I am a professional photographer.
Strange things are happening around me! I cannot explain it yet.
I think it all started after that particular client meeting on August 5th. The meeting was a disaster!
We met at CCD. The old man wanted a photographer for his daughter’s wedding and had asked for my portfolio.
I would have been fine if he had simply rejected me. He rubbed it in by laughing at my photos. “Enappa idhu? Ondu photo’nu nettagae illaa!”, he pushed the sample album aside with a smirk on his face. It was the most humiliating moment in my career! He didn’t even pay the coffee bill, I had to.
What a jerk!
As he got into his car, I took my camera out. For some reason, I wanted to take his picture.
I pressed the shutter button. It didn’t work. Damn!
The shutter button had gotten jammed. I took it to the service centre. The technician took it in. He came back after 10 minutes and said he didn’t find anything wrong with the camera. The shutter button worked just fine.
“Really?”, I asked.
“We checked it thoroughly, it’s pretty fine”, he said. He took a couple of shots. It worked!
Scratching my head, I paid the minimum inspection charge and headed home.
I drove back home on the outer ring road. At Silk board junction, the signal turned red just when I was about to cross. Damn! The red digital countdown on the signal started flashing. 60.. 59.. 58. Annoyed by my 2-3 seconds delay, I switched off the engine.
It was funny. A busy city like Bangalore could come to a complete halt at a mere signal. I couldn’t help but smile at thought. As I scanned the traffic out of restlessness, I saw an old man with a thick beard occupying a window seat in a bus nearby. He seemed lost in thought. I thought it would make a good picture and took my camera out.
I tried to click. The shutter was jammed.
I tried again. No use. It was stuck.
The old man looked at me. It appeared as if he was smiling at my inability to click.
No, not just him. Everyone appeared to be smiling at me. The driver in the next car, the beggar, the toy hawker,… everyone had a smirky smile on them.
33.. 32.. 31. The signal counter flashed.
Soon, the smiles turned into laughter. Everyone began laughing at me. It was embarrassing to be the focal point of all those eyes. It felt like an actor on stage who had forgotten his lines – in front of an unforgiving crowd that made no attempts to hide its jibes.
The beggar started pounding his fist on the car and laughing loud. The driver in the next car was pointing his hand at me and rolling in laughter. It was terrifying.
I looked at the signal counter that seemed frozen in time. 12………………. 11……………………. 10………………………….
I wanted to run away! I was desperate for the signal to turn green. I could not bear their laughter anymore. Not even for a mere second!
In a flash, I turned the engine on and had my foot on the accelerator and sped away like a mad man fleeing an accident scene.
Everything went black.
The next thing I recall is finding myself in a hospital bed, draped in bandage. The nurse quietly asked me not to strain myself. In confusion, I nodded my head in acceptance.
I asked her the date.
August 11, 2015.
What? I couldn’t believe it. I had been in hospital for 6 days now.
“Your friends were here 2 hours ago. They’ve left you a card and a package.”, she said.
I asked her to open the card and hand it over to me.
“Get well soon! We cannot replace your car, but we replaced your camera. Happy clicking!”, the card read.
I looked at the package. She opened it for me. A brand new camera mounted with my favourite 35mm equivalent lens.
Thrilled to see a new camera, I carefully took it in my hand. And clicked.
The shutter was jammed!!