The Chance Encounter

By: Tania Bhattacharyya

The Chance Encounter

Neel was busy examining a painting after so many years...............

He valued innocence and honesty a lot.

 

In the dawn of his career, he felt an urge to paint an innocent child’s face.

His attempts so far had been unsatisfactory. He was not being able to paint the face he wanted.

Neel laughed at himself. `` Like flowers bloom in the right time, my painting will also take shape. The time has not come. Let’s wait. ”

Next morning, the golden rays of the sun gently kissed him. The doorbell rang around 8 a.m. Neel was not expecting anybody. The maid had taken leave that day.

Neel saw through the eye. There stood a man. Neel opened the door.

His newly arrived neighbour Ram introduced himself. 

He called his wife, Rina and sweet little boy Raja.

Raja was seven years old. His eyes were like a deer- restless and innocent. His face was oval with cute lips spreading in a lovely smile. Neel instantly felt, ``This is the child I want to paint.’’

Neel developed a good relationship with the family and became a close friend of Raja.

Raja’s 8th birthday was to take place after a month.

Neel started painting. He wanted to present Raja with his portrait.

Day by day, Raja beautifully came alive on the canvas.

Neel prepared a good quality print of the painting, and set aside the original for Raja. He was very busy at that time with assignments and projects and could not be present in the party. His studio was a mess. He asked his maid to give the original painting for framing, gift-wrap the original and present it to Raja.

Soon after Raja’s father got transferred. Neel lost touch with the family.

Neel had always been under the impression that he had gifted the original. He did not want to exhibit or sell the print. The painting lay in an isolated corner in his studio for many years.

Neel was now close to fifty.

He was not in a good phase in his life, and needed money.

One day he decided to spend the evening rearranging his old paintings.

Suddenly he chanced upon the painting of Raja. The painting was lovely. Neel could not help but marvel the creation. But......what he was holding was not a print...................

He examined the paper..........the paper was real............the strokes were his strokes.......................then had the maid, so many years ago in his absence mistakenly gifted the print?

He reluctantly submitted the painting in an exhibition ......

On the last day of the exhibition, Neel went to the gallery quite early. When he entered he saw a young handsome man standing in front of Raja’s painting. Neel went up to the man.

The man was overjoyed. `` Neel Uncle, can you recognize me? I am Raja. How are you?”

Indeed, it was Raja.

Neel could not believe himself.

Neel said, `` Well, I am fine. I think you got the print of your portrait as your birthday present, though I intended to present you with the original. Raja, please take this painting. You don’t have to pay anything.”

Raja replied, `` Surely I will take this painting. Neel Uncle, you may say that this is for free, but I would like to reward such a well-intentioned good hearted artist like you. Please give me your contact details.‘’

Soon after, Neel received a cheque of Rs.50, 000/ and an appointment letter of Senior Art Editor of Raja’s monthly magazine. The chance encounter must have been a blessing of God....