Listen to Love in the times of a pandemic 06- Plucking Orchids – a love story in Amsterdam from the weekly podcast by Fuerteventura Times – Love in The Times of a Pandemic, where the sound artist and narrator Akanksha Krishnani takes us through a musical storytelling experience narrating stories of sweet and bitter love experienced by people around the world during the lockdown.
I was at the Annelie’s Estate ,the floral picking garden where you can gather some beautiful blooms to make your own bouquet from the 3,000 square metres of tulips, which are yours to take home.A little further down there are eighteen hectares of organic apple and pear trees, located between Amsterdam and The Hague. This was my favourite spot to go to over weekends, get my favourite blooms along with the fresh harvest. I love buying flowers, and this place was therapeutic for me, especially when I MOVED TO Amsterdam. I had made a few friends at work, but was still pretty new in this picturesque canal city.
It was a sunny saturday afternoon,being spring it was warm with an undercurrent of Amsterdam cold and the forecast showed that it would rain in the second half of the day, so I decided to go the garden of flowers early that day. After having picked my favourite tulips, I went over to the huge fruit garden and bought a bag full of apples, cherry, raspberry and blackberry bushes, and various other sorts of berry bushes. But that’s not all – you could also find nectarines, strawberries, cranberries and grapes.
I was in my sacred haven. I spent the next hours tasting and picking my berries, when it began to rain. The rains were expected to worsen, so I decided to take the train back to the centre. But there were no rides available from the garden to the station and there was nearly no one ,I guess people in Amsterdam study the weather well and don’t take chances. I decided to walk before it got dark .
When I was crossing a nearby fruit garden, I got a whiff of some exotic herbs and saw a young man, making what looked like soup on the porch of his garden from a mini stove. He caught me observing him, he waved at me calling me to join him. i was confused, but then I was completely drenched, and I could take a 10 minute break I guess. I joined him, he was a painter and nearly my age ,had an earthy scent swirling around him, with a titan’s shoulder and a cosmic smile, that was distracting me constantly.
He had a house in central amsterdam, but came to this outhouse during the weekends to tend to his garden and finish his unfinished work. He offered me his mushroom soup and offered to drop me to a nearby station too. While I was having the soup, he showed me his latest paintings, they were all water-colors depicting love-making from a woman’s perspective, they were suave and so rhythmic in their finishes ,I was completely in awe.
Since I worked at an art gallery as an assistant curator a ‘struggling one though’, we spent hours talking about the art scene in the city. He then asked me, ‘ I would like to make a portrait of you, preferably nude as part of my watercolor series you see here. Would you let me ?’ I was a bit alarmed at first, but it’s something I had always wanted to so to my surprise I agreed. We decided to meet the next weekend , at his garden here .
The entire week, I was nervous and excited, I had never had a nude of mine painted before, especially by a painter who looked so fine. Would it be awkward, would I chicken out when in the moment. I was playing a million scenarios in my mind, and for some reason the ending of all the scenarios ended in us making love covered in paint. What was wrong with me , having these corny situations in my mind with a man I barely knew, what was wrong withe me? agreeing to let a stranger paint my nude. What if he was posing as a painter and was some sort of a delinquent? But, hey with that house and that garden I doubted it. So I did some research on him , asked my colleagues about him at the gallery, and turns out he was actually quite well-known in the city, he had his first solo show last year at this hip new gallery in Jordaan. He was also known as the emerging artist of watch out for. So did that mean I was going to be in safe hands? I don’t know , maybe.
I reached his place the following saturday, it was a bright sunny day. He got me blackberries, cherries and a glass of wine. He had also placed fresh orchids that he had plucked from his garden and decorated it all around me. I told him I was nervous, he asked me not to be, but also said We don’t have to do it if I was not feeling up to it. But I Was up to it , In Fact if only he would have known how I had envisaged this portrait session turning into a real life eroticism in my scenarios I played at home. I guzzled the wine, after quickly unlayering myself , I took my seat and posed rather reclined in that Sabine Marcelis hued chair. He began his work, i looked at him, then got awkward and then looked in a million different directions, he was observing me well of course he was he was painting my portrait, could he see the scars on my naval from my surgery last year? AH! he looked beautiful,with his gaze so intense, lacquered and enameled in sun , his energy was infusing me with a different kind of desire. I continued sipping on my wine. After a few hours, he stopped and came towards me with the painting. I was spellbound, it really looked like me haha. He sketched me first and then added the water colours, I was amazed he had got me scars on the naval, he had painted the freckles on my face, the birthmark on my thighs, every little detail was there but more than anything I saw a girl who was so radiant and happy she transmitted a different kind of rippling ambition in her softness that had enamoured me, something I had dreamt of becoming when I came to Amsterdam. Yet I was scared to pursue it , thinking I would never become that powerful, inspiring curator I aspired to be. But this young woman in front of me conveyed something else. I cried a little, he took my hand and kissed it. I thanked him for the work and he thanked me for letting him do it. He stood so close to me, I could almost hear his heartbeat, I lost my calm and in the clumsiness my hand hit the water bowl he was carrying which had the water colors mixed and it all fell over me. My bare body was covered in hued shades of pink and lemon yellow. Before he could react, I kissed him. He kissed me back, and then what I had predicted in my scenario is what exactly happened, we both were covered in colors, blending them as our bodies rubbed against each other and he painted me a shade of his.
Today, this very day as The lockdown is lifted in London and my gallery is set to open next week, and all I can think of is him.Its been two years since that day, we lost touch in between, but the quarantine made us reconnect again, he said he would visit me this summer , I said don’t I want to come and visit you and maybe we could do another painting in your garden which I get to take back for my gallery this time. haha I am already imagining the scenario in my mind, Plucking orchards from his garden, turning rosy with his touch,
making soup in the grass, with a mini stove that’s just enough, There is a nip in the air, but I am warm as far as he’s near. I want that back in my life, with him in my sight.
Listen to Love in The Times of A Pandemic Previous Episodes of
Ep 01 – Cozy Attic of Barcelona
Ep 03- Surfing My Desire in Fuerteventura