Random Thoughts

The Maestro & The Masterpiece

I am Sandara: they say it means a ’song’ in Persian, though I have never heard my own voice. Lovely as I am, my soul is nevertheless even more beautiful, in such a manner that my body, composed in oil-paint on a large canvas, is nothing more than the geometric sign of rectitude and fidelity. I am standing, a classic pose of someone who rises with ease. The notion to create an awareness between conscious choice and conscious action — I hardly could decipher a reasonable logic to the dual choices. The Maestro, who loved me, had sketched and painted me in all postures life imprints on us, but I had composed myself before he did. What shall I do? To what god, hero, or lover shall I dedicate this masterpiece, myself?

What shall I do? Perfection is a road that leads only to solitude: I no longer see in men and women anything but surmounted greed. The Maestro, who has greater genius than I, is in my presence nothing more than a poor man no longer in possession of himself, and would gladly exchange his ardour for my serenity. What shall I do? Have sharpened my soul only to have a sword. Shall I construct a temple? Shall I write a poem, which shall last longer? The parcelling out of action disillusions me from acting, and each victory is nothing more than a broken mirror in which I cannot see myself whole. One has to have many illusions to desire power, too much vanity to desire glory. Since I possess myself, what enrichment could the universe bring me — and happiness means nothing to me, for I am a subject of praise, envy, ridicule, a muse to the artist, a possession to the art collector who paid a high price to frame me on his drawing room wall, so that when his abode is visited by prestigious mates, I am praised for the amount he paid to possess me in his chambers.

When men and women contemplate my painting, they shall not ask who I was or what I did: they shall praise me for having existed. I am standing in the sands of Thar Desert in Rajasthan and at a distance a reflection of Mount Abu revealed in the painting as if I am at the top of the world, and am myself its crown. I loved dreams, because I knew nothing else. But dreams, too, can betray, and now I am alone….only viewed by the glaring eyes of passerbys. I loved deeply but was muted: even those we love do not understand or do not wish to. They are amazed; they suffer, they resign themselves. Then they die. In my timeless existence, which, as I grow older, is plunged into more and more crepuscular periods, I have continually seen the forms of perfect life strive to give way to others more simple, closer to primitive humility.

I am Sandara, the beautiful woman captured in oil paint on a large canvas. The poems I wrote for the one I loved shall, in many centuries to come, no longer be understood –and for poems, that is a form of death. I inspire many artist, poet, musician and bohemian with the powerful body I uphold myself, with fierce and gentle features: I see smiles lift the corners of lips, glimmer beneath their closed eyelids, and flood their face with the equivalent of light. But, I, Sandara, am frozen in time. The dead lie quiet, satisfied, knowing that nothing can destroy, since death cancels itself out even as it achieves its purpose. And because they have gone beyond knowledge, I have assumed that they understood.

But perhaps the dead do not understand that they understand, if they were never borne. I was never borne, yet, have been admired and detested by the envious. Thus, I shall be the subject of great scrutiny for many many years to come, for I live in many elaborate drawing room walls, a mute ‘Sandara‘; frozen on canvas. Ah, and my Maestro lives on without his masterpiece.


More by :  Shaheen Sultan Dhanji

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