I watched him as he lay out his mat & carefully placed all the porcelain dolls one after another.
They were dressed up in pretty floral dresses made of lace...sharp angulated features which gave them a clear distinguished look, a small plastic umbrella over their head---they were perfect!!
Exquisite marvels of a gifted sculptor.
I watched him as he carefully placed them row after row.
"aapne banaye hai?"
(you made these?) i asked..
He nodded, flashing me a proud smile.
I couldn't help admire his talent the precision with which he created those magical forms--all exactly the same, as if a thousand porcelain clones of the same 'flawless' gene.
The perfection seemed so equal...so undiscriminating..
Each told me a story...a story of precision..of accuracy...of flawlessness.
a story of how they were created with the same amount of time, concentration, attention and care.
I went upto the man selling them to take a closer look and asked him if he had anything different.
He apologised saying they were all the same--he did not know to make then any different.
"dus saal ho gaye madamji, yahi bana raha hoon..har saal aata hoon yahan inhe bechne..yahan jo sale lagta hai na, woh sahab khareedte hai wholesale mein"
(its been 10 years madamji, that im making these..the gentleman who conducts this sale here buys it from me wholesale), he said pointing to the tents, which were half ready for the upcoming event.
"kuch doosra try kyon nahi karte?"
(why dont you try something different?), i asked intrigued at his monotony.
"darta hoon madamji, agar galti ho gayi, toh saari mehnat bekaar chali jayegi..jawab dena padta hain sale wale saahab ko"
(im afraid madamji..if i make a mistake, all my efforts would go to waste..i am answerable to the gentleman conducting the sale)
and then he mumbled wistfully, "khuda thode na hoon, ke jo chaha, jaisa chaha bina soche samjhe banau aur koi poochne wala na ho"
(im not god..who creates without thinking as per his wishes and doesn't have to be answerable to anyone
Stumped by his almost incoherent mumblings, i stood there staring at those lovely images this man had created.
It was only when he proceeded to stand up that my eyes fell upon the pair of crutches that were lying under the mat, almost half hidden from view..asif shying away from the audience which adorned its 'superior' friends (the porcelain dolls lying atop the mat) with compliments.
The alarm on my face must have been evident for he looked up at me and smiled "polio" he said, "bhagwanji ne shayad galti kar li"
(polio...God, perhaps made a mistake)
It was asif life had suddenly turned a hazy blur as i stood there dumbfounded, not knowing what to say.
Here was a man who had mastered the art of creating perfection..and was so much in love with it that he was too afraid to try something else.
and then there is HIM who for some reason, not known to man, creates flaws in each one of us in some form or the other.
Is it because HE is answerable to no one?
or was he tired of the monotony and so created a few deliberate flaws in each of us, to see how we deal with it?
Would we value 'perfection' had it been monotonous?
Are our 'imperfections' just a test to measure our strength..just a challenge to test our courage?
and then again, who decides the intensity of the flaws and on what basis are they distributed?
Theory of 'randomness' or theory of 'rationalisation'---which one would you choose?
I left the spot with a weird kinda heaviness in my heart...a heaviness that told me, that soon enough, the memory of those perfect images would fade from my mind but the words of that flawless soul...those would remain with me forever!!!