“Hey, you! Yes, you in the blue shirt and nerdy glasses, what are you looking at, eh?”

“Who me?” I asked, while I turned around and saw that there was no one else fitting the description. She was indeed talking to me.

“Yes, you. Why are you staring at me, eh?”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude. It’s just that, I had heard so much about you. You are so famous, one of the most recognizable faces in the world. So, I wanted to make sure I got a good glimpse of you when I got the chance…”

“I am fed up with idiots like you, ogling at me all day long. And what’s with the selfie stick? You think I want to be in the same frame as your ugly face?”

“I am sorry, but I wanted to post this on Insta. It’s not every day that one gets a chance to meet someone so famous.”

“Bah, that’s the problem with you kids these days! Absolutely no manners! Don’t you think you should ask my permission before clicking a photo of me?”

“Er, ok, excuse me Ma’am, can I click a photo of you?”

“Yes, you can, but no, you may not!” she said, reminding me of my old English teacher. “Do you think it is easy for me to sit here with a smile while a thousand idiots like you click photos of me all day? And every time, there are at least a dozen imbeciles who keep their camera flash on, despite my bodyguards repeatedly warning them not to. My eyes are half shut because of the constant flashes.”

“But I came all the way to meet you. I just want one quick selfie, it won’t even take a second. After all, you are one of the world’s first supermodels.”

“That I am. You young kids don’t know, but I have dined with royalty. I have travelled the world, dear. Rome, New York, Moscow and Tokyo, all the great cities. Everywhere I went, people thronged to see me. Why, I have even been inside the General’s bedroom. Oh, you won’t believe the things I have been witness to.”

“Ooh, didn’t know that even famous celebrities like you drop names and gossip.”

“Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.”

“Wow, that’s a nice quote.”

“Disraeli said that”

“Ah, I don’t support them. I am in the Support Palestine camp. But hey, I can use the quote as my WhatsApp status!”

“What? What status?”

“Oh, for a celebrity, you are quite technologically challenged. How come you don’t know WhatsApp and Insta?”

“Well, I am quite old…”

“But you don’t look that old”, I said, hoping to get on her good books.

“Thanks, I am flattered. What can I say, I avoid outdoor pollution, and my Mediterranean diet also helps with my skin care regimen. Olive oil is my secret beauty tip.”

“No wonder you have such a flawless face…”, I continued to flirt, hoping to make her forget that I was just another idiot with a selfie stick.

“But I am more than just a pretty face. That’s the problem. People come and gawk at my beauty, some call my smile mysterious, but no one bothers about the true person behind the face. All you guys care about are my looks. No one cares about who I am as a person, my feelings, my hopes and my desires, my fears and my disappointments. No one asks whether I want to sit here preening like a model locked up in a gilded palace, or whether I would be happier outside dancing in the rain, getting mud on my face.”

And just as I was about to reach across to comfort her that I wasn’t like the rest of the guys, and I did care, the security guard came across and said “No crossing the ropes monsieur. Kindly move along please, merci.”

And so, I stepped out of the Louvre, posted my selfie on Insta and added the hashtag #ArtThatTrulySpeaksToYou #MonaLisa. 

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