Fiction, Musings

Pamela’s Patina

Seeing that she was quiet, he left the room. He was upset and needed to calm down; upset and disappointed that his granddaughter could lie to his face like this.

True to his expectations, her sadness had continued. Wednesday passed – the same. When on Thursday, she was still depressed, he became alarmed. Brooding had become her god over the past three days and a jealous one at that. To serve him well, she had embarked on rigorous fasting, barely touching her food and pushing it away. As such, she was fast losing body weight. The irony of it was that it would have been a most welcome development, had circumstances been different. With each passing day, he became more and more afraid for the health of his frail grandchild.

“Is it so difficult for you to confide in me?” he asked again that Thursday afternoon.

She had some notebooks and a Mathematics textbook on the table. She had intended to finish her assignments but brooding got the better of her. She remained there, seated, looking at the books and into space at the same time.

“Pamela, what’s eating you?”

She got up and went to stand by her favourite spot – the window overlooking the small garden, the tears streaming down her face. At once, he followed suit.

“I don’t deserve all this agony, Pamela.” He said, breaking the silence.

“What agony?” asked a surprised Pamela, quickly wiping off her tears with the back of her palms. She had not heard him approach.

“The agony of watching my grandchild, fight a losing battle with an unseen opponent, and not being able to help her. It breaks my heart, Pamela. It really does.

“What losing battle? What opponent? Oh! I wish my problem could be solved by the good use of English Grammar.” She turned to look at him. “I love you, grandpa and I care very much about you. I do not want to hurt your feelings or see you sad and heartbroken” she was beginning to feel guilty. “And that’s precisely why I’m trying to shield you from the knowledge of my problem.”

“But you are making a mess of it” he retorted “You’re not hiding it well as you claim. If that was your intention, then ab initio, you should have acted like your normal self, as if all was well. Then I would have gone about my business, deceived into thinking that nothing was wrong in the first place” he said angrily. Then his tone became gentler

“But that would have been impossible, Pamela. You’re a bad actress…” She smiled for the first time in days.

“And I’m your grandfather. I know you and I know you very well because I love you very much, ok.”

He put his arms round her. “Your heart is heavy. At your service  is someone who cares, who is ready to listen. Besides, he’s not just someone, he’s family. I tell you, it’s not every time that one is lucky enough to find a listening ear ….”

“‘Class’” Pamela said quietly, dry-eyed; there were no more tears to shed.

“Class?” he repeated, surprised at what the word class had to do with the problem.

“Yes, class. I was as puzzled as you now are when I first heard it.” She proceeded to explain “One needs to be from the upper class to qualify for the contest and one must be able to prove it.” She stopped. It was her turn to be surprised as he slightly threw back his head and exploded into raucous laughter.

{Excerp from Miss Turris by Amaka Anozie}

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I have given this post a ‘forced’ title. Patina is not exactly the word to describe Pamela’s attitude. But it’s the new world I learned today thanks to wordpress and Merriam – Webster dictionary. I find it very interesting that ‘patina’ comes from ‘paten’. The paten – a small but very important tray – is at the highest point of the Holy Mass in the Catholic Church. There, the bread offered is transformed totally into the body of Christ. And we partake of it. We do so to feed our souls, hoping in the eternal life while living fully this present one.

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ART, Little things, Pixpers

Transformation

I once heard that no one eats with their mouth

Children eat with their eyes;

Young people with their stomach

Adults with their head.

WARNING;  mouthwatering presentation. Risk of hunger afterwards.

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Okay so, where are these pictures from? Most of them were made by me in collaboration with others. It was such a delight last summer to learn to transform the usual fruits and vegetables into such lovelies.

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ART, Musings

Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’

Yesterday saw a world record break for any work of art sold at auction. The salvator mundi was sold for $450.3m, including auction house premium, by an anonymous buyer in the auction at Christie’s in New York. “Salvator Mundi” (“Savior of the World”) is one of fewer than 20 known paintings by da Vinci, and the only one in private hands.

Though I can hold a good conversation about beauty and art, I know little about its sale and purchase. So I reserve my comments about the heartburn that just the mention of the purchase sum gives to me.

But there’s been and still are tons of hype about it. Lots of hype about the painting, the painter, and especially about the 500 years of history behind it. The salvator mundi has gone on display in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and New York. Thousands of people have gone to see it before its final sale.

If 500 years’ worth of history can cause this, how much more should 2000 years’ worth of history do? I, who believe not just in the painter, nor in the authenticity of the painting BUT in the figure – CHRIST painted by Da Vinci, what is my reaction? Does my belief lead me to act thus? How does it affect my day to day life?

Add to this, the lot of talk and analysis to ascertain if it’s an authentic Leonardo’s.

Salvator Mundi Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator mundi

Modestini, who restored the salvator mundi commented that ‘I shudder to think what might have been used’ in the grotesque repaintings of the painting. The varnish was “sticky and uneven” with crude touch-ups, quite possibly the work of “the owner or a local amateur”.

She didn’t stop at shudder though. Modestini then professionally restored the Salvator Mundi. Despite some damage to the face, the flesh tones fortunately retain their layer structure. She stabilised the picture, removed most of the later overpaint and fillings, and made cosmetic changes to bring it back closer to Leonardo’s original.

O salvator mundi, this is one more wakeup call from you. Your silent and gentle honk has pierced my indifference. I’ve hidden your face behind countless ‘what would they say? Why should I bother them by revealing You?’. I’ve repainted your face by my many small inconsistencies, so much so that recognition of You is almost impossible.

This is my conclusion, my resolution;

I’ll restore your image that I carry within me, o salvator mundi. I’ll do a more meticulous work than what Modestini has done to your painting. So that the others can see and appreciate the real You. And I’ll take you beyond Hong Kong and New York. I’ll take you everywhere so that everyone can see you and be conquered by your charm and your grace. And I won’t look too far – I’ll start with my friends and family.

 

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Pixpers

November reflections

Sunset @ Budapest

In the evening of our life,
we’ll clearly see the value of all that we did
for love of God and of neighbour.
Yes, even those things
that apparently didn’t work out.

Welcome to November
#remembertoprayforthesoulsofthedead

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Little things, Musings

DRINKS AND THE SOUND OF MUSIC

My first contact with the sound of music was thanks to Mrs. Togonu – Bickersteth, the vice principal of my Federal College. That day, without previous warning – at least to the students – the academic staff had gone on strike and we were bereft of classes. To help us take advantage of that free time, the vice principal invited all the girls to the school hall to see the musical. I had to leave with other day students half way through. This was in 2001.

Over the years, I have seen clips of it on TV, listened to my friends sing some of the songs, sang doe, a deer, a female deer in music class at school; but I never got to see the movie from start to finish. Until recently. With the birthday of Amanda.

Amanda, my friend from Hong Kong, wanted a big birthday bash. So we went all out for it. A good homemade buffet, thanks to the Administration of my residence, a make-shift bar with a proper bar tender to boot and a movie! From the dining room, we went, cock – tails in hand, to the sitting room, to see the sound of music. At last! I’ve always considered it a beautiful story and a great movie; sitting through it now didn’t diminish my high regard for it.

At the Bar

Yesterday, I put down the book behind the musical. It’s called the story of the Von Trapp family singers. The musical is only a taste of the icing. Maria von Trapp, the novice turned wife and mother, recounts in a very wonderful way the family’s trip cum flight to the USA and the fight they had to put up to live a dignified life in their new country. It’s an extraordinary book that tells the ordinary life of a family of 12. The episodes that shine out are few in number. But neither are there any dull moment.

Maria writes of the hard work, their joys, their rehearsals, their different singing tours, their faith in God, etc. Along the way, there are many who cross their path and many of these stay on as part of the family. There are the various friends who welcome this new group of immigrants – yes because Baron Von Trapp was just one more Austrian immigrant – and help them with their first tottering steps in making a life for themselves in the States.

Maria also demonstrate her understanding and respect for those who saw things differently from the Von Trapp family. I was very impressed by the way she writes about the Austrian Relief Fund; an NGO started by the family in 1947 to send aid back to their ailing nation at the end of World War II. They publicized it during each of their concerts asking their listeners for donations to send to the needy in Austria. Maria mentions that many of the responses were positive; the participants were usually much moved and gave a lot the next day. But there were also negative and even violent responses. In some cities, some in the audience complained that they had come to listen to good music and to relax and not to be burdened with the world’s problem. A very legitimate opinion. But read what Maria writes next

With time, she says, we got to respect those views too and to ask the opinions of the organizers before the concert if we could publicize our Austrian Relief fund and if we could expect a positive response from the audience. From then on, we received only positive feedback from our audience.

They didn’t shy away from their NGO in order to keep up their singing fame. Nor are there any negative comments in return for each of the negative responses they received. They tackle the issue the right way – with dialogue and with a lot of charity and respect for those at the other end of the table. I’m definitely picking up one or two tips from this.

Now the Von Trapp family still have to ‘contend’ with the millions of fans of the sound of music, some of whom visit their Lodge in Vermont, who firmly believe that the reality was exactly as the musical; which it is not, I assure you. The directors of the Sound of Music knew their stuff. They have given us a classic and if I’m writing this blog post after reading the true story, it is thanks to them. Without the musical, the book wouldn’t have called out to me when I first saw it. But life is richer than a two – hour long musical which gives us ‘the end’ after the fifth chapter of a more than twenty – chaptered book.

Have you seen the musical and didn’t even know that the book existed? Well then, it’s not too late. You’ll truly get good value for your money. For those in my shoes who have read the book and seen the musical, I’ll like to hear from you! Am I alone or do you see things the same way?

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