Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Last Supper

          27.8.2011 was the election day for a new President of Singapore.
          After casting the vote Jaya drove me to Little India for lunch. It was an Indian restaurant and the food was delicious. Chicken curry with white rice and a glass of Anchor Beer were appetizing.
         On our way back to the car park we casually entered a handicraft store. There were wooden and bronze statues of Hindu deities. Wooden carvings ansd portrays were exhibited along with a few attractive colourful paintings of Raja Ravi Varma.
          But I was searching for something else. Actually I wanted a portrait of the Last Supper embossed on wood. As mostly statues of Siva, Vinayagar and some Hindu Goddesses were seen in plenty, I had no hope of finding what I wanted.
          " Hey! What are you looking for? ", Jaya asked.
          " The Last Supper ", I replied still searching.
          " Look there! ", he exclaimed.
          To my astonishment there was the Last Supper hanging high on the wall!
          But to my dismay, the portrait was too large. It would be expensive. I wanted a smaller portrait, affordable and easy to carry to Malaysia. I have to return by the Sinapore Johore Express bus. I was a bit disappointed.
          " Yes! It is there. But not this big. I want a smaller one." I replied looking around.
          " Hey! You want the Last Supper? I will give it to you. I have a nice one from China! I have kept it with me for two years. Now I feel that it is meant for you." Jaya blurted!
          What a strange coincidence! I was shocked!
          " You know how happy I am to give it to you? I adore it so much that I did not give it to anyone. But today you were searching for it with me. You are the right person to own it. Come let us return home! " he hurried me.
          Our car crawled through the heavy Saturday afternoon jam along Upper Serangoon Road to reach Florence Road.
          At last we reached his two-storied bungalow house.
          Within minutes he was back carrying a large bundle packed in a cadrboard box.
          It was a three dimension portrait of the Last Supper! I was baffled at the  magnifificient piece of art and craftmanship! I kept on gazing! Jesus and his twelve disciples were carved in solid form and they were seated in the most natural form. The upper room looked real with space behind them.
          " You like this " Jaya asked.
          " Of course! Thank you very much ! " I exclaimed.
          " God is blessing you ", he said.
          " This is wonderful ", I replied.
          He drove me back to the Queen Street express bus stand.
          I had some difficulty in placing my package between the seats.
          Carrying it at the Singapore and Johore immigration was a task as it was heavy.
          After the clearance at the Johore immigration it was a long walk to the City Square where I have to take the taxi.
          I changed hands to carry it to manage the back pain. It weighed about five kilos.
          While enduring the pain I thought of Jesus carrying the heavy cross on the way to cavalry. I felt there is a message for me from this episode. Strangely when I alighted the cab the pain was no more there!
          My wife was surprised to see me entering the hall with a huge parcel.
          " What is it?, she asked.
          " The Last Supper ", I replied.
          " You bought it? "
          " No. Jaya gave it. "
          I opened the wrappers and removed the portrait from the cardboard box and placed it on the table.
          " Is'nt it nice? This is from China. He has kept it for two years. "
           I related the strange situation of our visit to the handicraft centre where I searched for the Last Supper.
          The Last Supper is now an attraction on the wall!
          ( Antony Jaya is my childhood friend for more than half a century. He is now a very succesful businessman. )