Posted by: akilamoni | April 26, 2009

In search of the blue door

The sky was grey and thick with clouds.

The kinds which make you want to hurry your steps and rush under a roof just before you get soaked. I would have normally done that too. I hate the rains, the wet soggy feeling, the impending fever all make me  wary of being caught in a downpour.

But that day was different. I was on a mission. I had seen the place of the original moulin de la galette, the laundry boat and now I had to find house no.54.

The Laundry Boat

The Laundry Boat

I walked behind a group of school children who were out on a learning trip with their teachers. The teachers stopped every now and then to herd the one stray brat who would wander away just like his mind asked him to.

I moved ahead.

No.23, No, 25, okie….ahead…..

I walked down a cobbled street and I knew the silent street would soon join a bustling junction. I had to find no.54 before that. I noted a few shops nearby which I could run into, just in case it would start raining.

I saw No.43.  Okie, I was getting nearer. I hurried down the street.  Then I came to it- No.53. Yes, and now for No.54.

No.55 read the next door number. And there was nothing in between.

How could they? Did they tear down the place? Is this what the world has come to?

Nobody cares for the past anymore?

I looked left and right, much like a lost puppy. I had to find No.54. The guide book said that it exists. Had the author made a mistake?

I approached an elderly gentleman nearby and asked him,”No.54?”

He thought for a minute and his eye lit up. “This way” and he led me down further down the street.

Oh! Good Lord . Thank You.A few minutes walk and I found myself staring in front of a bright blue door.

The elderly gentleman looked at me as though he wanted a reassurance. Was that what  I was looking for?

 ” Merci!” and waved out to him.



I surveyed the blue door. Was it blue even then, I wondered. I was itching to open the door and enter, but I knew that would be rude. I wondered who lived there now. How did the place look like?

When all my wondering was done, I took out my camera to take a few pics.  I requested two passerbys(one man and one woman) to take my picture. They at first gave me their xenophobic NO thinking I wanted to take their picture. When they realised that I was asking them to click my picture, their xenophobia vanished. With great deal of warmth and a certain amount of curiosity, the man took my camera and clicked my picture.

Just when I was doing this, one middle aged man opened the blue door and entered in. “So! It is you who lives here huh?” I thought to myself. How ordinary. I could have lived there.

U house stealer!

U house stealer!

The man who took my picture handed me my camera back and maybe it was the cheek-to-cheek, totally-pleased-with-myself grin that I was flashing that he asked me in broken english, “But why you want picture here?”

I pointed to a little sign on top of the door and said, ” Vincent Van Gogh, used to live here”

Inhabitant of No.54

Inhabitant of No.54

Vincent Van Gogh, who was in a mental asylum, who cut his ear off  lived here with his brother Theo. Theo, the only soul who understood Van Gogh. He must have walked this very street. Wonder who in this building shunned him.  Would he have even thought this little house of his would be visited by an Indian girl?

The man couldnt contain his astonishment. “Really?? I dont know my own city!”, he said.

Of Course you dont.And it is not just you but countless number of people including me who dont stop to find out more about the places we live in.



  1. true!!! never know even a place like coimby might throw a few surprises if we dig deeper… unlikely but u never know…

  2. Oh my.
    I hadnt expected this.
    How beautiful that you did this.
    How sad that the man never knew the love we would bestow on him.
    But then Van Gogh always felt like that twinkle of light on a tear… if that explains anything…

  3. @Hari: yes, we will find Sathyaraj’s house!
    @Arpita: Ya, and when I saw a room full of his painting I didnt want to leave. They bring little kids on school trips to the museums and discuss the paintings….!

  4. I got goose bumps reading it.I knew the blue door was somehow special.
    Btw you got an award and ur tagged.

  5. Amazing stuff Akila.. as usual

  6. Nice One!

  7. @jan: Thanks Ram and Jan!!!

  8. Hey!

    Just chanced upon this.. very simple and beautiful..
    Good thought..
    It’s amazing how we just take things around us for granted..

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