Puneet is a painter and brother of my college friend. I met him at a painting exhibition in India Habitat. I feel delighted when I’m able to make connections in real life. Still an old-world believer in modern times! When women wore saris and men wore tailor-made trousers. When people call to meet or come up unexpectedly at home without an appointment. When we played Antakshari as we had no other means of entertainment. I miss Doordarshan very much.

So like any other man (sounding a bit narcissist) Puneet took an instant liking to me. I can say he fell for me. What I loved about Puneet was his decision to quit his management job (He is from IIM) and pursue his passion to paint. He is a painter très bon. He calls himself an artist, dreamer, and mad. And I’m all of this. How our identities conflate in those words. In his artwork, I particularly liked how he imagined women in his paintings.

Feel this painting of his! 

A half-naked woman faces the wall in pixelated light. Her hands hold a slipping piece of cloth in what seems as her unbuttoned white shirt. Her shirt is crumpled, it has layers. The way she lives manifests in the way she keeps her shirt. A life with layers, a life with crumpled jerks. She stands naked in her home. That might not be how she is to the outer world. A chiseled shadow runs along the side of her back. Like nails of a man that sink in her skin.

A black dash runs from the middle course of her back till the furrow of her buttocks. Her buttocks seem like two pots of mango pickle. Salty and spicy! The black dash conjures an image of her openly expressed sensuality, the depths of it. Black has got a cosmic depth. Can you measure the depth of night? Can you measure the depth of sex when two ravenous lovers consummate for the first time?

I can go on and on. In words of his, Puneet fell in love with my long black hair, my mystique, my ethereal beauty, my poems. He wanted to paint me on his blank canvas. An allure hard to resist! But I could not reciprocate his love. I went far from him, farther. But the unfulfilled desire still lives, to be painted by him, once in this life. Someone rightly said, what is bigger than the realization of a desire? The longing for that desire.