As you walk through the crowd of busy people, shadowed by their breath, in bright sunlight of Happy Lane, to your left will you find a grieving alley, which has got no name but just ‘adjacent to Happy Lane’, is where I recide. My house is a gloomy box with windows made of toughened glass,it all looks like it has been made with newspaper and cheap glue. I live with eight cats, not all of them have got names. The cracks in the wooden walls give more light than the dirty windows. I spend my days writing mostly, and occasionally painting a canvas, or cuddling the cats and kittens, feeding them and smile at how they break into my solitude. The laughs from the Happy Lane can’t find me here. Not even when I sit around the busy center of Joy Park where the Happy Lane meets the Merry Street. I sell my paintings. Sitting there all evening, not everyday. Happy people don’t care for the paintings, they either take them as a present or a collection. I’ve heard that ‘Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.’,but quite the contrary, disturbed people don’t give a damn. They paint themselves I guess, or write or read or listen or see or feel. Whatever.
Yesterday, one of my cats died. A little boy from the Happy Lane killed it. He threw stones at, didn’t stop, till it bled to death. He felt happy while doing so, he was laughing his heart out, while the cry vanished amidst the laughters of Happy Lane. The boy still laughs. His parents laugh as he plays with other boys in the Joy Park while I sit with my paintings.
I once drew a portrait of a cat, the first ever one who came to live with me, he was five months old then. White and black fur ball, with eyes, bright yellow.
It was a cold winter evening and I did not expect anymore kind customers and started packing up. The boys retreated from playing a little early due to the advent of dense fog .The killer of my late cat somehow moulded her mother into buying the particular portrait and almost dragged her to my shanty little tent. She bought it for him. He looked so happy, dancing, whirling around her mother, singing, as they sauntered through the busy crowd of Happy Lane.
Text By Somreeta Paul