Beyond Strategic Lines of Restraint.

Of late, a thought has crossed my mind every time I have seen someone clicking pictures or getting clicked. The thought has been that the human eye, in its regular working condition, possesses, perhaps, the best lenses to click pictures, and the mind, is the best camcorder wherein one can store these high quality clicks. Why then do we need heavily pocket-pinching DSLRs?

Anyhow, not owning one of those exotic things myself, and generally being a nostalgic being, I have often found an inviting dwelling in the photographic memories of my mind…I am going to try and paint a particular memory here, on this post.

It was a soothing, cool October night. We were on the beach. Most of my family having been scared of water, beaches had not exactly been our first choice for vacationing, generally. Vacations with friends, on the other hand, without the supervision of family were still a luxury beyond my humble means as a young adult. Hence, beaches were still rather exciting and liberating for me.

There were fishermen’s boats right behind us, and the inviting, yet strangely intimidating, ocean in front of us. There was a calm, slightly chilly breeze riding on the white-rimmed black waves that came at us every now and then. We had bottles of Kingfishers’ clutched in our hands and (what he believed to be) good music playing from the portable Bluetooth speaker.

A wooden fence separated the open beach area from the compound of our guest-house, and on the other side of the fence was a lavishly stretched-out garden with unevenly mowed soft grass and some sand. The night was chilly, the breeze was cool, the grass, like a soft, cool mat on which one could lay down to look at the never-ending sky above. As unreal as it sounds, and now feels, the sky was littered with just enough stars. A glowing crescent Moon occupied a cozy corner in the border-less sky. One star, that shone brighter than the rest, and was nearer to the Moon than the others, reminded me of Rohini, the Moon God’s supposed favourite consort as per Hindu mythology.

My friend- safest to refer to him as that- had a strange compulsion to have things planned every time we came out. While everything else was exactly how he wanted it to be, and was indeed exceedingly pleasurable, the calmness and the exquisite beauty that were solely Mother Nature’s contributions to our evening, seemed to highlight the perfection which was that entire situation.

It was the single most beautiful evening of my life. My friend, in those days, used to dedicate a song to me, a line from which went: “All I want is for you to be happy.” Apart from Mother Nature’s obvious efforts, the fact that someone had meticulously worked towards making that evening and my happiness possible also added to the beauty, I think. Here was a first. Here I was, not chasing happiness. Blissful, indeed.

Sometimes you should disobey the orders of people who seem to know what’s best for you, and go with your gut. Sometimes. How to choose those times is entirely your call, though. I went with my crazy gut that evening, and this post should bear adequate testimony to the fact that I had a beautiful time. I would be lying if I said I was not plagued with uncertainty the entire evening, however. Beyond the uncertainty though, lay a strange sense of security, inspired, I think, by my friend’s innocence which appealed to my own conscience. The voice inside my head (as trained after past experiences) didn’t shout out mala fide’ to me, at any point, around him, as opposed to around 99 percent other male friends.

Coming from ideologically opposing gangs in college, we were used to maintaining strategic lines of restraint in terms of the things we could say to each other about our respective gangs. That evening, however, we lowered our respective ramparts. Whether it was the calm-imposing weather, scene and setting, or the trust-inducing mild high from the beer, or him lowering his guard, I won’t be able to say; but something within me melted when my friend extended to me an olive branch on behalf of his gang. Imagine if Pakistan admitted and actually apologized to India for its ceasefire violations?  I lowered my ramparts, anyhow.

Drinking beer close to midnight on a beach in the company of someone with whom you are bound to maintain no strategic lines of restraint. Maybe that is the dream.

If the theory about the conspiracy of the Universe to signal towards ideal situations is anything to go by, I feel now, in retrospect, that the Universe could not have signaled harder. It literally threw green lights at my face that evening. Did I shoot at the signal? That’s a post for another time.

P.S. The featured image added to the post shows a full Moon as opposed to a crescent one, and is not remotely close to depicting the beauty of that night. My words would fail too. It depicts the waves realistically, though.

P.P.S. The post image shows a disgusting-looking but seemingly chirpy chameleon which was found basking on one of the fishermen’s boats the next morning.



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