I did not want to get up this morning. But I had to fulfill an obligation to Mr. Liashkov, that I would sit for a portrait. So I tore myself up onto my feet, looked around in a daze for my things, washed my face and headed out. It was my day off. Mr. Liashkov greeted me at the top of the stairwell with his usual stern disposition, yet I see where this is directed: Into the journey of his soul, so I do not take this personally though it had been slightly alarming at first. After an amazing breakfast at a nearby cafe of brick toast topped with marinated veggies, kale and an egg with coffee, we leisurely conversed about Zarina Hashmi’s work, how things at work are going for me, how my acting class has been going etc. During the sitting, I asked him about a question that was being pondered a few nights earlier which was: how do you define intelligence? Now Peter as I remember from before, does not like to talk during a portrait session. But this particular morning, I could see we were at a different place; comfortable in each other’s company – realizing there was no need for guards to be up. He acceded his control to conversation and began to discuss this question of intelligence. It became apparent to me how subjective we really are when I ascribed a measure of compassion that is inherent in intelligence. “Well,” Peter disagreeing, “What about Hitler, or what about Stalin? They had incredible intelligence but to what end?” True. So much for an absolute truth!
As the drawing moved along he commented that the drawing was making me a romantic hero. I was humored. When I asked him what he meant, he talked about Lord Byron, the concept of love being identified around the time of the Enlightenment, British landscape painting – where feelings took precedent over the scientific reasoning. I understand. But I am a fan of science too. By the time he was done, I was a bit taken aback, not expecting at all the semblance. It was like looking in a mirror, but through someone else’s eyes. Can you imagine if you asked your friends to draw you? It would be a kaleidoscope of interpretations, a reflection of who your are in accordance to how another person sees you. It would probably be very different from how you see yourself. I wonder now, how people see me.