In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Easy Fix.”
It started as a beautiful, sunny day in Paris. Little did I know, a woman’s smile, would wreak havoc in my life that day.
I was only eleven years old then, so you might wonder…how a woman’s smile really affected me. I hadn’t reached “that age” yet. But this was no ordinary woman. Her smile has bamboozled millions of people before me, and will continue to do so in the future. She goes by the name of…Mona Lisa.
My family had decided to spend the entire day at the Louvre Museum, one of the largest museums in the world, with an amazing collection of art. I would rather have spent the day at Disneyland, but I was curious. “Why is that painting so famous?”
We entered the museum, took a couple of handouts and a map of the place, and we began to explore. Although there was some great art on display, we were really interested in finding THAT one painting. And in a couple of hours, we found the sign that we were looking for-
“This way to the Mona Lisa Gallery.”
We turned into that beautiful gallery, which had huge chandeliers and a golden glow all around, and right at the end of the gallery, on the far wall, hung that painting. The painting everyone was jumping and tip-toeing to get a glimpse of. The Mona Lisa.
Whole books can be written about this painting, but the most fascinating parts are the eyes and the smile. It is said that if you look at this painting from any position, any angle, you will feel as if she is looking straight at you. Such was the craftsmanship of Leonardo Da Vinci. Luckily for me, the authorities had marked off an area specially for kids right in front of the painting, so I decided to test this claim.
And it was true! I ran from one corner to the other, and I could feel her eyes following me. But what really captured my imagination was her smile. It seemed to say something, but I couldn’t quite figure out what. It was like she knew a secret, but she was refusing to share it with me and was really enjoying the suspense.
So I stood there for a long time, pondering over what that smile could be saying when I happened to glance at the exit, and I saw a man with white hair and a black jacket exit the gallery. Wait…my dad has white hair, and he is wearing a black jacket today!
I left the pondering, and ran after him. WAIT!
I couldn’t catch him, there were so many people over there! All I could do was follow that head of white hair (my dad is pretty tall) and hope for the crowd to thin. Three or four galleries later, the crowd thinned, and I caught up to him with relief. “So dad, where to next……?”
“You are not dad. Uh, Sorry”.
Oh. My. God. I had managed to follow a strange man, in a strange land, and lose myself in one of the largest museums in the world. Brilliant.
Now I know what you must be thinking. An 11-year old kid, lost in a French Museum…I must have panicked. I must have started crying….
Nope. I calmly went up to one of the security guards and asked him directions to the Mona Lisa Gallery, because I knew my parents would be waiting for me there. “Ah yes! You go straight, take ze right, left, and anozzer right, go straight and left and a right again and you will get ze gallery!” He said with a smile. I thanked him and followed his directions.
And got lost. Again.
I saw another guard there, an elderly man with a kind face. I asked him for directions. “Of course mon cheri! Go straight, take a left, go right to ze end of ze hall, take a right, left and anozzer left”, he said. “Merci!” And I followed his directions.
And I got lost. Again.
2 hours! TWO HOURS! I did this again and again. You must think NOW I panicked and started crying.
Wrong. I was furious! At my parents! For two hours their only elder son has been lost in a French Museum, why haven’t they made announcements on the speakers yet? Why aren’t the guards roaming with my picture looking for me!? I was fuming and preparing this emotional speech in my head to blast them with when If find then, and I was randomly walking here and there not caring where I went when I found….that sign.
“This way to the Mona Lisa Gallery”.
Aha! Found it! I turned into that gallery with tha chandeliers and scanned the place like an Interpol agent looking for my suspects. And there…right at the end near the painting stood a man with white hair and a black jacket. But I was sure, this was dad, because he had a 7-year old kid on his shoulders screaming something in Tamil.
I walked up, prepared to blast them, when mom spotted me from a distance and waved at me. “Hi Monu! Did you like the painting?” Wait, what?! She was smiling. So was dad. This didn’t look like the parents who had lost their only elder son for 2 hours. Confused, I asked, “Ma, where have you been till now?” She said, “Oh, you went to the front to look at the painting, but we had to wait in line for 20 minutes! We just got to the front.”
Huh. 20 minutes. Okay. And all was right in the world again.