Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
Strange how winning an auction of a intensely desired item can make one think!
I’d stumbled into this category of items through a search – sometimes the net of search terms is inaccurate – maybe too wide – and the items fished out by by search engines are beyond our expected set.
One of the pieces that did not belong in that set, was interesting but not what I was looking for at that time. So I glossed over it and moved on.
Now earlier I have made the mistake of ignoring the interesting items completely and then remembering it later without a clue as to how to find it again. Not knowing of its existence would be perfectly fine. But to have seen a thing of beauty and then to lose all access to it – even just visual access – is just brutal. So having kicked myself quite often for this self-inflicted torment, I now save everything that catches my attention as a bookmark. And that is how this interesting piece from a category of textiles unknown to me came to be saved too. And then I forgot about it.
A few weeks later in some random browsing I saw that bookmark again and took a second look.
“Interesting…… expensive but interesting…” and then I got drawn in deeper to understand the category better.
Soon, after traversing a series of stepping stones of more artworks and more historical factoids I had crossed the bridge of indifference and now was a worshipper of these textiles.
As usual, greed followed. And I began to search with a view to acquiring.
In the quest for a piece that ‘I could not live without’ I left no website unbrowsed and looked through a few dozen pieces. The shortlist began to form and that contained about 6-7 pieces. But none was “the one” so I kept looking.
Surprisingly this was not found in all the popular collecting portals so for whatever reasons, collectors seemed to have ignored this category. Whatever! The lesser the merrier! More for me 🙂 – I am slave to only to my eye and my desire (and of course my bank) and the fact that this category did not feature anywhere as a collectible textile did not bother me. I just made a mental note of this and searched on.
As usual, it was google that took me to it.
This absolutely ravishing piece was on a gallery website … but as I looked further it was marked “sold”. [Every single piece in that gallery based in London was sold….?!!! maybe it had shut down?]
I hated that thought …. I was consumed with self pity and greed and a huge sense of loss! (yes – loss – loss of opportunity to own it. After all the universe does owe me a chance to own this – right? 😉 :)).
The pain in my heart was very real even if no doctor would have attested it. It did not matter that even if it were still available I might not have been able to afford it … It did not matter that I would never actually use it and that it would join the many other artworks that have carefully stored away in my shelves. All that mattered was that THIS piece needed to be in my shelves.
Terrible isn’t it to be so afflicted with greed? Sigh – I probably need to go to the Himalayas again and cleanse my mind in solitude! Perfect solution found so now we can put that self shaming thought behind us.
Anyway …I continued my search – trying different terms as nets. The same piece came up again but it looked a bit different so I clicked – and lo and behold it was on offer. It had been listed for auction by a different gallery just six days ago!!!!!! And the starting price was a fraction of the value I assigned to it.
I couldn’t believe my luck! That the absolute best piece that I had seen in this category was available to me potentially!
WoW! What a twist in my fortune.
So I bid.
And then the wait for the auction close began.It was 3 days and 12 hours awy!
Torment once again.
I walked a lot I cooked a lot I read a lot in these days to distract myself from the pain of waiting. I do not recall having waited as much for a beloved as much as I waited for this auction to end! Just kidding 🙂
It was to end at 4 am ++ my time! I haven’t done these 4 am auctions for a long time – the last ones were some amazing manuscripts in 2014 and before that some absolutely ravishing rugs that I love with all my heart. For all these pieces I am willing to give up sleep not just for 1 night but forever ….if it kills me so be it… death by art auctions!
The alarm was set and I was up in time. And I was ready for any opponent should a bidding match arise.
The auction was to end at 1:54:13PM PDT
I was winning – but to be extra cautious, in the absolutely last minute – about 40 seconds before the auction ended I put in a higher bid – with the maximum that I was willing to pay for this. That was at 1:53:35PM PDT – about 40 seconds left before the hammer fell.
And then … 10 seconds before the auction closed – totally out of the blue… a competing bid sniped in. That was at at 1:54:03PM PDT.
His bid was higher than my original bid ….
BUT it was way lower than my final bid…..so he would have to bid again to topple my bid.
The competitor had no time to react.
In a few seconds it was over.
I had won it.
And this is the precise moment when philosophical thoughts struck.
What if he had put in a higher bid? What if I had not woken up and put in that final bid? It could so easily have been snatched away from me … And for a few moments I sat staring at the pre-dawn deep blue of the sky and felt fear…The list of events that could have happened was endless.
But none of them actually happened.
What did happen was that I got very very lucky …and a wave of gratitude swept over me.
But what had I done to deserve this overwhelming fortune?
N O T H I N G
I had not saved a dying man. EVER. I had not helped anyone in memorable ways. I had not been remarkable generous. I had not found the cure for anything. I could have used my mental and other resources to change lives or at least a life but I had done nothing.
What made me deserve the good luck that in this very episode I had very clearly seen turning against me at least twice, but in the end it turned in my favor?
So I concluded – never mind that I had done nothing until now. But this would be a turning point. I resolved to do MORE from now on.
Give more of myself. Extract more from within. To make most of every opportunity by giving it 100%. I know that these days I give like 25% of myself simply because that is acceptable and I can get away with it – throwing away the rest out of laziness or complacence or decadence. But that must change. I must do more.
This is the resolve. The path will follow.
This way I will at least try to square off the accounts of life in which I see that I have received more than my fair share of good fortune.