Waking up to the shrieks of kids in the garden and colorful balloons flying by your window marked the beginning of a splendid evening. Time was about 4:30. I thought I would take a walk. I unpacked my bags, set things in place, took a hot shower, and wore an old jean and my favorite black (the clothing color of the generation) t-shirt. It wasn’t bitingly cold but I still took a muffler and the all-important camera.
I liked the distance between my cottage and the hotel reception located uphill. It was far enough for a good workout. And there was a narrow path that cut across the rows of cottages on either side thus making it a cozy walk every time. I went straight to the dining hall occupied by a couple of families and took a lone seat by the glass window. I ordered a cup of tea and a sandwich to a waiter whose radiant smile just lit me up instantly.
The view from the window urged me to go for that walk towards the lake right away. So, I gave it a thought. Instead of a walk, which might draw me into thinking about all those recent nightmares I had experienced, I could take a photowalk. A photowalk might just give me a tiny purpose for the evening. I might or might not enjoy the process since I had never been a curious photographer in my life. But it could take my mind off certain things for sure.
Once I finished the little snack, I set out of the hotel premises. The road leading from the hotel entrance stretches like an even slope down to the lakeside with occasional bends. It was unusually calm as all the tourists, who did all the walking in the hotel premises, zipped past only in cabs. Apart from women carrying a basket of fruits and green vegetables and a few natives living beside the lake area, there was no company.
As I walked down the slope, I noticed a few things with curiosity. I clicked an array of three paper plates that were disposed in order. I wondered whether someone could do it on purpose or it was purely coincidental. It is one of those clicks that could eternally embarrass the clicker since it never would be accepted as a souvenir from a trip. I mean, at first sight of such photos, a friend could simply ask why, for heaven’s sake, I would go all the way from Chennai to Ooty to take a photograph of a roadside waste when Chennai offered such opportunities aplenty. Well, I give it to them. But still, I thought it was interesting.
I loved that impregnated walk into the dark, taking its own pace. I saw an old man overtake me swiftly. He seemed to be an agile walker who never took his focus off. He might either have planned to pick me as a representative of the current generation, which is purely driven by sloth, and mock my laziness or he must have really been suffering from twisted bowel syndrome.
Sometimes, even a photowalk could be injurious to health. I found something strangely resembling my life. More like an icon of my misery! A stem of a felled tree completely covered in mud; lonely, yearning for attention. And there was an aura of desperation about it; desperate to cling onto something yet not know what it is. It scares me that a totally unrelated thing in an unrelated place could still carry a memory of you.
I learnt that a photowalk or not, a new-found purpose or not, mind sees things it wants to see. There is no getaway in the truest sense. Things do travel with you. Turning the camera off, I walked closer to the lake.