Answer by Amogh Talpallikar:
THE ARTIST IN ME
The door bell rings.
She is back from school. Throws her bag on the ground and rushes to her room. I can tell when she is pissed off.
Her mom seems equally pissed off. She is giving me that look. I call it the why-did-I-marry-you look.
"She saw 'your' painting at the museum. As expected, nobody believed her."
"Oh…..she must have seen one of the originals."
"Of course and that day is not that far when she will understand what her dad does for a living. "
"She will be proud of me. She will be proud of my art. Proud of the artist in me!"
"Proud of 'your' art ? ", She could not digest what I just said.
"Yes! Art Forgery is an art in itself. World's greatest artists have not been able to replicate their work and I have replicated their work multiple times. It's an art my dear. Now, Let me take care of our daughter!"
I walk up the stairs towards her room.
"How was the visit to the museum, Katie ?", I ask her.
"Pathetic!", she responds.
"What happened, dear..?"
"I saw your painting there. The one you made last year. and the year before it. I told them so…. They said it can't be true. The painting has been there for a long time even before grandpa was born."
"You must have confused it with some other painting!"
"No! I remember! They took your painting and now they are saying it's someone else's. They are liars dad! Liars! All of them."
"Katie… listen to me.. "
"Have your lunch, I will see what they have done and punish them!"
** FOUR YEARS **
"There are visitors for you.", I hope its her.
It's both of them.
"Katie.. How are you my dear?"
"I am good. Dad.. I want to ask you a question."
"Yes my dear… I have been dying to hear your voice."
"All your art. It Forgery. You have been lying to me all these years. Why ?"
I don't know what to say. I look at her mom. She is looking away and I can't look my daughter in the eye.
"No…. See .. I did all of it .. for us to have a better life… for the family, for us… for you "
"For me ? For the family… for a better life? Good Job Dad…. Look what has happened to our family. and what you do, …It's called theft. For all I know, my dad is a thug. A con. A thief. Something I will have to deal with rest of my life ….",
She is crying. That's not good. Not at all.
"it's not that bad a thing.. I can explain….See… It's an art….World's greatest artists…. ",
"Not worth it Dad. Your explanation. It's not worth it….
True art has someone's emotions woven into it.. every stroke of the brush.. every colour has it. There are dreams in it. There are thoughts in it. It's not an art if it lacks that. What you make are just copies. That doesn't make you an artist. That is theft. Pure theft. I just came here to say.. we will probably never see each other again.. I still love you… Good Bye! Let's go mom.."
There are tears in her eyes. I will probably drown in them. I will die.
"Katie! …. Lisa! … ", They are walking away. Lisa turns around and walks towards me. Now she has that what I call, I-should-have-never-married-you-look.
"I have filed for a divorce. Once I am done with it. We are leaving this place. Where we are going, is none of your business…It was nice knowing..you…Jack…"
** EIGHT YEARS LATER **
So many people at a press conference. I am not used to seeing so many people at once for a long time now.
"Sir.. that painting.. of yours … "The tears that drowned me", the first one that you created while you were in the prison. Why is it off the auction ? When there are so many billionaires raring to go for it."
"I sell my artwork for money. This one. That's close to my heart. This is the one that inspired the artist inside me. If I sell it, I will be killing off the artist in me."
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