Y ou bought disappointment worth 52 euros,’ said my sister when I told her that I just bought a ticket for a group tour to Louvre. All my friends, who had visited Louvre, had told me how they felt let down after seeing Mona Lisa. Maybe, they were expecting a larger-than-life figure. And then, there were always too many people in the room, jostling to catch a glimpse of her beauty.
I decided I would rather be disappointed than regret for the rest of my life.
The day earlier, I was told at the ticket counter that the tour was sold out for the next three days. I approached a travel agent. When I expressed my desire, he pointed out to his companion and said, ‘She is Mona Lisa.’ I couldn’t agree more.
With a serene Madonna-like face, the girl could easily be an artist’s muse. But she needed to be discovered first, and I didn’t have that much time. It was my last day in Paris.
So, I rushed to the next travel agency and bought a ticket at double the price. Even if it meant that I would have to forego the dress I had been eyeing all along.
Disappointment has been part of this recent art voyage of mine. In the Sistine Chapel, our guide left us inside with the instruction to meet her exactly after 10 minutes. I was forced to keep shifting my focus from the ceiling that showcased Michelangelo’s interpretation of The Genesis to the pink flag of the guide standing at the exit door. This was definitely not my idea of art appreciation!
Next came the Neues Museum in Berlin. Buying a ticket, I headed straight to the Egyptian section. I had imagined to find Nefertiti in person, I mean her mummy. Instead, I came face to face with her exquisite bust. Later, I came to know her mummy might be in Egypt.
I overcame my disappointment quickly as a look at her beautiful face reminded me how I had named my cat after her once and later my father’s car. I don’t know what had attracted me to this Egyptian queen — the phonetics of her name or her beauty. Probably the former!
So, I kept my expectation low as I joined the serpentine queue leading to the portrait of Mona Lisa. The room was crowded with admirers and selfie seekers. After all, Mona Lisa is Mona Lisa — the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.
As I crawled along, I cranked my neck to crack a glimpse of her. And suddenly the buzz stopped. The people hovering around became hazy silhouettes and all other paintings in the room turned into blank canvases.
There I was, standing right in front of her, with no one in between! I looked at her and she looked at me, telling me with her eyes that I had just become a speck in Leonardo da Vinci’s eternal legacy. That moment was priceless!
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