The Sculptor

He had been working incessantly on the Stone Effigy. He wiped his face with a towel and resumed chiselling.

Moving back a few steps, he squinted his eyes to get a better look. A tad of scraping was needed to complete it.

He plonked down onto the couch. His eyes remained closed as his fingers ran all over the upholstery. It felt like a soothing massage to his bruised manus.

He was a renowned sculptor whose work attracted millions from across the globe. An array of Statues and carvings adorned his workshop. Most of them were daintily labelled ‘Sold’ with the price and the client’s name inscribed on them. 

He stepped out. The fresh breeze greeted him. The branches of the trees swayed to its tune. The cerulean blue sky looked ravishing with wispy white clouds floating aimlessly. The Sun seemed peaceful. The birds chirped merrily. 

Such intermittent breaks had always helped him unwind.

********

“Shiva, look up, ” *Amma whispered. The Majestic *Gopuram of the Temple left him flabbergasted. 

They had accompanied his *Appa. He had come to handover the polished gold ornaments of the Main Deity. 

They belonged to a family of jewellers. A profession that ran down the lineage from time immemorial.

” Sukanya”, *Amma cried and darted towards his toddler sister. The gusty wind ballooned the lower end of her sari as she struggled to match her pace with the daughter.

A keen observer and a loner, Shiva sauntered along. Inside the shrine resided innumerable sculptures. Each had a fable to narrate. The giant identically carved out Pillars tantalized him further. He marvelled at the precision and meticulous architecture of the temple. The ambience was inundated with the fragrance of fresh flowers.

His family gathered beside the trustees for the *Aarti. The grace of the Goddess enthralled him beyond imagination.

“Shiva, one day You’ll be entrusted with this responsibility. The Priest said pointing towards the gold jewellery of the* Devi. He later smeared the lad’s forehead with vermilion.

Shiva brushed his hands aside inviting cold stares from *Appa.

They left the temple oblivion to the impact it had on the young mind.

*****

“No?” Roared Appa when Shiva spoke his mind.

” What about our family business, the tradition?  His concern overpowered his anger. Amma looked equally baffled.

“I’ll take over the reins.” Sukanya interrupted. She had always been a supportive sister.

Though Appa didn’t doubt her calibre, still, could the business accept an heiress? 

The fear of being banished from his community was overwhelming. 

But then, the young blood was determined to break free from the outdated, rudimentary shackles.

Finally, after a month-long of the cold war, the parents hesitantly accepted the youngsters’ decision to swim against the tide.

********

Shiva gave finishing touches to the masterpiece. It was a brilliant bust of *Ardhanarishwar. A symbol of equilibrium. A cosmic reaffirmation that within each of us lies the quality of both the sexes.

On one table was a well-known business magazine, whose cover page flaunted Sukanya’s face.

****
Glossary:
Appa: Father in Tamil
Amma: Mother in Tamil
Devi: Goddess
Gopuram: A monumental, richly carved, entrance Tower of the Hindu Temple. Popularly seen in the temples of Southern India.
Ardhanarishwar: A composite Androgynous form of the Hindu Deities Shiva and Parvati.
Idiom: To swim against the tide.
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Vijeta Harishankar
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