A warm gritty evening on an unusually cold day, where the fishermen rolled their boats into an eventful sea while the couples on the sidewalk sweated more from the heat than their intimacy; the sky was marooned with an appearing moon and the disappearing sun, peppered in bits and pieces by the ocean breeze which buffered in and out like the internet before 3G. It was an awkward time for a vacation but you got to take it when it’s up on offer, especially when you are a cop and holidays are hard to come by.
It had been a rough couple of weeks since the massacre in Maria’h and not a day had passed since then that I hadn’t woken up in sweats with pictures of blood brooding over from every inch of the subconscious frame. The shrieking children, the screaming survivors and the crying families of the deceased, the multiple bombings had left none untouched. I stood in midst of this chaos, unable to do anything when everything I valued was being burned to ground; ashes and only ashes was what I could see. While from the far corner to my right, I kept hearing a familiar cry, of a woman who I was once in love with. I could see her face, it appeared visibly shaken as she carried a dying person on her lap, may be waiting to hear his final words, maybe waiting for him to peacefully depart as there was nothing left to say then. I ran towards her with all my might but with every step I took, the distance between us only grew but somehow I was able to make it. Yet the moment I touched her on her shoulder, I woke up all of a sudden in angst. I woke up, as I saw myself there on her lap, with tears running along my cheeks.
Three days had passed, since we had arrived in Goa but it was only today that we finally decided to visit the beach. The crowd somehow made me anxious, more or less paranoid, of another possible strike. A small cracker in the neighborhood sent shivers down my spine, the hustling and screaming tourists on the beach were obviously a big no-no for me. But I finally budged and submitted to my two beautiful kids and my loving wife of ten years, Shalini. They took me to a relatively less populated beach of the Goan county where I comforted myself on the recliner, watching my wife and kids playing from a distance. There was a sense of calmness that presided; it gripped me off guard and left me to savor the moment without the paranoia that I was succumbing into, for the very first time since the days of bombing. In their noise, I somehow found my silence all over again, and for a moment at least I wasn’t burdened by my past. It felt good, finally.