Anushka was very fond of visiting every museum in the world whenever she found an opportunity. She was from an affluent family so she did not have to worry about spending money. She visited the Louvre Museum before a couple of times, Bata Museum in Canada, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Guernica, Prado and other museums in Spain, London, America, Italy and Egypt with her parents. After she did her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, she wanted to visit them alone, having plenty of time on her hands.
After so many times, Mona Lisa’s smile still attracted Anushka like a magnet. She fell in love with Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, El Greco, Rembrandt, Diego Velázquez, Group of Seven, and others. She kept a notebook for every time she stood in front of her beloved artists so she could write down her feelings at the moment. She loved to imagine their periods, clothes, colourful landscapes and the subjects of their paintings.
She stood in front of a portrait of Rembrandt’s wealthy wife, Saskia Van Uylenburgh, in Arcadian costume. She tried to sketch her dress roughly in her notebook. Arcadian costumes were very popular in Holland in 1630s. Next time she could wear it at a costume party, she thought, continuing the sketch carefully with a witty smile. She was so engrossed that she did not realize that it was 3 o’ clock. She had to leave. When she tried to put away her notebook in her shoulder bag, she realized her passport was missing. She became nervous and could not remember how and when it happened.
She asked the guards in every room and some visitors if they had seen her passport. She went back to some of the halls. No, not anywhere! She thought of going to the reception desk to report it. She felt all her limbs becoming numb. She took a seat on a bench, exhausted and tired. A noble gentleman came and asked if she had lost any important document?
“Yes, I did,” Anushka replied.
He gave her her passport back and said he had found it in front of Monet’s Water Lillies paintings. About half an hour he had been looking for her. He was trying to match the passport photo with all the young women he saw in the museum. She thanked him and took a deep breath. Carefully, she put the passport in her bag and said, “I am hungry like a baby, would you please have lunch with me?”
“Oh sure! We can talk about all artists, their paintings and the museum.”
She cried with joy, “So, you are like me!”
“Yes, a common interest.”
He called a taxi and asked her if she had any favourite restaurant.
“There is a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower called Le Bistro Parisian with views of the Tower and river Seine.”
He replied, “Yes it is a beautiful place. I have been in there once.”
They found an empty table near the corner of the restaurant. They talked about themselves, families, their jobs, about their favourite Museums and paintings, different types of food, everything. Before they left, they exchanged telephone numbers and promised to meet one more time there. Instead of once, they met again and again; sometimes either in the French Landscape Garden or on a cruise in the Seine River.
Once while they were strolling and enjoying the landscape, it started to drizzle.
Anushka said, “Oh, I love Paris when it drizzles. The city of light can be brilliant even when it is grey and drizzly.”
They took shelter in a nearby shade. Sabil, in his deep gentle voice, said, “Paris is a romantic city.”
Anushka could not say anything. She felt her eye lids were heavy and she looked down on the ground. It was a quick shower in the afternoon. They decided to have dinner together in their favourite restaurant. After dinner they left and said good night.
Anushka found him very polite, knowledgeable and caring. She felt something inside her when she thought of him. Her heart pumped.
“How stupid I am,” she rebuked herself; and tried to control her feelings. “But he has a heart of gold!” (Why do people associate love with the heart as opposed to other organs in the body, she wondered.) If some of her friends or family members called her, she thought it was him! Mutual reactions were in Sabil’s heart too. They met again and again; and finally, Sabil proposed to her to be with him for the rest of their lives.
Anushka blushed and jokingly asked him with her amorous whispering voice “What shall I tell my family and friends? Love in the Louvre Museum?”