“Wow! Isn’t that a perfect day to continue your solo trek?” I had just woken up from a deep slumber inside my tent at a clearing in the forest. I had always wanted to go trekking, but since none of my friends agreed to accompany me, I decided to be my own escort. I freshened up and resumed my journey within 20 minutes. As I kept walking, after an hour or so, I came across a cottage.It was simple in the most mesmerizing way. It was surrounded by small to medium-sized shrubs on all three sides except the front. The entrance was brick red in colour and the rocks which, composed the cottage ranged from crimson, umber and amber to a tortilla. The slope was painted grey and the windows had a black frame around them. This tiny residence was surrounded by white, wooden fencing, with a small gate parallel to the entrance of the cottage.There was a painting kept at some distance from the fence. It seemed complete but the paintbrushes and the palettes of various sizes laid hither and thither, indicating that the owner of the painting must have finished his job a while ago. I quickly scanned the entire area but couldn’t find a single living soul. There was something about the painting which, had captured my curiosity. It had no colour, rather an assortment of only black and grey. As I closed in on the painting, I felt myself surrendering to its taut, intense clutches. I felt myself drawn deeper and deeper into a bottomless sea as I approached it. When I finally stood at a hand’s length from painting, I could not ascertain what had pulled me towards it. Yes, it definitely was a sundry of black and grey, shades which I had never in my life imagined could exist, but it was achromatic! And I was the kind of person who thrived on vibrancy and colour.While I was scrutinizing it, I could conjecture that it was the picture of a village. I could locate children running, men and women gathered together, some huts, a mountain and a river in the distance, and a few tall standing trees too. I continued staring at it for some time when suddenly, I felt my surrounding go topsy-turvy in all the directions one could conceive. When I had finally collected myself and looked around, I could see the exact same scene which, I had seen in the painting! There were children running around joyfully; men and women discussing something and laughing; the sun shone on the peak of the mountain, adorning it with a blanket of gold; the river glistened and flowed gleefully under the sun; there were several small huts and tall bushes in the vicinity, but no trees which, I had initially deciphered in the painting. It was a village; a happy village. All of a sudden, in a click of the fingers, it transformed into an inferno which gripped the entire village in its realm of scourge and monstrosity. The children were still running, but out of fear; the men and women still had gaping mouths, but instead of laughter, it delivered screams; the mountain was no more adorned by the sun, but blanketed by the profane-black sky; there was no water in the river, but mercury-red blood; the huts were tattered; and the bushes, pinnacled by sky soaring fires, resembled tall standing trees. Instead of euphoria and gaiety, there were now missile sounds, cries and groans of pain and guns and bombs roaring under the doom-laden sky. The happy place had turned into blood- curdling, war-stricken zone.“Hello!” I was caught off guard by a boy of approximately twenty-seven years of age and found myself in the very same place, where I had lost myself. “I see you’ve already been attacked by my painting,” he said with a playful smirk in his eyes. I understood the pun but was too bewitched – first by the painting, then by his eyes – to respond. His eyes! I had never seen eyes like those! They were a ravishing concoction of emotions – agony, pain, woe, positivity, tranquillity, bliss, hope!“How…. why…. did you…. paint… this?” I asked, stammering.“That used to be my home. This painting is the story of how I was wrenched out of my home. Do you like it?”“I…. I…. I’m sorry!” And I ran away. I ran till my legs felt numb, and I was totally out of breath. I sat under the shade of a tree and recollected what I had just witnessed. Even though the war scene was entrenched in my mind, his eyes were embedded in my heart. There was hope in them. A person, so defeated by life, had not given up on life! You would expect a person to become a nihilist after such an ordeal, but he chose to become a herald of positivity; a harbinger of hope.