I did not mind him much. Took my tripod and camera out and tried to balance it on that uneven surface. In few minutes, the tiny Sun would rest into the vast heart of the sea and relax in the deep and darkest place of the sea until the next morning :)
In a trial and error method, I adjusted the aperture and played with the ISO. After nearly eight clicks, I was satisfied with the settings of my camera. 'Perfect’, I said to myself. The Mangalore beach and setting sun have never disappointed me, when it comes to posing. Like a perfect model, she would dress up with different shades of orange and red dresses. As part of make-up, she would just puff some clouds on her cheeks and then the high tides would cat-walk towards the sand to the tunes played by the smooth breeze.
Today, she was completely in red. She was in middle of the clouds that was roughly shaped as heart, yes the same shape that the lovers use to convey all meaningless things. The red rays of sun were only emerging out from the top end where as the pointed shape of the heart made by cloud was white over a light orange background. The portion of sea in front of me had completely turned red, as if she has slit some demon’s throat and his blood was floating on the water.
I first clicked just the Sun's picture and zoomed out just a little to capture tiny bit of sea at its bottom. The 17-300 mm lens was further zoomed out and keeping the dying sun in the left top third eye rule, I covered the vast sea to show - with what majesty was the tiny Sun fighting vainly. Sun’s death was inevitable!
The Sun was left with final breaths; the upper most part of Sun's circumference was at the sea-level and in my frame, it was just few centimetres above the bottom left, the sun was not in total focus. It was looking just like light spot without any shape. While majority of the frame had covered Sea, the object that was actually in focus was the light house bidding adieu to Sun by its light as if saying, 'not to worry friend, I am there for you...'
If not for the stupid man who was so far, within two nanoseconds away from my frame, I would have clicked the perfect picture. Click, goes my button, and with that, even the sun into the water. Needless to say that I could not get what I wished for. However, he got what he deserved, a mouthful from me. From Ba*****rd to Mo**** Fu****..., I was fuming, just like the Sun when he is right on our head.
The man walked out of the frame and far from me even without looking at me... with just his hand raised, as if meaning to say sorry. I was still fuming and frustrated of losing such a good shot.
Meanwhile, he settled down on the beach, staring at the sea even in that darkness.
I packed in my tools into the bag, and shed my anger as there was nothing I could do over the lost opportunity. I felt bad for scolding that man... walking towards my car, I stopped at him and said sorry.
"I did not mean to say those words. It was just a spurt of anger of losing....", and even without letting me complete my sentence he said, "I can understand that I should not have come in the middle of your frame." He sounded like a mature man with a level head on his shoulders.
I shook his hand and introduced myself to him and he told me his name. He was a journalist, working with one of the best newspapers in the nation. Curiosity was bustling in me to know his love story and the reason behind his cry and disappointment. "All fine with you mate? Hope your girl is all right. Is she alive..." before I could ask him the last question he spoke with urgency... "She is perfectly fine. She is happy and working fine in a newspaper office."
For the first time in the entire evening, or the past two hours that we met, he smiled. He was decently dressed. Average looking with some five ft nine inches tall and slim built.
"But you were almost crying there”, I asked my next question. He kept silent for a long time. I thought he was not interested in telling me further. I walked few steps away from him, while he had tucked his face deep into his palms.
I sat next to him, with eagerness to hear a journalist’s love story. "Do not think of a happy ending of my story. It is a story of a failure and a man rejected," he started. Without giving me a chance to respond, he said again. "Had it been successful, instead of being on the cradle of beach I would have been in her arms today..." And for the next few seconds, he went into silence mode.
His voice was charged up. He had some joy in narrating the story there after. The smile did not leave him then. He was a charm to see then on wards. "I was doing my bachelors and she was my classmate. We were in a class of 53. There were only 8 boys and rest were girls and the college demography was almost reverse of the Indian ratio of girls. For every one boy, there were potential three girls to date. And I chose her, only her”.
"She was not the most beautiful girl this world has ever seen, but she was pretty. She was intelligent, matured, level headed..., and more over she was my kind of girl. That explains why I fell for her. In other words, I did not have a choice of not falling for her. Even today there are friends who say that she is arrogant, has attitude problem... but you see I had this 'lovetaract' where my feelings had covered my eyes to see logic in their words. And who the hell will think of logic and all when you see such beauty.
I do not properly remember the day or situation when I first saw her, for my love was not love at first sight. But I do remember the day I fell in her love. It was 14 July 2006, Friday, morning 8:54 (six minutes before the class started). The rainy season had just started in the coastal region. There was cool breeze running while the rain drops were just sprinkling.
I was standing outside the class enjoying the weather along with friends. When she came climbing down the steps, adjusting her untied hairs. I did not see her as an angel walking down the aisle. She wasn't like the first ray of light that busted out of cloudy sky, a night after heavy rains. There was no aura around her. Neither did she shine like a drop of dew seen early morning on those red roses nor did I feel her to be the crescent moon on a star-less night. She looked just like any other girl. However, the only difference was, she had the power to bewitch me for that moment and forever.
Though she was under the blue umbrella, her white dress was wet, just a little bit, enough to show how beautiful she was. How curvy and how make-up free!
A cool breeze swept even at Panamboor beach. He rubbed his shoulder with palms. By now, his smile had turned into happiness. He was almost reliving the events that happened some eight-years-ago (almost a year before he proposed her.) "It may rain," I said. His answer was simple "let it rain. I love coastal rains..."
He started again. "Then and there I was gone, sold old and ruined forever. I wish that rain had never come; I wish I was inside the classroom. I wish I never went to that college or best I never existed..." Few more seconds of silence again.
"I was not myself thereafter. I was almost in her control. It was just that she did not know that she had the control keys with her, so much so, that in the middle of my second year of course, I went to the head of the department of the subject which she had taken and asked him if I could join that course leaving my favourite computer science subject. That was the only class that separated us in the college.
"Things started turning bad on my side. I started becoming a poet. Whatever I could not dare to speak to her, I started jotting them down on a piece of paper. What started on piece of paper ended up in not just one but two books, most of them in praise of her beauty. On her smile itself, I must have written some 20 poems.
"It was evident that I was not concentrating on my course subjects as much I was concentrating on her. While the English lecturers were teaching romanticism and modern poems, I was busy, during the class hours, writing my own verses on her beauty and hymns explaining my devotion to her."
"Like any other college love story, everyone else noticed my feeling for her apart from the person concerned. You must have read that SMS- 'If a boy likes a girl in college, apart from the girl everyone else know about it and if a girl loves a boy in College, except the boy no one else knows about it.' well something similar was my case”.
"Every time, I made some special appearance in the class, cracked a joke, made fool of myself... while my friends’ vocal cords remained silent, their eyes used to say only one thing 'we know why 'the f***' you are doing this!' And she was like- nothing is happening around her.
Bad was about to turn worse when one of my 'friendly enemy ' threatened to break this news to her. I feared and at the same time felt happy. At least by this, someone would be conveying my feelings to her. Then, I realised what would be the repercussions.
It was April 25, 2007, Wednesday afternoon 3:38. We had finished our English exam on that day and had 10 days gap for the next exam. I asked her for an appointment. And as assured, she came on time at the decided place - Near the Journalism department HOD's chamber. To my 'bad luck', she was wearing the same white dress and was looking stunning, making me nervous and resulting in words stumbling in the mouth itself. I was almost stammering. I don't know what exactly I said, but this is what I intended to say. And without beating around the bush I said, "I have feelings for you. Maybe I know your response, but it is just that I do not want a third person to tell you this. That is why I am jumping the gun and telling you my feelings”.
She laughed, for almost 45 long seconds, and then said, “I knew this was the case, by your behaviour. But seriously, I don't have any such feelings for you”. She just said what I already knew. She did not even take a nanosecond time for the reply. It was as if pre-loaded.
It started to drizzle in Panamboor. We did not move an inch from our place. I just made sure that my camera was safe and turned towards him.
"I did not stop liking her. What I stopped was to make it obvious to my friends. We were under the same roof, but not alone. We were together for eight hours, but not with each other. We looked at each other, and I feared that someone else would also be looking at us. We behaved as if we were two strangers but friends because we were studying in the same class.
"For some reasons, even after rejection, I could not accept what she had said. I knew her decision was final and I don't have even an iota of chance of winning her love. But something in my heart did not allow me to kill those feelings for her. I did follow her, literally.
"Every evening after college hours, I had one major work. I could skip breathing and afford not doing that work. She used to live in a town near our college and used to catch a private bus to go home. My duty was to escort her to the bus stop.
"While she walked on the footpath on the left side of road, I was following her on the right side, some 100 feet behind. All I wanted to see is her waving hands to her friends at the bus stand with a bright smile on face. I always assumed that 'Tata' was for me.
"It was not easy being so. But I did not have a choice. I was just trying to help myself to be happy. I seriously did not know what it is called- the way I was feeling. I was told that love is when two hearts have feelings for each other, but what do they call when only one person has love filled in his heart and another person do not even have a heart- One side love?
I tried hard to stop liking her. I wanted to live my life and not carry her in my heart. I tried to kill my inspiration. I stopped writing poems. But nothing worked. The more I tried to put my pen down, more beautiful did the line come up. I was stubborn, I did not write them. I just hummed them and forgot them. And make myself a promise of not repeating such mistake.
I am such an unlucky lover. I was supposed to go to a nearby town for withdrawal of money from the ATM in the same town she lived, the day I proposed her. And the bus I was sitting had only one more seat left and that was next to me. The bus did not move for the next 10 minutes. Frustrated, I got into the bus and after two minutes, she came to the stop, climbed the bus and sat in the small-sized seat where I was sitting. And the bus left the stop, the very next second without giving me a chance to react. Thousands of such incidents have happened. "I always console myself by saying that I missed her by a whisker."
He turned towards me and said, there are very few things I fear and one thing I fear the least is being rejected. I did not drop my love then; I am not dropping it now. I shall continue to love her... ever and forever. But this time, I shall not propose her, nor do I expect her to come to me. I do not want her anymore physically to like her. I know how to live and love her without her being with me. Seven years has taught me that.
"Tomorrow, if she comes to me with feelings for me, I may just walk away from her without saying yes."
We both were drenched completely, till our underwear. While I was trembling to speak, his voice modulation was solid. The rain made it difficult for me to notice whether he was crying or not. His voice did not give any indication, but his taking away of eyes from me did arise doubt.
He spoke again, "This is it, my love story- a story of missed chance.
Like them, what else
I Muted my Heart,
And the scar carved by that diamond
Pavan Kumar H.
The puffy bed, with rosy bedspread
Has countless thorns.
Night is what I hate.
In Eastman colours, like a motion picture,
One after another, a reel of unreal is projected,
Generating turbulence in my Pacific mind.
Not just exaggerations of my deepest desires are these
Dreams, but cruel jokes upon me!
“YOU are NOT what you WANT TO BE!”
They say every night to me.
I love this girl.
With her I walk, sing, make love and cry…
It is bliss being with her.
Every time I go on single knee
She smiles with a Yes. Every time
I open my arms to propose,
She tucks in me tight and smooch!
But I wake to reality: My facebook
Relation status still shows SINGLE!
I am hero, I am legend, I am this and I am that!
I am an achiever at whose feet world root!
There is hardly a thing I can’t achieve…
Every-time I am buried in that grave bed.
But, coming to reality – I realize
I don’t even have the desert that ozymandias’s
Truncated sculpture has.
I hate night
I curse the moon.
Sun has no sympathy for me- They all just do their duty,
No one caring for my feelings?
DREAMS, come not me!
You make me feel “the whole universe conspires against me!
Fearing you DREAMS- countless nights
Have I squatted in the corner of bed with tears rolling.
Fearing You DREAMS- Left attempting
Those achievable tasks.
Wish to Sleep Like a brain dead,
And wake up to the morning sun of hope.
- Pavan Kumar H.
It was a retired police constable, in a train journey, who had cornered me in a gruelling debate. He had utter disrespect for the Journalist clans. He accused me and the likes of me. Of being biased, of having hunger for only false and sensational news. He brought to debate life examples- how the highest selling newspaper covers story about a techy falling to death from her posh apartment while ‘deliberately’ neglecting a poor women crushed by truck… burnt by her husband or killed by her paramour. “You sell news only to elite. Do you really have social responsibility?”
I very much knew about the “rotten tooth” he was talking about, yet could not agree with him- my professional affinity blocked my convictions and argued with him blindly.
“Kid I have seen many journalists in my life. They come to stations peck news that only sells and not those which are important,” he said. He was firing bullets and I was his ‘bull’s eye’
“Ears of journalists would erect to full attention the moment we say that few bar girls were arrested in the city… and the same ears would turn dead when we say five gamblers were arrested. ‘Sex’- is that such a big factor in selling newspaper?” his questions were becoming more harsh and provoking.
I could have ripped off his dignity, for I knew in and out of the police department. How it works, when it works and why it works! I could have put him to utter humiliation by showing him the Lokayuktha report on the number of police officials who were on the wrong side of their duty. Most of them accused of ‘CRIMES’ beyond acceptance. But I kept quiet, unaltered by his venomous words.
Seeing me un-reactive for minutes, he handed me a four page photocopy of a suicide note and a FIR attached along with it.
The summary of FIR: Victim, a widow, aged about 17 was found dead, with eighty per-cent deep burns, under mysterious circumstance. The prime facie evidence says that the victim set herself ablaze after soothing her four-month-old (female) infant to death. A case of unnatural death has been registered at the Earrabli taluk police station in Chitradurga. A suicide note was found in the house- alleging her brother-in-law and her in-laws as the reason for her death.
I turned to the suicide note. Written in Kannada with lot of grammatical and spelling mistakes was powerful enough to quake my heart.
“The Almighty will not forgive me for what I have done to my baby and what I am going to do now. For only HE has every right to give and take life and not me, but leaving my child in this world and in the hands of those inhuman people mean my child would suffer,” was how the suicide note started. I saw the date on the FIR, it stated 1997 December.
I looked at the police constable; his hands were trying to hide the tears from running down the cheeks. “Read the entire story. The villain is a Journalist,” he said. I requested him to sit next to me as I found it difficult to understand her writing.
“What had I done to the almighty, for He made me so weak and submissive? From the day of my birth he has been testing me, hurting me and failing me in all my attempts,” the police man read to me from the note.
“Victim’s father abandoned mother and four of her sisters after her birth. And at age of three her mother died of illness. The eldest sister looked after her for 10 years and then she started to earn her bread by working as maid,” the police official gave me this additional information, which was not inscribed in the suicide note.
Skipping the next three paragraphs, which the cop said was not that important, he started reading “I was not ready for marriage at the age of 15, but did I have a choice? NO. My wedding was just like a cattle trade, the groom whose demands were least got my hand. He was 13 years elder to me.
“My husband was a gentleman. On our ‘first night’ he promised me that he would keep me happy till end. He did not even touch me on that night saying ‘you are not yet ready for this’. He kept his promise at-least for some days.
“His affection and love changed me, the pressure from in-laws made me to surrender physically to him … not once but many. Our first baby boy was born still/dead on the very same day of our first wedding anniversary. He stood by me, protested against his parents for putting unwanted pressure on me,” the cop continued reading the suicide note.
“But, as it has been all through my life, happiness did not stay with me for more than one and half years. Five days after I gave him the good news of conceiving again, his death news was brought to me. Some-one had killed him. His body was found on the railway track near city (Chitradurga).
“My in-laws said the money lenders killed him as my husband could not repay them. While the police, who came to my doors twice, said he died in an accident. Truth never reached me.”
Looking into my eyes directly the police man said, “It was a murder.” He did not give any further description as who did it.
He turned to the third page, “I knew what death is and how to live with-out loved ones. More than my life I was worrying about the gift he had left in my womb. ”
“My in-laws distanced themselves from me saying that it was my unborn child, which is responsible for my husband’s untimely death.”
“My husband’s last gift to me was a baby girl. Healthy and beautiful she was,” tears were uncontrollable in the cops eyes. Handing over the papers in walked away rubbing his cheeks.’’
“Fifteen days after my child’s birth the money lender along with three of his men came asking for repaying the money my husband had taken from them. Rupees Five lakh was what they demanded. I never knew what my husband had done with that money? Where is that now?”
“Like a Faristha, sent by the Almighty himself, my brother-in-law came to my rescue. He had a verbal duel with the money lender. After 20 minutes of fight, with grudge in their heart and lips money lenders left us,” the next two lines of the note was distorted by drop of water, assuming it be tears, had spread the ink in original copy. The photocopy made it even hard to read.
“From that day on wards, his (brother in-law) arrival to my house became regular. He said, he has filed a murder case against the money lender and will fight them tooth to tooth. ‘I have good contacts with the police and politicians, so sister-in-law don’t worry, victory would be ours’ was the words he always said to me.”
“He played with my child and gave me money for the daily and child’s need every time he came home.”
“One night, he came to my house at around 10 in night and said ‘to fight the case I need some money’. He started searching my house, but did not get even a single paisa. His eyes had tears. A feel that if money is not arranged we would lose the case, was in him. Like a sister I went near him to console.”
“But what happened next, I can’t explain. Shame engulfs me.”
“He did not come to my house for two days after the shameful night. A man of money lender came to my house on the third morning and said that I need not pay anything to his boss and ordered me to take the case back.
“Neither did I know how to react to him nor the person to contact next. That evening brother –in -law came home with a box of sweets, flowers and fruits. He explained me how they are going to win the court case and our lawyer had forced the money lender to pay compensation to me.
“No matter how much I tried to distance myself from him, so much near did he come. While his right hand forced my mouth shut… his other hand undressed me. My own dress became a tool for him to mute my cry. The wounds carved by his nails and tooth were so deep that even weaning my child was next to impossible.
“My in-laws took no action against him, and instead blamed me of making false accusation on ‘God’ like man. ‘You have an illicit relationship with someone and putting that blame on our son’ was how they outcaste me.”
“Even last night he came home… raped me… threatened to kill my daughter and put that blame on me if I made an issue.
“Blood came in my nipples while weaning my child. That’s when I decided that living such a life is a sin and burning myself is the only way of washing away my sins,” was how she ended the note.
I tried to avoid eye contacting with the police official; else he would notice the tears in my eyes.
“Apart from the FIR, no progress has been made. The case was shut saying it was suicide because of financial problem and she could not bear her husband’s death,” said the cop. Even the original copy of this suicide note is destroyed he added.
PS: 1.) The names of the characters have been intentionally hidden. We tend to read religion by the mere mention of name.
2.) Brother- in- law was just a stringer with a Kannada newspaper.
O Thou, Lord of Lords- Cupid
Sing to me all the "Romantic" poems,
Words describing- beauty, love and lust
Teach me those specific words Adam uttered
While proposing Eve. Did he go on his Knee?
Make me listen to what Romeo and Juliet
Carelessly whispered into each-other
Walk me trough the tombs at Taj
Narrate how Love do not die with death!
Salim- Anarkali... Laila- Majnu
Dushantha- Sakunthala...Heer- Ranjha...
Were not all of them 'injured' by your arrow?
Please... Please O lord
Make sure that
I DON'T DO THE SAME
BLOODY MISTAKE!!! Again.