I was a 34 year old brilliant pianist when I lost my sight due to a terrible accident. I had just begun earning fame and name for my talent which had been polished and honed through years and years of hard work, efforts and patience.
It was all thrown away because a drunk person got behind the wheel. I turned very bitter and miserable after that. I barely ate, I was a cranky gentleman and the only one who gave me solace was my dog.
Her name was Oakley. She was a golden retriever and would often comfort me when sobs would wrack my body on an endlessly dark day, when time would stretch on into an eternity.
A year later, I heard music. Someone was thumping the keys on the piano, but there was no lilt and no tune to the music. It was just a mindless thumping and I slowly but surely, recognised each key and each note.
I made my way to the piano and heard Oakley’s excited bark and the thump of her paws as she banged them again and again on the piano. Maybe she felt that since I had been happy when I had been playing, I would be happy if she played for me.
I pushed her off the stool and sat down on it myself. I tried playing a tune, but to no avail. I couldn’t find the right keys and try as I might, positioning my fingers didn’t help.
I gave a groan of frustration as I hugged Oakley to me and cried. In her desperation to rid me of my anxiety, she started pawing the keys again. I felt calm and at peace as I let the notes wash over me like waves. She played for me every afternoon. After a while, I started holding her paw to understand where each key was.
That’s the way I learnt to play again. By remembering the position of each key and each note, by holding Oakley’s paw as she led me through the dark, I learnt to play and to live. I pay homage to the dog. She gave me a reason to live for once more
Today they call me -The Blind That Can See, because I am a privileged man that saw a way to get back his life, his music and his passion even when he was severely handicapped.
I cringed as I entered my home, the sickly sweet smell of paint going up my nose. I stared aghast, at my room mate, who had apparently been “inspired” at 8 in the morning, to “create”.
Today seemed to be one of those days.I made my way to the kitchen with the groceries as she merrily yelled that she had found the inspiration for a masterpiece. I shrugged non commitally at that.
She suddenly stopped what she was doing and sat me down. She asked me,rather fiercely, why I didn’t consider painting to be an essential skill. She then told me a philosophy. She told me that painting was life and life was painting. The blank canvas was a new life which was just beginning.
Just like each different colour has its own significant value, each experience in life also has its own significant value. No two strokes are the same, because each is made in a different emotion, by a different hand, for a different cause, just the way each deed we do is meant for a different purpose.
She said the mistakes we make in life, are like the wrong colours, the wrong strokes on a canvas which can spoil a masterpiece. However, if one can rectify the “mistake” by making a new colour or using the stroke for a unique line, then it adds an individualistic tone to the same painting. Similarly, the mistakes we make in life don’t spoil our whole canvas. They simply give it an originality which it would have lacked otherwise.
At the end of the tether, when we look back, we can see our own canvas of life and we can see the masterpiece we have painted. The important thing is to WAIT for that masterpiece. Everything happens for a reason. Each stroke, each colour, each design, each mistake- they all have their own significance which unfurls only with time.
The day they fall into place is the day we look back at our lives with an unbiased eye. That’s the day we see the masterpiece of our life which we have created.
The first thing I decided when she had finished that rant? I needed painting classes. Immediately.
I groaned softly as I got up from the hard bench, raising my head to look at the police officer who pushed my food in through the walls of the prison cell.
I winced as I felt the dryness in my throat and licked my lips trying to moisten them. I swallowed my food with difficulty, my beard prickling my cheek. Each second I could hear the uproar and the shouting that was going on outside.
I was pulled roughly to my feet and dragged out of my cell to the execution centre, where the eyes of the executioner bored into me. The officers tried to be impartial but they couldn’t prevent the gleam of triumph that entered their eyes at the fate that I was about to suffer.
One of them whispered in my ear that I would finally pay the price for my crimes and the souls of his relatives would rest in peace.
I raised my shaggy head to look at the crowd which broke into an uproar and spat at me, incensed with rage. I heard the cries of the mothers who had lost their children. I felt the silent anguish of the wives who grieved solemnly for their dead husbands. My chest heaved with the anguish, despair and pain of so many people which weighed me down.
You know the fact that upset me the most? I hadn’t done the deed. I hadn’t killed all these people and I didn’t deserve their hatred. The one who was responsible for these dastardly crimes was my own younger brother, a man with family and children. It was not something casual for me. There are some crimes which cannot be reversed. I did not and would not support relentless consecutive murders to satisfy blood lust. Death was too easy for him.
I had taken his crimes upon my head so that my death would teach him the price that had to be paid for wrong doing. With a smile on my lips and contentment in my heart, I headed towards the executioner, feeling peace as he pulled the rope.
The darkness engulfed me and the frantic heart beats came to a still slowly as I found an ethereal world of goodness, righteousness and humanity. I had found my heaven. But it wasn’t on Earth.