Through a large front window of my house, I looked him coming back from the office. He opened the door of the car and came out. He pushed the door back very gentle, looking upstairs with a sweet smile. I liked that sweet smile. I first met him as my elder sister's lover. That was past ten years. I was very happy to see that they were very good-looking couple.
The footsteps were climbing to the upstairs and I heard my mother's sharp and decisive sound. "Mi Ni!" My body was started to shake in the corner of the door. The door slightly moved to the front, making a smooth sound.
"Mi Ni!, come out from your hiding place. Your brother's coming and wants to see you." said mother.
"Oh! I don't want to see him. My heart beat so hard. Why do I want to see him,really? Oh! I don't know.''
This is not a love story by Barbara Cartland. This is a true story of my mother, written by herself. I read that very particular page only when I was so young. She did not finish her novel because her of heavy duty of raising all her daughters up, three for her own and two from her late sister. She married a widower for the sake of her two nieces at the age of fifteen. Mother is the most tough woman that I ever seen in my life. Rising up five girls by herself is not a joke. I only know that when I have a daughter. I have got a bit headache every time at the changing face of my daughter's life.
"Kappali ma." This is mother's nickname, "Nigger" because of her fresh skin. Even her skin is dark; she is a fair beautiful lady. When she was young, she had a very thick & dark black hair with oval face. A sharp beautiful nose, the only one part that I did not possess. Most of our friends & neighbors said I am the only one who looks like my mother. My very broad nose is from my father. Except that nose and my big curve ear, I am very lucky to possess my mother's entire feature. She always said that her elder sister is prettier than her. Her elder sister died in delivering her third child when my mother was nearly fourteen years old. The baby also was died together with his mother. Because of her two motherless grand daughters, my grandmother asked her son-in-law to marry her youngest daughter. He agreed and married my mother but he was still broken.So he asked the famous artist U Ngwe Gaing to draw the portrait of his late wife.
Father was one of the film importers in those days and met U Ngwe Gaing who was one of the most popular artists in that time. All his paintings become international and famous after his death. He always paints the portrait still life. At first, he refused to paint the photograph of my late aunt. When he saw my mother, he made his second thought. Oh!it is very remarkable.He asked mother to be his model for painting the portrait of the beautiful Ma Nyein May.
I want to enter the fellings of my mother at that time, how she felt while she was posting in front of the famous artist for her late sister. Did she angry because of my father's decision to paint the portrait of his late wife? Did she feel sorry and jealous for what my father still longing for his first wife? Did she feel ashamed because she is not as pretty as her late sister? Did she feel shy posting in front of the famous artist who withdrew his refusal when he saw her? I think she was not jealous because she threw herself in the marriage because of her two own nieces. Everytime when she admired their childhood, she always remembered that ivory skin of her sister. She adored her sister.
I dare to say that she was not ashamed because actually she is also a perfect beauty and graceful lady and she was not shied in front of the one and only U Ngwe Gaing because he is very friendly.
Primarily, the process of painting for the portrait is sketching with the photograph and finally with the model.My mother only had spent three or four days of her time. At first, we had seen the sarong which is almost spoiled now. It is very creative one, which is made of the expensive lace and velvet.The design of the ingyee (the blouse of Myanmar)in the portrait is
Myanmar style but the sarong is very popular style in that period. It is westernized.
The style of putting a handkerchief in the neckline is very attractive. Hairstyle is also the popular style of late 1940. I am sure that the portrait of Daw Nyein May is the masterpiece of the late U Ngwe Gaing. lf you do not believe me, just look at the portrait and touch yourself.
I have seen a portrait of a lady by him. That painting is also very attractive but the structure of the lady is in the painting is not proportion at one angle. The most popular painting of U Ngwe Gaing in Myanmar National Museum is "The Palong Lady". The skin of lady seem like a real virgin. The light and shade are very nature. If you looked at her, your eye will stop at her thick lips. Then you have to change to another painting.
However, if you look at of the portrait of Daw Nyein May, you cannot stop at one point. First, look at the lace and velvet sarong. The velvet is shining in the sport light of the sun. Across the beautiful breast, I admire the style of putting a hand-kerchief in the neckline. The watch on a hand seems a real one.The fingers on the handle of "the Pathein" umbrella are the three-dimensional. The shade of the umbrella becomes the perfect lighting. The perfect lighting on the face makes the jaws of the lady graceful. Near the jaws, you will see the half smille lips. Then unpredictable eyes are gazing back to you. To escape that strong gazing,you have to change your eyes to the background. The blue sky takes you to the velvet sarong again.