This is for the Picture Prompt competition. The story is about Ajith, a boy of 21 working in a NGO. He along with his friends take a visit to the exotic islands near Andaman for a capturing the beauty of nature. But, it is they who are captured.


2. I sight the island

The tires screeched to a halt as the breaks were applied.

“Who else’s on board”, I asked confused.

Raj turned around and said, “A friend of mine, a writer you know, has been having trouble writing lately. So, you know a whiff of fresh air won’t hurt him much”,

“What troubles could one have with writing”, I asked.

“Something he calls the writer’s block, kind of a creative rut”,

“But, we haven’t booked flight tickets for him”,

“I have”, Raj, said, a naughty grin stretched across his face.

“Oh’, I said, my query quelled.

Raj honked the horn repeatedly and after five or six sound productions Raj’s friend arrived. He was a bit overweight, with the etchings of knowledge painting his temple. Question as to his age raised in me but I suppressed them and noticed a suitcase coupled with a big bag that seemed to be pierced at some points by a sharp nail. Suddenly, a realization hit me, and an arced smile played my face.

“So, this is what you meant, when you said that the entrenching tools for the tent will come by their own”, I asked him.

“Ha-ha, yes”, he replied.

The writer occupied the front seat and the friends exchanged warm smiles. Raj turned around and took on the job of educating his friend of his co-travelers.

“This is Jagadeesh”, he said starting from right first. Jagadeesh was a tall and leanly structured man of twenties who regarded me highly. A chance meeting at the College Campus had paved way for his joining our incentive. He had a beard that flowed up to his chest. A well-demarcated eyebrow adorned his face and his eyes were a dark brown.

“Hey”, he replied.

“This is Sasa… oh sorry Sasha”, Raj said repairing the mistake in pronunciation with a chuckle. Sasha was an attractive woman in her twenties. Her alleged relationship with Raj had evaporated when Raj slapped her when she proposed him. They had done amends to their broken friendship, but still a level of residual grudge remained in her.

She too pushed the conversation with a greeting.

“This is Ajith, my best friend”, he said at last pointing at me.

“Hey, he is lying I don’t even know where he from”, I said. Looking at Raj as if accusing him.

For a split second, the contours of Raj’s face changed, and a dangerous flare alit his eyes. However, he managed to pull himself together.

“You don’t want to know me”, he said trying his best to revive the calm in the air, but he knew the serenity was lost. He turned back, revved up the engine, and started navigating towards the Meenambakkam Airport. A sense of unease crept into the atmosphere, so I concentrated my attention towards the outside. It was true I knew nothing about him. No matter how much I tried to pry the truth about his pedigree, he turned down the question in the most inconspicuous ways, but it was blatant for me. We had become friends in the college, when I was doing B.E. He was one among the throng, but so was I. It was fate’s spanning wings that had united us as bench mates. There had started a journey of friendship that evaded the corrode of time. There had come a conjunction, when we both realized Engineering was not for us.

We had moved out of College and had set up an organization that catered the environmental needs of the nature. It ended up sad as the lack of initiative and man-power on our part and the lack of co-operation on the part of the public churned together to dish out a disaster. We had decided to raise awareness among people, but terminated one among the throng. Thus, we made it a point to be distinct by employing interactive programs that demanded the viewer’s attention. The first part of it had been to proliferate the manpower. The results were partially good. We could not trash time, so we had decided to stick onto the accrued work force.

I leaned my head back on the headrest and scrutinized the ever-changing screen of window. There was a swell in the vehicles outside the theatre and peeked to see the banner of my namesake actor there. Emblazoned on the poster were the words “Thala 50, Mankatha”. Fans were parading and the pile of vehicles littering the road were making life difficult for the traffic police.

Streaming through the labrynthian, clumsily streamed traffic in Chennai was a strenuous, but Raj showed no signs of it. Eventually, we reached the Airport and processed the myriad formal check-ins and pass ons I would not like to magnify. It would suffice to say that by the time we cushioned on the plush seats of the plane, we were sweating profusely. Much to my chagrin, much of the powder I had smeared across my face had been wiped off by the perspiration. The taking off, of the flight was a palpable sight, but one I had been accustomed to. It was the others who found it difficult to adapt, but the enveloping darkness of the night swallowed all and we traveled for a brief sojourn into the land of slumber.

I woke up at about 11:00 clock in the night as the jolt of landing sent vibrating pulses across me. I rubbed off the mucus licking the rims of my eyes and looked around to hear from announcing radio. Everyone from my group got alert at the acoustic and we liberated ourselves from the belt. The flight halted and the impact of the break sent me forward, but practice had made me instinctually alert to this and I caught onto the seat ahead. The others who had blindly followed my motion crashed onto the seats before them but scraped through unscathed.


It was a few hours after that I found myself along with my colleagues in the wind-fuelled yacht, sailing through the alien waters. Oasises of land were splattered across the water, and streaks of red convoluted the darkness of the sky. The blank horizon creamed with quiet of the ocean, instilled in me calm. I sat back at the seat and watched the row man swat through water. The rippling waters shimmered on contact. Sleep was injecting unto me when Raj pointed at a shadow beyond.

I looked there and found myself staring at silhouetted land. The imposing and the ominous island had a large boulder welcoming us. “Is that it”, I asked.

“Yes”, Raj replied.

I knew not where Raj had discovered this chunk of land amidst the thicket of water, but it was certainly a sanctuary for sea gulls. Yet the same feeling stirred inside me-Consternation.


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