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Bird of Heaven

The roughed-out doodled sheet is lying unattended on the table. The husband’s glance falls on it as he passes by. Curiosity piqued, he takes it and asks, ‘What is this?’

I shrug. It is an instinctive response that doesn’t mean much.

‘You made it?’ he asks, saucer-eyed.

I nod and smile, feeling very self-conscious.

‘How did you do it?’ I notice the streak of disbelief in his voice.

‘One stroke at a time,” I say, taking the paper back from him.

‘But it looks so complicated.’ He can’t wrap his head around it. He turns it around a couple of times to figure what it is.

‘It isn’t so complicated when you do it one stroke at a time. Isn’t that how dreams are realized and goals are achieved? Isn’t that how milestones are reached? One step at a time?’

As he looks on, still stupefied, I explain to him that when I began, it was just a small patch of doodle signifying nothing. Then as the sketch slowly grew on the paper, bit by bit, something seemed to emerge out of it. It made me follow a blind instinct that led me to a certain shape. I soon realized I could indeed convert this random, mindless doodle into something meaningful.

‘Thus, this!’ I say waving the paper in front of him.

‘And what exactly is it?

‘Umm… I think I will call it Bird of Heaven, perhaps?’

‘And where did you learn to do this?’

‘Nowhere. Just improvised on the kolam (rangoli) drawing skills that I acquired as a kid. It seems there is this new art form called zentangle. I don’t know how to zentangle, but I know how to draw kolams.’

Then I add, ‘Actually, there is nothing miraculous about it. No rocket science or genius involved. I just drew on my old skills, put a new spin on it, developed bit by bit, and voila!’

He gives me an acknowledging smile and taps my head. ‘I know what you mean. Good luck on your plans for the new venture. It looks challenging at this point, but I know you will get there, slowly, one stroke at a time.’

‘Yes, I will,’ I say, tracing the plumes of the Bird of Heaven with my finger. ‘All beginnings are often insignificant. Just a dot, a line. And when you persist, it becomes a whole new picture. You don’t know how you made it, but you did, after all. Is this what ‘no looking back’ means?’ I ask reflectively.

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