read and write poetry and watch “Dead Poet’s Society“ for the nth time. She sometimes wonders how similar she is to the person she truly hates. Her dad left when she was eight since then its been she and her mom. Her dad, Mathew James was a nonconformist and a bohemian person. He liked to collect art and sell it for that he used to different places and even journal life stories of people. All Vanya remembers about her father is that he bought her first drawing kit. She tries real hard to hate him but deep down idolizes him more than she should which makes her feel guilty and infuriated at herself. She reads his blogs discreetly as she feels her mom has already gone through enough. Mrs Maya Mathews was a conventional and logical. She was ordinary an she embraced that. She was hurt when Mathews let her as he felt that marriage was holding him hostage from al the thing that is dearest to him. Maya considered him as a startled fool who fled when things got real. She feared Vanya’s alikeness to her father. Maya was a groupie , Vanya was a loner. Maya was a sycophant, Vanya was a misanthrope. Maya was mainstream, Vanya was unconventional.

Vanya wanted to became a director, a story teller. She wanted to give entity to her thoughts. She used to write about the littlest things she observed, capture everything in her camera which was the only thing her father has left her with. She once wrote a poem about her neighbour next door. She used to get abused by her husband and she would scream when he left for his office. Vanya put herself in her shoes and wondered what she would feel and what thoughts she might have that she would wake up everyday and still cook for him and bid him goodbye. She slowly understood that it was not love, it was misery. She played the role of a wife for survival. Vanya wote a poem portraying the emotions flowing through her veins and mailed it to her. The neighbour broke down into tears and thanked her. Vanya could tell that she was also embarrassed but felt understood. That was the first time Vanya realized that an artist’s agony creates art which beholds the power to heal someone else. She strung emotions into words which gave her more pleasure than sitting by the sea watching the most perfect sunset where the sky throws shades of pink, purple and a teal orange.

One fine morning she was passing by the town market she caught a sight of a boy playing a tune out of useless objects which he scraped off from garbage. She was fascinated and tried to struck up a conversation with the 15 year old messy haired. But got vague replies from his side. Faith made them meet again couple weeks later at the local café, he was the bus boy. Vanya offered her fries and burger in exchange of a conversation. She found out both of them are quite similar, his dad died when he was four and ever since then they were buried in taxes and loans and had to mortgage everything they had. Now they live illegally in a abandoned building because all his earnings gets used up in her mom’s medication as she faced an accident few years back. Hank is passionate about music and creating music. He said music should be about the unspoken words, it should be intimate. Vanya lying in her bed couldn’t help but wonder what if Hank never gets the chance to introduce the world to his greatness. She couldn’t stop mulling over the fact how much he felt like his own but yet different. She was afraid that the world would never welcome her thoughts and he was afraid that world will never get to hear his voice.

She dialled a number hoping he would pick up also bracing herself and contemplating a conversation in her head. The moment there was a “hello” coming from the other side of the line, she went completely blank and tears rolled from her cheeks. She was surprised how much she missed hearing her father speak. After being completely silent for thirty seconds she finally said ‘hey’ with a trembling voice. She told him about Hank and Mathew was proud that his daughter was appreciating art , culture and music. He wanted to know how she she was doing and looked whether she still has that birthmark or that crooked smile or how much he wanted her to know that he regrets not being a part of her life. He was just a stranger who kinda looks the same and shares the same blood. He promised that e would help Hank out. He booked a two tickets and a place for Hank and his mom to live in Atlanta. Vanya knew she could never forgive him and knew he owed her a lot. She gathered a lot of strength and sent him the poems she wrote through Hank. She knew that he was the only person who would understand. Mathew broke into tears and re read it everyday. He sent her names of a few publishers and agencies and told her that she was made for greatness. On the back of the letter he wrote a quote :

“We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” N.H. Kleinbaum, Dead Poets Society

Vanya now realizes how one difficult phone call changed two lives. She became a best selling author in her mid twenties and how surprisingly well Hank was doing in the music industry.


By Shrestha Kar

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