It was about a year back. On a weekend, we decided to head out to the Princeton University campus for a quick stroll. The campus gets especially beautiful during fall and last year was no different. Steadfast trees and the undecided leaves on seemed to take on an entirely different hue as they tried to fight the oncoming cold months. Pushing our little son’s baby stroller along, we chanced upon a press release announcing a new exhibition underway at the Princeton University Art Museum. Museum visits are challenging with little ones in tow, but on a whim, we decided to go in and quickly check out the offerings. On display were Fazal Sheik’s photographs of widows in India. It seemed that they were constrained to a strange life of isolation after their husbands had passed on from this world. Due to strange local mores and traditions, they were castoff from normal life and society and constrained to a life of worship - worship of the Hindu god Krishna – it were as if the fault that their spouses died were directly attributed to some failing of their and they were undergoing penitence through a life of prayer. As is attendant with tragic situations like the ones they faced, it was clear that sexual abuse, extreme isolation, mental issues and physical ailments visit the widows. Factors like abuse and isolation tend to leave their characteristic marks on humans. The human face records time and abuse like no other part of our mortal frames – one only has to look carefully for the signs. I wrote about the exhibition in detail here, but what caught me the most was the look on their faces. I took some pictures of the stark black and white faces for projects that were undecided then. Over the past year, I have been planning on painting some of the more evocative ones but did not find the time or inclination. Finally, over the past month, I completed this particular lady. I plan on completing about four more over this year. This was painted in raw sienna, monochrome - a lighter color that I hoped would try and mute the abject darkness inherent in the lady’s face. Of course, try as I might, the light color did not seem to help.