A water rangoli pattern I once designed for a high school art prize unfolds in my mind like a sheet. I see a shallow square tray of water, over which I sprinkle charcoal dust. Then, over the black curtain of dust, I outline a rotating flower in silver, and fill it in with the alternating blue and grey hues of the sky. After shadowing the design with a layer of nearly imperceptible inky blue, I highlight the silver edges.
The curves of the flower mirror the absent contours of the water underneath. Its blue-grey-silver tones surreptitiously allude to the transparency of the hidden liquid. It is a shadow that has defied the opaque division of the charcoal. A simulated image that comes about when the free flow of light is blocked. Or the residual image that is formed when light peeps in through black curtains. Or the refracted image that is reflected (to us) when light tumbles its way through a translucent sheet.
As the light emanating from the water encounters different obstructions, it goes on aberrant paths, giving us ever-changing image-stories of its subjective experience of time.