Scribble! Scribble! Scribble!
The graphite pencil shaded in the sketch of a couple cuddling their newborn; different shades of grey clouding the white A4, the shadowy colour making the picture lack luster, contradictory of its cheerful concept. Despite being a natural artist, he failed to let the smiles reach into the eyes.
The eyes! Jet black, deep and empty. Those were the eyes which were looking at the picture. Bent over the tea-table in the lounge area of his room, Ronak Singhania sat with his back to the door, on the black sheep-wool carpet. He loved the luxury sofa that matched the glass table he was working on, yet the black leather couch seemed to take the artistic feel away from his work. That the very reason why he had opted out the drink of coffee as well. Although the aroma of freshly brewed mocha opened the doors of his mind, the giant black mugs that it was served in would stifle the artist in him, reminding him of the legacy he is destined to own, passed on from father to son.
He sometimes wished he for things to be different. He wished there was hope. And happiness. Within the stark white walls of this mansion. He wished he didn't have to try so hard to find a corner for himself in a place where everything belonged to him. He wished there was not just sketches but paintings. That there was childhood. That the huge bay window in his room, facing their mini-golf course, was not always shut away with draping big curtains. This was, however, a decision of his own. At the start, he had kept windows wide open, even at night, letting the diamond-strewn night-sky to peek in. But the enchanting view of the green golf-course and clear blue sky was too harsh on those deep empty eyes. They just made his insides gnaw for something. Someone. He did not know. The only thing he realized was the need of windows to be shut, blocking the views of natural realms which showed him the mirror of his soul. That was the last time his eyes saw the bay windows open; from then on, they reflected the windows of his father's room. Like father, like son.
It was not that he didn't have friends. He just preferred to keep them away from his house. He remembered each of them being awed by the grandeur of the place at their first visits; everything caught their amazement: the stretching meeting-hall, the crystal chandelier in the central foyer, the aquamarine depths of the swimming pool, the foamy spray of the mermaid fountain, the never-ending gallery of images each displaying the beauty and brilliance of all the women who represented their brand, Lux, over the decades -- all except one, which his father had chosen to leave blank, because he had seen her too closely; the empty frame which was Ron's mother.
Ron lifted his long bony forefinger and brushed against his eyes, sweeping away not tears, but his fringe of dark shiny hair. Just like her love for images, he had also inherited her visual features: a fringe of dark hair, which was always resting on his eyes; the same vacant, searching, hungry eyes, which she had.
While shifting his natural fringe, which he had so many unsuccessful attempts to eliminate, Ron still shaded his artwork in, using his ring-finger to smudge in the edges. He sometimes wondered at the power of that finger. How it could soften the sharpest of truths. How a ring on it could bind two people in a relationship that doesn't exist in their hearts.
Snap! The tip of the pencil broke, crunching under his finger.
"Damn!", he spoke in his soft, husky voice, a voice that had rusted up with the lack of use; pictures don't need words to be spoken to. "Jenny!" he shouted. "Jenny!"
Jennifer Fernandez, now known as Mrs Singhania, rushed to her 17-year old step-son's room. "Are you ok, baba ?" She always referred to him as baba, the traditional Indian salutation for father, often used affectionately for one's son, even before her marriage to his father. She remembered those days, when she was just an assistant for his father. A lot had changed, yet nothing much. He still called her 'Jenny'.
"Aww! how sweet, baba!" she smiled at the image of the hospital bed cuddle of the happy family of three. "Is that you?" She immediately realized that she had said the wrong thing as he was stood up bolt upright.
"No, it's you!" Ron said, calm yet cold. "Here you go," he handed her the sketch. "Maybe, I should not spoil it!" He walked out, confident, yet slouching, off to find another corner of personal space.
Jenny just stared behind him. He did not intend to hurt her. He never does. Yet, the icy unfeelingness sometimes worries her. He is so young yet so defeated.She wished he had the chance to be astounded by the magnificence of his life like his friends. Yet, it was known to be impossible. She wished she could help the child heal, yet knowing her space in his life would always be as Jenny.
Just like her husband, who removed all the paintings from the walls to erase the memories of her love of photography; Ron too had removed the word 'mother' from his vocabulary to take dismiss whatever memory he had of the woman who left her three-day old baby son to pursue her own dreams.