Drawing of eyes

intimate self-portrait

As I kissed last of the guests good night after my birthday gathering, I could sense cold creeping up, my light and my shadow sentinels, stood motionless.

I felt weak and exhausted, torn between self-preservation and self-harm. Having misbehaved with my mother a few days back, I was punishing myself with the most photogenic of addictions, smoking. In between being horizontal, sipping warm water with lemon and honey, and having misplaced my spectacles, I opened one of my presents — a set of Koh-I-Noor graphite sticks. I cleaned up a recently rescued old mirror, and started looking up close, giving my myopia a real treat — I wanted to draw the mess I felt! Kneeling on the rug with my toes tucked under, inches away from this thin long mirror and sketchpad, both balanced on the same easel, I found my hands starting to sketch up. My eyes observed with renewed curiosity, and accepted without judgement — by the end of the day, a drawn pair of eyes was staring straight back from the paper.

… without regret to erase, nor, any anxiety or urgency to smudge.

Next day, decided to continue drawing up close, even though I found the specs. I drew for three days, winter days are short, and the sun wasn’t out always, little changes in light got magnified; I deliberately kept the pace slow. The close proximity afforded an intimacy with which I re-familiarised my self. I built on marks without regret to erase, nor, any anxiety or urgency to smudge. Gently, slowly, the forms emerged, features became recognisable, I could see in it calmness yet it retained the melange of emotions. With every mark, I thanked all who brought me closer to this act of self-love. And, I thanked myself for the courage to scrutinise intensely, to be objective yet subjective, harsh and tender without conflict — to transcend my conscious ego-state. Intimacy means, “in-to-me-see”, how can anyone, see into me and who I am; my fears, dreams, hopes and desires, unless I know who I am, and am willing to allow someone in? Intimacy begins with connection to one’s own heart, and, I feel all the stronger having shared my vulnerabilities.

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