One pretty consistent thing in my life is being unlucky in lucky draws! And as if to add salt to the wound, I've had plenty of near-wins*.
*Near-wins: That agonizing moment that affirms your "unluckiness" - when all the numbers being announced are similar to yours, all except the last number. And then you see the guy from the next table shouting/clapping/jiggy dancing for winning that new TV, or that trip to Sydney, Australia!
But, once upon a time, back when I was living in Japan, I did win two tickets to the Van Gogh in Context exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, in Tokyo.
Well, technically speaking, it wasn't a lucky draw. It was more of a competition of "who raised his/her hand first".
In fact, I suspect that my sensei had probably picked me as the winner because: (i) I was the only ryugakusei (international student) in his lab at that point, and (ii) I looked too enthusiastic, and he just took pity on me.
For whatever reasons he had chosen to let me win the tickets, I was ecstatic as I have always been crazy in love with Van Gogh! At that point, having the tickets in my hand made all the "unluckiness" sizzle away like water on hot tarmac - forgotten...
There were two tickets, I gave one to Ceelia (my housemate). And, we managed to entice the boys (Saeed, Lax and Shota) to come along.
It was early spring, and still pretty chilly. The day was kind of of gray. We stood waiting outside of the museum, snugged in our spring jackets and mufflers.
36 masterpieces were brought in from the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands. In our small group, we walked through all the works showcased in the tour.
I don't remember how long we were there at the museum. As we walked around, some paintings pulled us in longer than the others. In itself each painting has its own story, retold through Vincent's dramatic strokes.
I was really hoping to see my favorite painting "Cafe Terrace at Night". Unfortunately, it belongs to the Kroller-Muller Museum in the Netherlands (still, I wonder why they used it as the main graphic on the ticket though, kind of misleading).
"Starry Night" was not available as well as it is part of the collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Nonetheless, it was equally fulfilling to see the captivating "Almond Blossom". As I lose myself in the dreamy blue, I recalled that Vincent painted it to celebrate the birth of his nephew.
And as always, "The Bedroom" moved me. It reminded me of the solace it gave Vincent, especially after his illness.
The star of the exhibition was of course, the "Sunflowers". We had to queue up to look at it up close, one person at a time. You're allowed a minute or so to just gaze at the masterpiece, soaking in its beauty. I didn't know it then that that Vincent painted it to welcome and impress Paul Gauguin who was coming over to his home in Arles.
In that few hours, I had an amazing time just losing myself in the bursts of yellow on blue, and vibrant splashes of reds, oranges and greens. That was a beautiful day.