"The best way to know love is to lose it."--Anu
Had a writer been watching us, he would have written: a man and woman were walking on the beach, may be a husband and wife or may be lovers; they hardly seemed friends since their hands were intertwined in such a fashion that could drive out any possible suggestion about their relationship except that they were in love. The writer was with me; my writer, my love, part of my body and soul, my husband. Near me, Manu was a warm presence, but I knew he was feeling confused, may be a little out of place. The previous night, he had told me that he was in a block and that he felt absolutely cut off from his personal fairy land.
2011 was a special day in our lives: the third anniversary of our marriage. I don’t know who decided on our visit to Muzhappilangad Beach
. Someone; may be our love; the love that we believed divine, close to God.
It takes just a glance for expectations, sometimes, to shatter. But it did not take even that on Muzhappilangad Beach
. It just took a smell. We walked in ward on the beach and the air smelled terrible of the human excreta. We walked away from the stinking shore forward. And there we noticed some construction works in progress among the Weeping Willow canopy. There were five to six cottage-structures raised over a platform constructed approximately ten feet above the sea level. We climbed the stairs and I was taken into my own world of imagination and creativity. I always felt, I had acquired the faculty of imagination from my writer husband. The whole place seemed perfect for a holiday spot in the possible future in the screen of my mind: a futurological attempt. But it was also hard for me not to think of the trees slaughtered down, the sand stretch tampered with, and the environment all left to stand in stark nudity with its green tree covers stripped; a bad poem written on sand. We had heard of the drive-in beach and were excited on the prospect of walking together hand-in-hand; the waves, the sand, the wind. But now, the implacable decision made by Mr. Love to take us to the beach seemed stupid.
“What about your responsibility as a writer? Don’t you feel like reacting?” I shot two questions to Manu. He was silent. My intention was not an answer to these questions, but to listen to his voice. A part in my always felt I could not survive without his gentle voice humming near to my ears. Every word spoken by him is a promise; a promise that carries pain and pleasure at a time.
I sat there on the floor on top of the platform. It was paved with interlocks. But Manu did not. I looked around and saw him wandering, looking down, slowly, as if a warrior searching for a lost weapon. After a moment or two I was completely lost in the beauty of that paradise turned Muzhappilangad beach. The sea was gracefully spread, vast with fleeting waves curving in the blowing wind. I wondered how the people of this place could damage this beach so awkwardly. It was beautiful.
I can’t remember now, what reminded me of Manu, then. It was a sudden realization: he was nowhere in sight. Many had disappeared. Even though I knew that would not happen, I felt bad. I stood up and started pacing around. A worker was polishing the bricks near to a building. I asked him had he seen Manu. He seemed surprised, may be due to the absurdity in a strange woman asking about some ‘Manu’, who was another stranger to a stranger. Who was Manu for him?
“I mean the man who was with me, my husband.” I clarified, with a sudden shock remembering what Manu had told me prior to the visit about the morality keepers of the place. They were demons for whom nothing matters, no man-woman-sympathizing-with-each-other, Manu had told me. A man and woman coming together to this beach would be in danger, as it hinted sexual mingling, unless they were husband and wife, and not so young. Otherwise there was always the chance of being accused of adultery and put on trial legally.
I knew I was safe with Manu being my promise and my love. But where was he now?
While I was turning away from the workman my eyes caught the writer. I found something else too, with him: a smile. Smile had deserted him many days past, and he had been living through a delirious silence, his writer’s block. But now, he was smiling, and that meant a lot. He came running towards me and caught my right arm.
“There is something I want to show you, dear.” He said. He pulled me towards him. The workman seemed surprised. Then I noticed his expression changing. It changed into a vague smile. I couldn’t judge its meaning. Was that dangerous? A morality demon?
Where was my writer taking me to? My writer, my love, part of my body and soul, my husband. I was ready to follow him wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted. We were almost in a run. Then he stopped and suddenly raised his left hand, pointing something: a broken piece of mirror that reflected the blue sky and invited the sea gulls to its crystalline surface to gift them with a self reflection so rare in the turmoil with the life in the sea. While I looked at it, the piece of mirror transformed itself into a small lake, which lies a little away from the sea.
“I feel inspired.” Manu whispered into my ears, and I felt my soul responding to his voice with a slight murmur, echoing the wind. Just like to the seagulls, the lake seemed to offer him something inexplicable, completely unique, out of the understanding of an idiot like me. The writer was smiling. I smiled at him, too. Actually, we both smiled at our love. Mr. Love, thank you so much for giving us that day. I doubted you, still you were right. I remember that day I felt like dancing with the stars though they were nowhere to be seen with the bluish curtain that covered the sky.
The Days that are No More--5