Monday, August 26, 2013


There was once a man with a plan. “I want to be famous!” He said as he dreamed of the future where he would get much recognition. “Such beautiful sculptures will I make, that generations will remember my name! They will stand the test of time and make me one with immortality!” He exclaimed before embarking on his journey. The man’s name I will not mention for he no longer wishes it so. Listen to his tale and you’ll know why.

The man tried and tried but no sculpture could he make that got him his fame. He tried for days, then weeks, then months, then years but to no avail. Forget fame, even modest appreciation rarely came his way. Out of pity, a few customers would sometimes buy his works and pay him a pittance which provided two square meals for the day. The fame never came, the struggle carried on. Little changed. The sculptures lay unsold; the hunger for greatness began to fade. The tools began to gain rust; the hands grew pale. Finally one day, the man sighed “I’m tired” he said. Indeed he was. The pursuit for fame had been long and unrewarding. With anger and relief he destroyed his dreams. For once and for all, he abandoned his pursuit. “Useless! Devil! Vile monster! I bid thee adieu! Too long have you held me in your grasp! I free myself from your chains! No more do I want fame!” He exclaimed. “You my art! You have been my sole companion. You offered peace but I chose ambition’s frustration. You were there on my pillow on the hungry nights; you were there on the lonesome mornings. But I have been a blind fool. To find fame, I missed the pleasures you so graciously grant. Forgive my greed and accept me to become one with thee.” The man put his mind to his creation. This time the hand flowed with grace rather than with rush. His eyes followed the sculpture with love rather than with anticipation of a fortune. His body swayed comfortably as if dancing to a melody rather than with contracting muscles focused with tension. His fingers worked with divine precision and design. In a short while, it was complete; his first masterpiece. But he din’t know it. For him the joy lay no longer in the result; it lay in the process. No pain anymore; no suffering; nothing to achieve. Sitting silently, following his art, he felt complete. Higher than fame, more than glory, beyond immortality; he was one with body and mind. It was no surprise that the results were spectacular. He sat in his workplace for 3 days and 3 nights creating 13 sculptures of unmatched skill and brilliance. On the 3rd Night, he lay down exhausted. He never woke up again.

The awful stench attracted a hungry stray dog that crept into the basement in the wee hours of the night and devoured his remains. It wasn’t until the new tenant’s curious child opened the door and got the shock of his life that the news came to be public knowledge. The police came. The investigation was conducted. But no name could be put to the dead man’s body. They searched for a signature of the artist on his work perhaps. Upon close examination they saw it had been stricken off from most of the figures barring 13 relatively newer ones. The name etched into these ones simply read –


On the walls, a message was painted –
“Fame was once my delight but it became my poison. My art rescued me. It brought me joy. What’s in a name? It’s designed to fade with time. But one’s deeds, they are remembered forever.”