String sketch and the secret of happiness

Our school used to have a very jittery tribal Arts and Crafts teacher.  Back in those days, I had an unimaginable interest in sketching. I was good at copying sketches. Give me a mango and I would have given you a sketch of that.

The teacher, however, was a magician of some sorts. Give him a sketch of a mango and he would have drawn a face of a fat tribal man out of it. But he was not limited to just only one magic trick. The brilliant trick under his repository was to draw string sketches.

Wondering what a string sketch is? Take a piece of string of medium length and dip it in a pool of fabric color. My favorite was blue. So I always dipped it in the blue color. Now take that piece of string and without thinking much about the pattern place it in between two sheets of art papers. Make sure to bring out a tiny part of the string off the edge of the sheets.

Now with one hand pressing the sheets with a firm pressure, hold the string with the other one and taking a deep breath drag the string out of the sheets in a single swift motion.

Now have a look at those two sheets. You will see the magic. You will see a beautiful abstract art.

That's one thing about abstract art. You can always have your own interpretation of the painting.  The magic lies there. The painting lets you have your own meaning and thus makes it forever yours to relish in.

The string sketch might make you see different figures hiding beneath its beautiful mesh. Within it one might see a woman breastfeeding her child, a poor farmer hanging from a tree or perhaps a ghost seeking answers.

It so happens that even books can have a similar effect, the way an abstract art has. This blog post talks about one such story from the book Nomad learns morality.

  Interestingly, the story also has a ghost seeking answer when he is encountered by the protagonist of the story who is also understood to be seeking answers of some sort. One, however, is still seeking the answer after his death and the other is on the verge of understanding that life is, but, after all a futile search.

The character was under the influence of whiskey. The name whiskey seems so gentlemanly to me. It seems as if a person becomes more refined through its consumption.  Anyway,  the character must have had a very good brand of whiskey, which led him to initiate a frank conversation with the ghost.

  The character also tells us how he is of the firm belief that it is the living beings who can do more harm than the dead. And isn't he correct?  If the dead were  to take revenge on the living, the whole world would have seen frequent  massacres more heinous than a Jalian wala bagh, perhaps.

But the ghost seemed like a friendly one, although with a diabolic face.  How does it feel like to be dead? asked the character.
The ghost didn't have any answer to that, but he however, seemed to have the answer to the secret of happiness.

Would you like to know what's the secret of happiness?  Do read the story to know what it is.

Hint: String sketch.


  1. I'm fascinated by the interest you took in my stories.

  2. Your stories revolves around school, teacher, village, life, death, religion, god, philosophers, assam, shillong . Need I say why they fascinate me. Also they leave me in search of the meaning behind the ending, much like what Salinger did with his nine stories


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