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A Gentleman on Marina Beach

A Gentleman on Marina Beach

Sentinel Digital Desk

Dr Dhrubajyoti Bora

Kabita and I were just strolling along the shore-line of sandy Marina beach. There was still sometime for the evening sun to dip below the horizon. People of different castes and religion, of different places were milling on the shore of Bay of Bengal to enjoy the exquisite sight of the vast expanse of wavy blue sea. A few fishermen boats were seen like dots, bouncing up and down over the waves of the sea, in the distance. The tourists, as well as the local vendors turned the whole place into an exotic place of merriment. Today was our third day in Chennai, and we had spent two evenings already, amidst this vibrant lively atmosphere; so that we could return to our homeland with some sweet memories.

Kabita was savouring a black salt sprinkled roasted corncob, and I, while walking beside her, stealthily glanced at her beautiful face being brightened up by the evening sun rays. Bouts of sea breezes were constantly blowing. From time to time, Kabita had to finger back her tousled hair dangling over her forehead.

After sometime, we decided to sit on the beach along the shore-line and saw some excited people playing with the lapping waves. Some people, while seated like us, were staring at the distance, absorbed in their own thoughts. We too, were enjoying the sea without any conversation between us for a while, and then, one gentleman approached me and said, "Sir, can you do me a favour?"

"Oh sure, but what should I do?"

He held out his smart-phone to me and requested, "Would you please take some snaps for me?"

"No problem, sure," I said and got up. I looked back to Kabita, her face had already turned gloomy, clearly indicating that she was annoyed at my decision, because till then, I hadn't taken even a single snap for her. But to disappoint this gentleman would be injustice. So, without looking back, I almost followed the man near to the water.

He said, "Please stop there!"

Then he gestured as if his one hand was touching an approaching wave, while his other hand being held out, filling his erstwhile serious face with a mouthful of glittering smile.

Click! .... I took one snap. Then he stood erect, folded his arm over his chest, again a smile rippled over his face. I took another snap - click! For a moment, I felt like a professional photographer.

Then he turned back to me, outstretched his right arm to the horizon, turned his face sideways with a smile.... click! I had to take three to four snaps of the gentleman. Having satisfied, he walked up to me. I returned him his smartphone. He thanked me wholeheartedly.

"Perhaps you'll send these photos to your girlfriend!" Till then, I didn't know that Kabita had already stood beside me. Her voice carried a clear sense of irritation, and I sensed some sort of jealousy in her words. I hinted her to stop, but she frowned in return.

"Ha!" The man suddenly got confused at her words.

He first carefully looked at the snaps that I had taken, then pocketing his phone, said, "Actually I'll send these to my ailing mother." I saw his face momentarily overshadowed by a pall of sadness.

But a woman's heart is sensitive too. Kabita must have understood something, so she immediately corrected herself, "No, I mean, you posed so nicely, so I thought these snaps must be for someone special."

Now the gentleman assumed a firm look and said softly, "My mom is bed ridden. Every day, I have to send her my photos so as to prove that I'm alive."

"Oh!" I exclaimed in sympathy.

"No, it is ok. One of my nieces is with her; she is my mom's caretaker. I had to choose this place because of my job; it pays me well, so that I can spend generously for her medical expenses."

The gentleman fell silent for a few seconds, then continued, "It has been almost 15 years since my brother died in an accident. The death of my brother made her a victim of post traumatic stress disorder. Now, my mom is quite afraid of losing her remaining son. Because of age, she has lost her hearing. So, she becomes assured only when she does see my face, that too a smiling face!"

Suddenly he said sensibly, "But thanks. Now it is not the right time to destroy your mood talking about all these sentimental issues. Anyways, both of you are looking nice, a perfect couple."

I corrected him, "No, we are just friends."

"Ha!" The gentleman's face widened, quite confused.

"Yes, we are on an excursion. She is my best friend. She doesn't love me."

"Ha ha..... it's okay, I understand. Anyways, enjoy and return home with some sweet memories to cherish later."

Having said that, the gentleman walked away and disappeared in the crowd, and here, I had to gather some courage to face Kabita's face!

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