A short story written by me as an entry for the IIT-BHU KashiYatra ’17 Samvaad Scripturesque (on the spot creative writing contest) The sentence in bold letters was the topic given to the contestants.
Brag alert: this thing won the contest.
She looked at the ruddy splodges on the creased velvety bed sheet with a stolid face because…
that’s how you’re supposed to look at these damned things. A lank, dark and bespectacled man with fuzzy conditioner-saturated hair sidled up to her, facing the artwork. Milli stole a glance. Artsy she thought, smirking.
“Funny isn’t it? How mere stains can speak volumes about the human condition” said he, rubbing his chin with the dexterity of a seasoned art critic.
“They do, Don’t they?” Milli replied, “The backdrop is definitely a stroke of genius, I must say. Red stains on a Velvet background speaks volumes”
“Volumes” she reiterated.
“Indeed! The manner with which these vermilion renderings have been juxtaposed on this truly revolutionary canvas is awe-inspiring, to say the least. Just look at the way these forms have been used to express fluidity at that corner” he traced a curve with his finger “only to transform into a completely different morphology right about here, next to this crease.”
“Although” countered Milli “In all fairness hasn’t the artist gone a bit overboard with the tonality of the…”
“I beg to differ” interrupted the man, his voice a little louder than mandated by the dictates of high society. Looking about apologetically, he softened his tone and continued:
“I know what you mean but I disagree. I think the tonality happens to impart a gestaltic experience to the work as a whole”
“It certainly adds to the dialogue” Milli mused.
“You bet it does!” The man exclaimed, promptly cringing at his own voice.
“You bet it does!” He whispered excitedly instead.
“Risky, though” Milli remarked.
“Bold” corrected the man “What’s art without an element of risk? A dash of uncertainty if you will”
Hearing this acknowledgment of defeat the man grinned. He grinned the grin of a man who has made a point, and made it well.
“I happen to be a professional art critic, see?” Said the critic, revealing the source of his genius.
Milli wished he would stop grinning. Narcissistic git, she thought.
“Who am I kidding? They’re just splodges on a bedsheet dude” she said, breaking character.
The critic stared at her; wide-eyed in open-mouthed incredulity.
“Surely, you don’t mean that!” Outrageous Milli could almost hear him thinking blasphemous.
“I do” she clarified, giving the critic a smile that would have been thoroughly disarming. It wasn’t, given the context.
“You have no taste,” the critic remarked disdainfully “Sugandha Sharma happens to be a universally acclaimed contemporary art maestro”
“Doesn’t stop ruddy splodges from being ruddy splodges” she said “or ruddy splodges of tomato ketchup to be more precise”
“You’ve got a rotten sense of humour”
“Aah well” Milli had had enough “I wasn’t joking, see?”
“Are you off your rocker woman?” Said the critic, losing all composure. He’ll be damned if he let himself be mimicked and laughed at by this upstart.
“Perhaps” quipped Sugandha Milli Sharma and added, almost as an afterthought:
“I also happen to be the artist”
The smirk back in its place, she turned around. Artsy she thought, walking away.