Next morning after Upendra had left for the bank, Savitri told Adarsh, “Last night we were discussing about you.”
“I know, I could hear each and every word and the way Bappa was shouting, I am sure the neigbours could hear too,” Adarsh replied dryly.
“This is not a matter to be treated with humour or sarcasm, Adarsh. It is a question of your career. Your father has your best interests at heart.”
“More than my interests, he is concerned about his pride and esteem. He wants me to become an engineer so that he can hold his head high and say, ‘See I began my life as a messenger but have made my son an engineer.’”
“That’s a very mean thing to say, Adarsh,” Savitri snapped. “Your father is not against your pursuing sculpture as a hobby. In fact, he himself says it is a beautiful art form. But you can’t earn a living through sculpture in today’s times. What he is saying, and I totally agree, is that you should make engineering your profession and continue with sculpture as your passion. That way, even if you don’t succeed as a sculptor, you’ll have your profession to fall back on — you won’t be on the streets.”
“But Ma, I can’t cut up my existence like this — a chunk of it for a profession and a slice of it for a passion. And moreover, why do you people assume I will not succeed? I am good and I know it. I have the confidence that I’ll do well. So why don’t you allow me to follow my passion? It’s my life, allow me to live it the way I want to,” Adarsh said and walked out.
He went to his favourite spot on the beach and started doing what he was best at…
The arguments continued for days on end. Finally, one day Upendra told him, “You can stop going to your tuition so that I can save that much money at least. I am sure this money will come in handy later. Also, from now on, you are entirely on your own. After all, like you told your mother so grandly, it is your life so I am allowing you to live it the way you want.”
Adarsh did reasonably well in his Class XII exam. He didn’t join college — his college, his laboratory, his entire world was now the beach.
He would disappear early in the morning and come back at night.
The entire day he would spend creating art on sand. He would make figures of mythological characters, modern legends, animals and birds, idols and icons, in fact anything and everything he fancied. As he sculpted beautiful figures from the grains and pebbles on the beach he attracted beggars, kids and curious onlookers.
One day he had a special visitor. Durga Puja was around the corner and he had made a stunning sculpture of Goddess Durga in all her magnificence. “It is lovely, son,” he heard a soft, all-too-familiar voice and looked up.
To be continued
Illustrations: Susanta Das