“The best chef of the year 2019 goes to Jessica Moras!!!“
When they announced my name, butterflies started flying in my stomach. I couldn’t believe I made it, a decade long dream was finally fulfilled. I pinched myself, just to make sure its, not one of those deep sleep dreams where everything looks real. Ouch!!!! This is actually happening. This is not my dream.
“Jessica!! “ They announced once again.
I let out a deep breath and stood up with pride.
My black long dress is sparkling bright and even my confidence is on fire. A puff of wind swept through my hair, leaving behind a fragrance which was familiar to me. I walked towards the glamorous stage which looked like the Oscar stage. To be honest it was much better than that because one of my impossible dreams come true. Arjun Raj handed over the trophy to me. The MC hands over a mike to me, expecting me to say something. The entire audience is clapping and each clap made my heart pump faster and faster. CLICK CLICK CLICK FLASH FLASH, a series of news reporters and photographers were clicking photos. The entire world slowed down for me for a second, this feeling is so overwhelming I don’t know what to say. FLASH FLASH FLASH, series of a white beam of light struck my eyes, my pupils it dilated to pinpoint to such an extent that I was blinded. The blood throughout my body stopped flowing for a second as my heart seized beating. It took me back to an old life-changing incident.
“Excuse me Photography is not allowed in this chapel” Yelled the watchman to one of the tourists.
I was there seated at the bench, heads staring at the floor, clasping my hands, with several drops of tears just like the molten wax from a burning candle.
I lost my mom 3 months back, 3/03/2017. I can never forget this date, where I lost a huge chunk of my soul. Tears pool in my eyes and my heart was like a dam holding my tears, which is waiting to be released. I keep track of my sleepless night in notched lines beneath my eyes just like the annual rings of the tree, wrinkle for each night that I didn’t sleep. The strongest pillar of my life is snatched away from me. I can still remember her Duchene smile. My mom’s only dream was to see my restaurant successful.
She always used to say “ I want to see you in a huge stage someday collecting a trophy and people all around you clapping and taking photos, just like in the movies”
I used to tell her “ I don’t know mom. I will try my best “
Every time I look into her eyes, I could feel that she knew it would happen someday, as if she has seen the future and now she is not here. To whom shall I perceive my dream. I don’t know what to do.
My mom used to say ,She always used to find answers in St Aloysius chapel whenever she was going through difficult phase and I am here since 3 mind-numbing hours, Questioning GOD. Why me?? Why my mother??? Why cancer and suffering??
WHY you took her away from me?? I couldn’t even fulfil her dream.
For all these questions, What I got in return was SILENCE. That kind of silence, which exist in perfect vacuum condition. I was desperately hoping for a sign, a sign of hope but All my questions are falling on DEAD EARS.
“You are just a statue how can I expect an answer from you,” I screamed aloud in my mind with anger.
I am done with asking questions, my voice choked, as the word comes out, it gets trapped somewhere in my throat.
I looked up in despair, My heads hurting, I let out a deep breath. As tears pool down my cheeks like a molten wax from a candle I thought to myself “there are no answers here” and opened my eyes.
I could see the painting on the roof, so vivid, so beautiful. I have come here several times but I never felt like this before. These paintings had some sort of magical touch to it and for a very brief moment all my pain, grief just vanished. A puff of wind swept through my hair leaving behind a mysterious fragrance. When I looked around the chapel I realised the entire chapel is covered with painting about the life of Jesus, from ceiling to every single wall, every stroke had a unique mystical, magical touch to it. Thousands of people have come and gone but these paintings were here for more than a century. Since 1899 it has heard all the prayers, pain, grief and secrets of millions of people, I guess that’s what makes this place mystical.
For a very brief moment, I was lost in its beauty. I wondered what drove the Italian artist to create such a masterpiece. These paintings make this place more than divine. For some strange reasons, there is a sense of calm within me. Something saying me “Everything will be alright “ I didn’t know what it was. It was feeling which I couldn’t articulate with words.
As I went through each and every painting I moved outside the chapel with a sense of relief but deep within I also felt “MY questions are still not answered” and it still bothered me.
Opposite the chapel, I could see a newly constructed Museum and I knew I needed something to divert my mind or keep me occupied. I entered the St Aloysius museum, Aloyseum.
The collection over here is very unique and I didn’t expect to see the unique artefacts collection in Mangalore. I was going through a different set of collection of vintage musical instruments, car, typewriters.
One section of the collection captured my attention. A separate section of vintage cameras. Some of them I never knew it existed once upon a time. I was looking at this unique set of collection, which is rarely found. As I was looking at each and every collection closely, a kid stood next to me. He has a pair of blue eyes like the big round gumballs that drop down the chute of a gumball machine, holding a Sony DSLR camera.
He asked his dad “ Dad why there are microscope, telescope and camera. Why can’t everything be in one??”
I thought to myself such a dumb question. The answer which his dad gave to him made a huge impact on my life and how I see things. His thought-provoking answers froze me for a second. The kid looked at me and clicked a picture.
The wine spilt through my veins again.
“It’s all about perspective and how we approach situations. Sometimes we need to be flexible to approach situations through different pair of lenses.”
“Look at the things around us, if we try to see it with a microscope or telescope nothing will make sense If we use the right pair of lenses everything will be clear. So which one is right, which is wrong??
The answer is all lenses are right, the ability we need to develop is to choose the right pair of the lens to face the world. For now, the difficult times you are going through might not make sense. But when I look back at my difficult times, I realised it made me stronger and we can only connect the dots looking backwards not forward. The answers what we are searching for is right in front of us. We need to choose a pair of lenses. Turn your scars into stars”.
“Where did you dream begin?” asked a reporter
With a Duchene smile, I said
“It began with unanswered questions in Aloysius chapel and the answer which I got for the question which I didn’t ask in a museum.”
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St Aloysius Chapel
St Aloysius Museum