She was tired. A month has gone by and she couldn’t remember when was the last time she took a breath full of life and peace. Travelling from this meeting room to that board room to another. She felt like a nomad, living off the time of other people’s life. When was the last time she had a lunch or dinner at a table? Instead of grabbing a bite here and there, in the car, in the flight. When was the last time she stopped to think of herself. When was the last time she smiled and let out a sigh of satisfaction?
This enlightenment occurred in yet another board room when she accidentally tuned out of the meeting for five minutes. Suddenly alert, she sat straight in the chair and looked around. Twelve people in the meeting room. All familiar faces but she didn’t know anyone whom she could call as a friend. Where were her friends? She was a successful woman, a member of the executive board which made critical decisions pertaining to the lives of nearly 5000 employees. And yet in that board room, she did not feel all that glory of her achievements. She was lonely and tired and hungry.
She looked outside the window. The sun. It was a pleasant day. When was the last time she took a walk in a park? When was the last time she felt the early morning sun on her skin? There was no more jogging now. She just hit the gym whenever she found time. Sometimes in the afternoon, sometimes night. What season is it, now? Autumn? Summer? When did rain come and go? All these travelling to countries with different climates, she lost track of the seasons itself. And of herself.
She was subdued throughout the rest of the meeting and finally it was over. Important decisions were taken. Agreements were signed. Profits were made. The ritual of handshakes and one-armed hugs were over. Everybody was ready to leave. She also walked out of the conference room. She looked around, her senses magnified manifold. She didn’t see the people dressed in formals and huddled over laptops. She saw the flower vase and the bunch of fresh blooms in vibrant colors. It felt like her eyes were assaulted with such bright colors. Small bundles of flowers in discreet corners of the hall, aisles, and other inconspicuous places was slowly breathing life into the sterile metal and glass environment , where people talked only about stocks and shares and competencies and portfolio differentiation.
She was waiting for her car to take her to the hotel room. She had a flight to catch in another 4 hours. There was not much time left to explore the place before she checked-in at the airport. She looked out of the window of the car and saw people walking on the sidewalks, the vendors, trees and parks, mothers with kids and teenagers in cool chic dresses, and the homeless. She saw the tall buildings and glass windows reflecting the clouds and the blue sky. She saw the lake and the old men and ladies of some support group talking with each other and laughing. She saw the fitness freaks making the rounds of the lakes with earphones in their ears. She saw the traffic light go red, yellow and green. She saw the leaking sewage, the overfilled garbage bins, lazily strewn flyers, wrappers, and soft drink bottles. She read the signs, saw the models on the billboards and read the advertisements stuck on the walls. She saw a man play the violin and another juggle caps and collect coins in them. She saw the red gown, matching clutch and fancy high heels displayed on the mannequin in a shop. She saw the shopkeepers arrange the three-tiered wedding caked adorned with pink creamy flowers and ribbons for sale in another. She couldn’t open her eyes wide enough. She could not see enough. She was hungry – hungry for the sights, the smell and the sounds of the world.
Not all of them were beautiful. Not all of them made her happy. But she felt alive. She felt her heart beat again. She felt like trusting herself, again, to make decisions in which she had a place for her happiness and her long forgotten dreams. She reached her hotel room and packed her stuff, thanked the hotel staff and left for the airport once again. To return home. Rather, to make her house a home.
At the airport, she saw a couple of paintings hanging in one of the shops. She did not generally buy souvenirs and gifts on her travels. She never had the time. Now that she was prepared to make a massive change to herself and her life, she might as well begin now. One of the painting was of a man on a beach. She was quite intrigued by that painting. It’s always a women who is strolling on a beach alone. Or with a bunch of flowers or in the rain or anywhere possible. Even to advertise farm and agricultural equipment and machines, a woman was essential in the display. But this was different.
She decided to buy the painting. She held the painting in both her hands at an arm’s
length and looked again. The man was painted in his side profile. He was tall, broad, athletic and strong and had a kind of dark brown hair. There was a lot of blue in the painting; in various shades – the sky, the sea, his shirt. What would have been the color of his eyes? Another blue? Too bad his eyes are not drawn for the others to see. She grimaced. She still like the painting.
As she was giving instructions to the shopkeeper to pack the painting, the man in the painting in her hand turned to look at her, ever so lightly, without giving too much away. He didn’t want to freak her out.
He decided that he liked her too. She was beautiful. He turned away to look at the sea again. Anyway, he was going to see her everyday now.