The two Paintings on the wall

There are two paintings on the wall. One has bright colors; the yellows, oranges and reds suffuse throughout the painting, stopping the passerby and catching his attention. On a sunny day, the yellow is as pleasant as sunflowers on a summer morning, the orange as playful as grinning Halloween pumpkins, and the red as desirable as a luscious strawberry. On a stormy day, the yellow is as unyielding as the parched sand of a desolate desert, the orange as fiery as the unflickering blaze of a devouring fire, and the red reminiscent of new blood from an old wound. Autumn casts a passionate vermillion on the painting, while Spring brings out a salubrious amber that the passerby longs for. Winter contrasts with the brilliant crimson while the monsoon reflects what it receives; an ostentatious scarlet that lights up the dreary day. The criticism of the painting lies in its attractiveness; it is appealing till the point of satiety is reached after which it threatens to choke the passerby with its flamboyance. Regardless of the weather, it is impossible to miss.

The other painting is subtler in its attention-seeking strategies. The blue, silver and green have the potential to transfix the attention of the passerby when he has the patience to look closely. When he stops to look at it, he realizes that the blue has the same productivity and quiet energy as the early morning sky, the green has an inconspicuous air of determination, and the silver a streak of positivity that allows one to dare to hope. The blue sometimes reminds the passerby of the ocean, and when it does, an inexplicable feeling of awe washes over him. He knows that the ocean, for all the creatures it protects and harbors, is a mighty force of nature that he cannot truly ever understand, and it is the same depth that both fascinates and repels him. The green refreshes his memory of childhood, and brings to the surface the leisurely days spent playing in the garden. The child within has not been lost to the serious persona that is required every day, but is revealed only to a select few lucky enough to have been chosen. The silent silver sparkles in the moonlight, when few venture out to see it. The criticism of this painting lies in its tendency to merge into the background when the attention of the crowd is too demanding. This painting requires more explanation that the other, and its abstruse nature ensures that additional elucidation will confuse rather than clarify.

On some days, the passerby prefers the first painting, and on other days, the second. He longs to be more like the painting that he identifies with. What he doesn't know is that he is both. Perhaps he is sometimes more of one that the other, but the categorization of people into something as simple as two paintings on a wall would be a gross over-simplification of the depth of their personalities. The urge to constantly sort out information and classify people, possessions and activities into clearly defined labels arises from the need to make the esoteric exoteric. The world is, however, a canvas filled with an amalgamation of infinitely many colors that are visible only to those who choose to see it, and that is just as well, for it is this variety that creates a masterful work of art rather than a pedestrian and insipid imitation of two paintings on a wall.