Well, this could be really interesting. Last night, we walked with three childhood friends, a photographer, a writer and a journalist.
The last time the three had met they were in school finals. The journalist used to sit in the front bench, pretending to be studious. The writer, in his very own imaginary world, right behind, will be watching the world through that green window. The photographer, in the third row, was the innocent fellow, who liked to be himself.
Years have passed. None of them ever thought they would travel this far in life. How far is difficult to say. For, we are not talking about the distance between the city and their hometowns nestled in one of the fertile valleys in the tamil country. It was truly a countryside. A hundred kilometre stretch of green carpet, gurgling small streams criss-crossing the fields, a string of small town gods along the narrow reddish roadsides, a radiant sky littered with purified clouds.
Nature, in its pristine beauty and godly glory. The abode of simple souls. They too were simpletons in childhood. The world was very limited then. Like anywhere, they were taught to dream of becoming a doctor, engineer or an agricultural scientist. Professionals, in short.
The journalist had no great ambitions, we know. The writer wanted to be a writer. We had no clue as to what the photgrapher wanted to be. Last night, we were there, with them together. They were a bit surprised at what they were. All three had come to occupy a respectful position in the society and a bit known, and even prominent (the writer and lensman) in a wide circle.
Over to the party. The journalist quit drinking. He still likes liquor and smoke. His system rejects though. The other two friends had a hearty drink after a long time. They had only few minutes in between all the introductions and hand-shakes to be friends again for a few moments. In childhood dreams, we can see that journalist, with his vacant eyes, wanted to be with women, all the time. If we read the semi-autobiographical stories of the writer, then we will know he was waiting to fall in love with any girl, anytime. The lensman never said or shared such things in life then.
In the party we spot the photographer's father whom we recall from childhood. We overhear the friends tell him that his son has succeeded in life. He feels happy and extremely satisfied. Later over a drink, we listen to the photographer whishpering to his friends. ``I owe most of what I am today to my wife.'' That is nice of him. Even before meeting his wife, he was successful in modelling, his chosen profession, definitely not a male domain in this conservative city. At the party, we could see his wife. Full of life and energy, dancing to any numbers. We could not speak anything to her as she was busy all evening. We could sense her in him. She looked like life's gift to him.
Well after midnight, the journalist went to drop the writer at his home. As he has never been to his friend's home, he walked up with him in one of the first apartment to be built in the city. We may not be able to comprehend how the writer creates characters staying in one n'th floor of a bare building, seemingly without any life.
``My wife is not at home. So it will look like a bachelor's,'' the writer said, taking his friend in. As we enter, we, walking with the friend, can't miss the framed photograph. The writer, looking calm and composed, and his wife, revealing her warm heart in a rare smile, stare at us.
Opening one of the doors, the writer shows the sprawling city's skyline. ``You jump from here. I promise you heaven,'' he tells his old friend in the balcony. Within the walls, the writer shows us the world he lives in. The world of words. We catch a glimpse of J Krishnamurthi's translation in Tamil. Truth is a pathless land, reads the chapter's title.
Knowing not that we, with his friend, already have seen his wife, he gives his friend the marriage album. The city's whos who were there. They will be there for him. His words have the power to take them to millions of homes in the tamil country. In his heart, there is only one.
``I fell in love with so many girls. She was the only one who fell in love with me. My lovable girl.'' The writer went on to tell us the wonder his wife is. Brilliant, intelligent, caring. Simply, out of the world. We will have to agree to him. Seeing her in photograph enough could be a testimony to all that the writer said. To know her in person, we, like his friend, will have to wait till September when she will return home from United States.
``She is life's gift to me,'' he confides. Later, we hear the writer telling his old pal how to reach out to the climb the tallest mountains and reach out to the peak or how to look beyond the horizons and travel that far, letting the world know that we were masters in our profession and to be helpful to those in need.
At the end of it all, the writer said, the friends should go back to our valley of streams and sit with a meditative mind to contemplate the cosmos and sleep staring at all those stars littered along a clean, deep blue sky, resting in the shades of eternity, where words will be the winds and rhymes, the rivers.
By now, the journalist was thinking about his wife. After a bear hug, the journalist drives home in his half-broken bike as it drizzles. At home, we see the journalist's wife waiting for him well after midnight for her half-stupid husband had failed to inform her of his late coming. Totally disorganised, this fellow has this habit of coming home after midnight regularly.
Neverthless, the wife waits for him. We can't ask her to sleep and not to mind his stupid being. She will not listen. She will be there waiting to prepare food for him. We premise that it is not about the food. It is all about her feelings for him.
The journalist has never confided before that his wife is his life's precious gift. Well, he has!