PICTURE COURTESY : Shuvojit Moulik
[ N.B. This story has been inspired by this particular picture.]
She stooped down and grabbed black railing, her eyes falling on the water as the reflection of the beautiful city of Copenhagen seemed to jibe at her own affliction. She gasped for breath, cursing herself for being so adamant. Rusha envisaged an ambulance, and doctors in their masked countenances; the smell of fluids stored within the injections shrieked her. Left alone in this foreign land, the zigzag pattern of the apparently upside-down buildings seemed to mock at her own heart beat, still beating, and her world, wrecked by disease which fed upon her putrid body.
“This is not India”, she murmured to herself. “Any abnormal sign would take me to the hospital once again.” She gasped for breath, her eyes, fixed at the water, her mind, abstracted in the reflection of the city. She tried to pinion her tears but never in her life could she control them. The sutures of her lower abdomen were still alive, strong and sturdy and even after a week of her gallbladder operation, they would not want to leave. The peace of the buildings seemed to agitate her; the breeze whiffed past the string of events that have been happening in her life right after she came to this foreign land to do her PhD. The emergency gallbladder operation, the unavailability of her parents and above all, her detest for doctors, medicines and injections, let alone operations choked her life. She watched the reflections of the buildings, big and small.
Her eyes were fixed at the reflection. For some reason, she ignored the call of the reality as the wave of upside-down buildings flashed before her eyes. One… two… three…four…five… yes… there were five of them, far away, yet so close. A dome shaped building stood like a dwarf among the cylindrical ones. They were all of dark colours, of deep red, brown and black. Dark, for the first time, seemed so beautiful. Only their quadrilateral roof tops were white. These whites were gleaming in beauty as the rest of the dark structures winked at elegance. Never in her life, Rusha could come to believe that tiny pieces of lighter shades render beatitude to an elegant darkness. The rays of the sun played with the roof-tops, quite well aware of the approaching grey clouds. It had rained that day in the morning and chances of rain were there in the evening too. But the buildings and the sunlight were imperturbable; it occurred to her that they rarely cared. For moments, Rusha forgot the pain in her stomach or her left hand, swollen red as channels were made to supply medicines to her body. Had it been India, she would have remonstrated the doctors and nurses and would do anything to prevent them from injecting her, she would have screamed and cried but here in this foreign land, she knew no matter what happened, she could not embarrass her friends by her fatuous, juvenile behaviour; they have been by her side during this exigency, specially Adarshyo, who was the one who had taken her out after a week of bed-rest. Oh!! How she many times she railed about lying on bed all day, being allowed to do nothing, except gulping down the antibiotics and pain-killers which could do nothing but to enervate her.
Suddenly she heard a jangle behind her. She tried to look around but felt a warm hand grabbing her by the shoulders.
“Careful”, said Adarshyo, grasping her hand.
“Don’t worry”, he explained.”I will not admit you to the hospital for the breathing trouble. Doctor said you are weak. If you strain yourself, you will likely to have more in future. Be careful.”
Rusha nodded her head, still looking at the upside-down buildings.
“It’s beautiful.” Adarshyo beamed.
“Perhaps”, Rusha affirmed. “They look funny and weird”. She stopped for some breath.
“That dwarf building reminds me of Shrek, if you consider all the buildings as living beings.”
“Seriously!!” Rusha was amused. “I never knew that this reflection would bring out so many things, I would never really think of.”
“You never knew you could survive an operation like a very matured lady, did you? ” the warmth of Adarshyo’s voice allayed the pain Rusha bore.
“You were there. So were …”
“No, Rusha, you yourself went through everything. Even the doctors and nurses said they have not seen any strong woman like you. You tolerated everything”.
“I don’t know”, Rusha replied timidly. She could feel Adarshyo’s shadow behind her and in the world of upside-down buildings, she sensed a certain strength.
“Even if the world turns upside – down, I want to be with you Rusha”, Adarshyo whispered in her ears, gently sliding his arms around her waist.
“A messed up world is beautiful. Something good or the other takes birth from it”, Rusha kissed his cheeks. “Beauty in my upside-down world.”
“Yes, for the Shrek- building seems to stand out among the tall supermodels. Like we did. I would not have realized I love you had you not been through the operation. It was the exigency that made me realize how much you matter to me”.
“I would not have found love either. It’s not about my growing dependency but rather your companionship through the zigzag ways, through the upside-down world.”
“Through the beautiful world, love. Upside-down is just a mere perception”. The air smelled of their blooming love, the breeze carried an emblem of their kiss.
Words about Shuvojit Moulik, the photographer :
Shuvojit Moulik is a visiting researcher at Karolinska Instituet, Stockholm, Sweden and founder of the NGO, Civilian Welfare Foundation. He loves to click pictures when he makes time out of his busy schedule An excellent cook, he loves to travel as well. You can reach him at : https://www.facebook.com/shuvojitmoulik or tweet him @shuvojitmoulik.