The Painter’s Mistake

by | Jun 8, 1998 | Self-Worth, Value

Once upon a time there lived a great painter. His paintings were liked by one and all. The King of the state had also honoured him with the state award for excellence.

The painter was known to all his fans as “Rangacharya” [ which means as master of colours in Hindi ], affectionately called as “Ranga Guruji”. Ranga had developed a distinct painting style over the years which was a testimony of his excellence in this field. His hard work , commitment and dedication for the subject was an example for many to follow.

Ranga had opened an Arts School where he use to teach the finer aspect of his art to his chosen disciples. There was no fixed course curriculum or duration at this school. Ranga use to declare a pupil qualified in Arts only after he was fully satisfied about the skill & knowledge acquired by him. He had devised his own methods of assessment , which were quite unique like his style of painting.

Rajeev a student of Ranga’s Arts School was a man in a hurry. He had a gifted hand and had progressed much faster than the other students through sheer hard work, dedication, and imagination. Ranga also was very pleased with Rajeev’s progress. Having earned lot of praise and appreciation for his work, Rajeev was anxiously waiting for the day when Ranga Guruji would declare him qualified and he could begin his journey as an artist.

One day, he very politely asked Ranga Guruji that how soon would he be able to take the final qualifying examination. Ranga smiled and said ” Rajeev, you are one of my most promising and favourate students. You have done well in learning all aspects of the art of painting in a very short period. I think it’s time you should take the final test.”

“Kindly advise me what is my test assignment, Guruji ?” It was difficult for Rajeev to hide his happiness and eagerness.

Ranga said ” Rajeev , I want you to prepare a painting, that could be termed as your best painting and which would win every one’s heart. Take your own time and create a real masterpiece.”

Rajeev worked day and night for many days , prepared one of his best paintings and submitted it to Ranga Guruji.

Ranga advised ” Now, take it to the main square of the town and put it on a public display. Let the people see your work. Write below the painting in bold letters that the work is being displayed for public evaluation and that the artist would feel obliged if any of the viewers could point out any mistakes in the painting by putting a “X” mark on it”

Rajeev did exactly as advised by Ranga Guruji. He displayed the work at a prominent spot at the main square of the town with the message for every one to see.

A couple of days later Ranga asked Rajeev to get the painting for assessment. Rajeev was very excited on his way to the main square , but got very disappointed to find that the art work was badly defaced with “X” marks all over it. His disqualification looked imminent as he started for the school. Rajeev showed the painting to Guruji with a very heavy heart. But Ranga was very calm and composed. He advised Rajeev not to get disheartened and make another attempt.

Rajeev made another masterpiece and Ranga reiterated his earlier instructions but with a little difference in the bottom line. This time he asked Rajeev to also place a set of Paints and Brushes at the site. The message requested the viewers to find mistakes and also correct them with the help of the painting material.

A couple of days later when Rajeev reached the main square to collect the painting, he was pleasantly surprised to find that not a single mistake was found in his work as the painting material was lying in one corner untouched. Rajeev was brimming with confidence and joy as he presented the painting to his Guru. Ranga smiled again and said ” Rajeev, your training is complete in all respects now with the last lesson you have learned today.”

Rajeev was listening with rapt attention as Ranga continued ” My dear son, it is not enough to master the art alone, if you aspire to attain greatness & excellence in this field. It is necessary for you to also learn that people generally tend to be evaluative on the first available opportunity even if they do not know anything about it. If you take the world to be your judge, you would always be disappointed. People tend to make judgments, pass remarks on others without any authenticity and seriousness. People filled your first painting with “X” marks as they had nothing at stake in doing so. Most of them were arguably not equipped with the skill or knowledge to evaluate your work. But still they made ample use of the opportunity that came their way. But when the same people were asked to not only evaluate, find mistakes but also to correct them, none of them came forward. This time their own knowledge & skills were at stake. They did not dare to bare the lack of either of these. So they chose to stay away.”

Ranga continued ” So my dear boy, your work, your skills, your knowledge, your investment in the field of Art is a precious product of your hard work and sincere efforts. Do not offer it to the world for free. It would otherwise be treated the way your first painting was treated”

” Be your own judge and trade your virtues with the world for an equitable and fair consideration. I assure you that you would never be disappointed with yourself or your work.”

” Last but not the least , it would also mean that you will not be judgmental about other’s work too !”

“May God bless you , my child !”

Rajeev had tears of respect & joy in his eyes. He knew it deep in his heart that his training and education would have been incomplete without this last lesson that he learned today.

Nitin Kulkarni © 2000


The Painter’s Mistake