Friday, May 25, 2012

The Tsunami Wave


Pune 2012.
A tear rolled down Jaya’s eye as she sat on her bed amidst a trunk full of photographs scattered around her. Most of them were old pictures from her young days. It wasn’t all the photos she was interested in looking at, it was just this one which she held in her hand and to find it she’d emptied the entire trunk. Half smiling, eyes moist, she gazed fondly at it-she sitting with Hrishi on the beach, silhouetted against the setting sun.
***
Today had been an unexpected surprise for Jaya. Her husband had left early, leaving her a note saying he was going to be out of town for some urgent work and that she would carry out her day just as usual. He wouldn’t tolerate it if he knew she had misbehaved. She strictly wasn’t supposed to leave the house except for picking up children from school. It was a short, blunt note carrying no information as to where he is going or when Jaya should expect him to be back.
Jaya felt light the entire morning and, young too. It had been years now since she had last got an opportunity to be free from her husband’s clutches. She had hummed all long as she did her chores, just the way she always did in her twenties. She remembered the days when she would quickly finish her share of chores at her parent’s place and go out to explore.
Jaya was a writer. She would love to sit in one of the coffee shops and mull over her thoughts, pen them down and let herself fly. She loved exploring the world, through thoughts and through travelling. There were times when she would hop on a bus, she knew not where it went, but the thrill of discovering a new place would always enthral her.

Today, she felt as if a little bit of her old self had returned. She set out more than an hour earlier than her usual time to pick up her children and headed to a cafe. She sat down with a mug of cocoa and started scribbling on a tissue paper with a snub pencil from her handbag.
Words kept flowing through her mind and ink kept spilling through her pen, forming a pool of emotions on paper. She wrote fervently and just once looked up, casually glanced out of the window pane and she stopped.  She froze.
Hrishi.
***
Goa 1992.
A twenty year old Jaya lay down on the sea-shore, waves washing up to her knees and back again. Hrishi sat next to her fiddling with his camera. They had just taken their first picture together, against the setting sun and he couldn’t figure out why his stupid Polaroid camera wouldn’t print it. The two had met a day or two ago on an isolated, extended strand of beach just beside Baga.
Jaya had come to Goa all by herself to live by the sea, hoping to write in solitude. Not fully satisfied with the crowded Baga beach she had walked down the shoreline to stumble upon a quiet spot with no people around. She had plopped herself on the sand and pulled out her writing pad.

Hrishi, a twenty two year old amateur photographer, was led to this spot by three beautiful sea birds he’d been hoping to click, when in flight.
Both being surprised to find another existing human in this virgin area and curious to know who each of them were, had kept glancing at each other hoping to catch each other’s eye and give an acknowledging smile. Hrishi, after getting a desired picture of the birds, had come and sat besides Jaya. And that’s how the two had met.
The next fortnight was a blur; an happy blur. The two had so much in common that they never ran out of topics to converse about. They explored weird places together, discussed writing and photography with one another, collected shells, built castles on the shore like children, played, laughed, flew kites, drank beer, sat in peace observing the pattern of the sea, listening to the rhythmic sound of waves, shopped, and at night even fell asleep under a coconut tree or in a stationary fisherman’s boat.
It’s not the things they did made everything so special but the intuitive understanding they shared and a little bit of the always lingering happiness in the Goa air that made it all, so much extraordinarily  enjoyable.
They had clicked; fitted like two pieces in a puzzle.
***
It had been perfect, only until one day when Jaya had been beckoned home urgently to be beside her seriously ill father. 

She had left in haste, with just a short goodbye note devoid of any sort of contact details.
Her father passed away and gloom set over her family. Shortly, she was married off to a shrewd, wealthy businessman. With that went away all her freedom and she became a caged bird.
***
Pune 2012
After twenty years, I saw him today. The same face, the same curly hair, the same exuberance. For a fraction of a second I felt like running out and hugging him until I realised I didn’t want to do that. My fate has changed me far too much and kept him far too the same! In the past two decades I’ve lost far too many people. My friends have been estranged from me and my image daunted and dirtied in their eyes. He remains my only sole friend who remembers me the way I am. He is oblivious to the facade of scars and burn marks all over my body, the suppressed person I’ve been moulded in to. He knows me as the real me. He recognises me as a writer, recognises me the way I’ve always wanted the world to recognise me. I don’t want yet another dent on this image any more...

Friendship is after all not about how long you’ve been together but about how much of goodness you’ve shared together...

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