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The Nostalgic Mystery [SHORT STORY] – #StoriesInArt

old paintbrush
Written by Sanchita Bhartiya

Every time she walked down memory lane, she never gave that painting a miss.

There was always something about those vivid hues and textures that kept Bulbul intrigued by it.

A life size Ganesha clad in red drapes with a thick spiky blue background carved into wavelike strokes, apparently made Ganesha emerging straight from the finest oceans with an enviable complexion that Bulbul coveted.

George sir had done a wonderful job on it; that painting on the mystery door spoke volumes of his ingenuity.

Fabricated impeccably on the mystery door, Bulbul always wondered what was behind it? Where did the door lead to? Was it the doorway to heaven? Was Ganesha guarding Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati just like the way granny narrated during bedtime stories?

As a child aged six her curiosity and imagination was soaring at length everyday.


As an evening ritual George sir visited them to hone the fine arts of the older children at home.

He was a visionary, back in eighties when photography was limited only to functions, he went a step ahead and held a baby shoot for Bulbul when she was just a few months old.

Bulbul always admired her posters adorning the walls of the house and took pride in being able to work over those expressions at such a nascent age.

Now on being aware that these too were works of George sir, she became fonder of him and was in the lookout of learning more from him.

Hailing from a conservative middle class family as she was, it was a tradition to teach the growing up girls the finesse of arts and crafts which as they contemplated would add to their credentials and help them to find a better match.

Bulbul was too young to join the league and envied her older cousins for learning the real finery of life. She started invading her cousin’s drawing room even more, especially during evenings when the daily craft ordeals were carried out.

As a first grader she was assigned to draw a parrot, with her developing pencil holding skills it was a task for her but when she approached George sir, he taught her the tricks to draw a parrot seamlessly which perfectly stood out among her friends.

She made every possible attempt to approach the teacher who had now become a demi-God for her.

Amidst everything something always worked upon her sub-conscious mind, ‘the mystery of the magnificently painted door’ that never seemed to be opened.

Unlike other children, Bulbul was not fond of sweets and chocolates. She hoarded the ones she got at birthday parties.

Though curious, she lacked the courage to walk to the door and open it herself to find the treasures of house hidden behind or a secret tunnel that would be used to escape at the outbreak of world war iii.

What was it that Ganesha was concealing behind his trunk, it surely wasn’t just laddoos.

Bulbul was about to turn seven in a month and she knew what to ask for her birthday gift from her ever so pampering elder sister, and bribed her with those heaps of sweets.

One evening when aunt was away with the cousins, the little girls sneaked in the drawing room with their hearts pounding fast and hands shivering they made every attempt not to make any noise. They checked if somebody was watching them and cross checked that nobody was in the gallery leading to drawing room.

They reached the painted Ganesha, smirked and exchanged glances, it was close to conquering a fort to them.

With all their might they opened the door and freaked over the surprise that met their eyes.

In the furthest stretch of their imagination they could have never imagined a door so attractively painted in the hues and textures that would weave one of the finest memories of their childhood someday, would barely house a few old, unused brushes, dried tubes of oil pastels and a rag!!

This story was submitted as part of the #StoriesInArt blogging competition. Read other shortlisted entries here

About the author

Sanchita Bhartiya

Sanchita Bhartiya Bansal is a homemaker and a full-time mother of a 10 month
Hailing from a conservative family, she was born and bred in Kanpur.
At the age of 27, Sanchita who was once aspiring to be a chartered
accountant has now taken up writing.

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