Thank you maa for bringing me to this world. This book is a small gift from me to you.
After a hectic week at the workplace and working for back-to-back two Sundays, Bob was dying to find solace. The two urgent presentations of his agency took away all the energy from him. He knew that being promoted to the post of Creative Group Head meant taking lots of responsibilities, but barely did he knew that sometimes it demanded too much from him. All he wanted now was a break. A break from the ususal briefs, deadlines and presentations. A ‘break,’ for Bob didn’t meant partying with friends or going for a vacation, he wanted to stay away from the noise and spent sometime with himself, even if it meant going for a walk in the woods. A calm place, where he could all be with himself, listen to the bird’s chirping, feel the mild breeze blowing across his face and the early morning sun, kissing his body.
It was the start of another week. Monday was here and Bob didn’t want to make it mundane. He pressed the ‘snooze’ button of his phone, as the shriek went mad waking him up at 6 a.m. with the ‘Go to Gym’ notification flashing on his phone. Three hours later, the phone beeped again. Bob removed the quilt from his head; with half- closed eyes, checked the name and tapped the ‘Ignore’ button; this time it was a call from one his office colleagues. He woke up after half-an-hour, checked his mail and then pressed the ‘compose’ button. Addressing the Branch Head and keeping the hr in Cc, he typed…
Not doing well since yesterday night. Need a break. Will not be in office for three days.
Within a minute, came a prompt reply.
Ok cool! take your time dude let’s meet next week.
Bob didn’t even bother to check the reply. He wore his hoody, tied his sneakers and went for a stroll at the nearby Jahapanah Park. Jahapanah was the ultimate getaway for Bob, whenever he was stressed. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, he religiously visited the Park. Due to stringent office hours, he barely got the time to walk through this‘dense forest park.’ However, there was one end of the park which led towards a small village. Everyday, Bob used to slow down his walking pace here as he used to walk through a small bridge that overlooked a stone road below.
It was the appearance of the road which fascinated him the most. Being an ardent nature lover, he always wanted to explore this part of the park. A shallow passage flanked by black and white coloured marbles covered with leaves that led to a downtrodden path and gets blurred with couple of oak trees.”What a dreamy place,” Bob uttered everytime he came across that road.
“Let’s go there!,” Bob murmured to himself as he stepped inside Jahapanah Park. Since it was early March, there was barely any mist which could play hide-and-seek with him. That day, Bob took a detour and went to the place, which fascinated him the most. Walking through the dense orchid trees, he finally came across that road. “Wow! Its simply majestic,” uttered Bob. He began walking on the road which was half covered with mud and half with grass. He took out his sneakers and decided to walk bare foot as he wanted to feel the touch of grass in his feet. He walked for almost a kilometer and decided to stop until he came across to something really weired.
On one side of the road, lied a valise. It was crumbled like a waste paper as if somebody had thrown it in a dustbin. A half black strap with the words ‘Nikon’ covered partially with mud could be seen peeping out of it. Bob wondered why the hell on earth would someone throw away a DSLR camera? Did some journalist threw it away just because he had some sensitive pictures about a well-known minister taking bribe? Or did a guy had a heated argument with his girlfriend and threw it away in despair as he was tagged as a ‘bad photographer’ by the girlfriend for failing to take the ‘perfect’ picture of hers?
“But why am I thinking like a stupid? Instead of inspecting it?” Bob told himself. He walked gingerly as he began to move towards the bag. Once confident, he pulled out the strap and discovered a DSLRd3200. It was dilapidated, half covered with mud, making only a partial portion visible.
Bob took a branch that was lying nearby and began to remove the mud which was hardened like a rock. “Where’s the lens man?,” Bob wandered as he continued clearing the mud which got stick on it.
He pepped through the hole where the lens was supposed to be but ended up greeting with a caterpillar that made a quick exit making his hand as the pathway to the outer world. Perhaps, it realised that the prolonged stillness in its temporary dwelling was about to be taken away soon and hence it’s better to make an exit. “Ehh,” Bob threw his hands in air in an effort to move away the insect. He now turned the other side of the camera and discovered that every single thing about the camera starting from the power to the aperture, mode dial and flash mode button was dysfunctional.
Pheww…!!! Bob thought, “what’s the purpose of taking such a camera that won’t be of any use to me?” He decided to abandon it and keep it back inside the valise. As he was keeping it back at it’s place, the eyepiece of the camera, suddenly caught his glimpse. Unlike most of the cameras, the eye-piece was completely different in shape. It was like a hexagon with six sharp sides. Bob’s eye widened as he came across that peculiar eyepiece. In his entire life, he had never seen such a camera. With raised eyebrows and great curiosity he took his right eye near to the eyepiece and began to scan inside.
RELIVE YOUR PAST
Those were the three words Bob could read as he began to scan through the eyepiece. He immediately removed his eye from the eyepiece and as if he was in a shocking state of mind, he said to himself
“What did I just see?”
He began to move the camera up and down, shaking it vehemently.
“Is that something which is supposed to be inside a camera?,” wondered his mind again.Beads of sweat began to appear on Bob’s forehead. Now,this was something, he wasn’t ready for. What became an object of curiosity was now spilling out signs of suspicion and adventure at the same time.
He again placed his right eye on the eyepiece and again those three words appeared.
This time, he wasn’t scared, rather was curious to know about this onbnoxious situation and therefore wanted to find out where does this all lead to. He began to see through the eyepiece, but if he wants to know his past, how will he proceed further? He was rather irritated with the situation. “Why is this thing bothering me so much?,” thought Bob. It gives me something and then leaves me in the middle of nowhere. He began pressing and pushing all the buttons of the DSLR over and over again with the hope that aleast one of them would give some clue. After trying for a good half an hour, he was left with nothing but only despair. He thought as if he was caught in a vicious circle of confusion and hallucination. Infact, twice he pinched himself on his hand only to be sure that he wasn’t day dreaming, but the two red marks on his left hand reconfirmed that he wasn’t.
He again moved the camera up and down for one last time. With a faint hope he looked through the eye piece, but this time it worked.
“Ahaa!!,” Bob smiled as he looked through the eyepiece and read the words…
IMAGINE AND WATCH
He immediately removed the camera and looked around. There was absolute silence everywhere, the sun was just above his head and a mild cool breeze was constantly blowing which moved his long tresses. Bob took the camera on his hand, moved to a nearby Banyan tree and sat beneath it. The sun was now peeping through the leaves of the banyan tree and Bob could see his silhoutee. He kept the camera aside and then closed his eyes. He began to imagine one incidence or moment of his life that he always wanted to relive. Just like the slides he used to make for his clients at the presentation, one by one, each important moments of his life which he missed the most and wanted to revisit began apearring one after the other.
Many memories came and went by. It seemed as if the F5 button had been pressed for the presentation to continue. But, there was one memory, which opened Bob’s eyes wide, waking him up from the short ‘walk down memory lane’ slumber. He picked up the DSLR, again shook it up and down. He kept it over a stone tablet and began to watch through it.
Now, he started looking through the lens and imagining.
He was transported to his house at Kolkata where he could see his mother,Bianca who was battling with cancer lying on the bed. She was gazing endlessly at the ceiling fan. The year was 22nd January, 2002.
Being away from his mother all the time, Bob always had this innate desire to spend time with his mother, but work never allowed him to stay more than five or six days. Even when she was breathing her last, he couldn’t spent time with his mother. He arrived directly at the creamation. Infact, Bob always repented for never spending the last few days with her when she finally passed away in 2004. Now that there is a chance, he didn’t wanted to miss it.
Bianca made a gesture with her hand asking the governess for a glass of water. The pressure cooker whistled making a shhhhh noise. Seema took the stainless steel glass in her hand and walked towards the kitchen. Bianca tried to raise her head, but was unable to wake up as there was no human support.
“Here, give me your hand mom,” uttered Bob.
Alas! there was no reaction. Bob pushed himself again but he felt trapped. It had been three minutes since Semma went to bring water.
This time Bob yelled, “Seema! Bring the water, quick!” Bianca pushed the other end of her bed with her right leg trying to get up, but everything would go in vain. With her left hand, she then reached out for the wooden table. Trying to use it as a support, she tried to get up.
Bob started panicking, “Wait mom….dont’t……” before Bob could complete his sentence, there was a rattling sound of medicine bottles breaking into pieces on the floor. They laid all over the marble floor with broken glasses splittered everywhere. Bianca’s head was bleeding profoundly. She fell on the floor losing her firm grip over the table.
“Nooooooooo….Mom…………!!!!,”Bob started screaming.
Seema came rushing in as she heard the noise. She reached out for a piece of cotton to stop the blood from oozing out of Bianca’s head. Bob was desperate to help his mom but felt that something was stopping him. It seemed as if he was just standing at one corner and watching the whole incident like a senseless audience. In an effort to reach out to his mom, he lent out his hands, but they got stuck on a circular thing and would not let him proceed further. He began to shake it applying his full force and when he pushed it further,it slipped away from his hand, went up in air and fell on a rock.
“Oh shit!” Bob just couldn’t believe himself. He cusped both his hands and used them as a shelter to hide his face. As he was weeping, he couldn’t believe that he was confused between the life and the lifeless.
The camera helped him to relive his past, but was also lifeless at the same time. Emotions meant nothing to it.
Bob looked at the camera. It seemed as if someone had thrown it away in despair. Now, he got his answer why the camera was without lens.