The Photograph | Aswin Melepatt

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There lived a man, who doesn’t like being photographed, who dodged and avoided being filmed. To forbid the whole world to remember him, he evaded every chance, every camera, lens, or even the eyes of his loved ones. Never he visited lands, never met people twice who know his name but constantly tried in vain to erase the idea of him being alive. For he thinks, that if he isn’t alive ideally, he isn’t ever going to die. When the world saved their beautiful photographs framing, photo composing their immortality, to be remembered and loved for generations and generations, for whom they are and what they represent, to leave a mark on this planet, our hero didn’t exactly care what they were thinking. Tired of people’s theatre, he burnt all his bridges of bondings.

Our man decided something that you and I shudder to attempt. To be honest, even if others plead with him not to wake up, but sleep on weekends. He affirmed ‘Let them snap if they want. I’ll mind my own business. Maybe they don’t know, I might be a chosen boy.’ So just like that, he never cared for a photograph of him ever later. Not even when he felt extremely happy and when he wanted the world to see how much he was satisfied with life. Evolved to be a rebel, he continued living his youth. Stopped caring about the way he looked. Ceased believing in the photographs, even when people died for one. He believed in verses and wrote love letters to the women he loved. And in words and spaces between the sentences, he lived. That made him reach places he had never been to. Back and forth, fantasies, or reality, he dwelled there by following this protocol.

And years sprouted and fell. He still didn’t have any pictures taken. While the world cared more to save their treasures, imageries where they showed the world, how much they’re happy and thirsty for sex, he found it all null. Nobody tried to understand him nor did they care for him. When everyone is grouped to take a

picture, he bends over backward to blur out himself, so as not to get captured, leaving no traces for them to judge. He deleted his photographs from the web, which ensembled his fruitful youth. Why did he stop caring? The whole world wondered. He lost interest in a mere life but he strived for something beyond the 2-d or 3-d spaces in which he has been. He surpassed his whole adult life not taking a tiny blink. Is it just a matter of degrees of freedom?

Now, the oldness clenched him closer. Without denying it, he gracefully embraced. Ten thousand and seventy-seven gammas aroused emitting from him burnt every eye. The town chief and the old king heard about this infamous man. The king announced bounties for capturing the shine of this graceful man who ever lived. Many cameras were positioned at different angles like sniper guns, to kill his grace by their mere lens. They failed to capture when the film got unfocused every time. They couldn’t understand that he was a cursed man. Whenever the camera eyes looked at him, he cringes at them so badly, that tears drop out from them and their necks get choked. They tried everything to capture his photograph. Alas! They weren’t aware of the curse for they lived in a rational world where curses are fictionalized.

He demanded one day in the morning that, despite his age, he will appear for them when it was time for the world to see him although photographic snipers should be resigned. The king accepted his behest and summoned him to his palace to talk with this man. He walked through the streets with the most gracefulness that the king ever saw in his lifetime. The king adored him with utmost worship.

“Look beyond your damn photograph”, advised the man.

“What do you mean, ten thousand and seventy-seven gamma man ?”

“Delete your worthless pictures, break your unclear mirrors, donate your filthy throne and shave your balding head. And, ask yourself for once and real ‘who am I ?’ ”, and

he left the room quickly without continuing further. The old king stood there bamboozled.

And many days later, a foul stench aroused, spreading through the whole city. When the people found its origin, it had been a week already. With the body resting on a sofa, flesh eaten by ants, bones revealed, the gamma man lay peacefully dead near his written love letters, with his half skull revealed. He deceased in his room alone. Finally, the photographic snipers captured his picture. The town forever remembered his photograph phrasing “The man who never surrendered to a photograph. However, death defeated him.” The cameras guffawed hysterically from the background, while the old king stood beside with a shaved head.

Aswin Melepatt is an aspiring Indian English writer from Kerala, India. He is a data engineer by profession and loves to travel, read, meditate and have a warm tea.

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