"I really need to walk alone."
He took off his sneakers, rolled up his jeans and stood up straight, looking towards the sea. With a deep breath, he strolled towards the dark waters.
Once near the water's edge, he looked down at his feet. They weren't an old man's feet. In fact, they were the feet of a person well into his youth. All right, the feet had done some heavy-duty walking... there were cuts and scratches here and there, calm reminders of the time when little droplets of blood had left a stinging sensation at those very places.
He smiled to himself at those memories.
After all, he hadn't been alone at those endeavors, had he? He was one of the many merry men who'd set out on their difficult task armed with nothing but youthful laughter.
But this wasn't a night when he wanted to ruminate about those rustic hours of boyhood, spent walking in the wet villages of rural West Bengal. No. Tonight was a night for contemplation at the future that lay ahead.
"Can it really be true?", he wondered. "Am I really the master of my destiny? Can I ACTUALLY achieve whatever I wish to achieve, provided I put everything into it?"
Turning left, he started the long walk.
The walking figure was in itself like a statue in movement. A young, powerful and proud physique, the lithe movement of the muscles of his legs reminded the onlookers of the gracious moves of a young lion. His long, neat hair playfully waved in the wind that was blowing in from the sea. His head was bowed down, and his eyes were caught in a fixed stare the ground below his feet.
A wave came crashing towards him. He paused. Slowly, he looked up towards the sea.
"What does the sea remind me of? What does this dark sky tell me? Why do these waves, crashing towards me, leave me with a sense of peace and calm although they are little more in themselves than a din of water droplets going wild?"
Mozart!! That's what the crashing waves reminded him of... Mozart! Why? Even Beethoven for that matter. The great masters. Their work, their tireless dedication, which through their tireless efforts turned work into joy... Yes indeed. That is what the waves and the sea on a dark, moon-less night reminded him of. Ah! What joy it must be to be consumed in work, to feel your work living and breathing in the pulse of your very body. It must be sublime. It takes great pains, blood, sweat and tears to achieve that one moment... that one moment when you step back, weary and tired, to look at your creation. From nothing, from the very basic materials provided by nature, you've created something beautiful. And even though to the world your work might just seem an inanimate object, for you, it is your baby, your creation, a reminder of your victory over the elements.
Wait. Hadn't he read something similar somewhere? But of course. The Fountainhead. Howard Roark definitely knew his stuff. And so did Dominique. Of course, he had his own differences with the author, but that could rest for now.
"Papa papa. I want a Coke!" The shrill young voice of a 5 year old brought our hero out of his reverie.
And he turned around.
He had not only turned a 180 degrees literally, but figuratively as well. In place of the dark empty spaces of the wide open sea, there was now the light of a thousand tubelights. There was noise everywhere. Peddlers selling their wares; children crying; car horns honking.
Or should he turn towards this world? Surely, he loved all the material comforts?
And not that his demands were great. All he wanted was a comfortable house for his parents, enough money to buy his sweetheart gifts, cash enough to go to the movies with friends and not bother about the inflated price of popcorn and soft-drinks at the swanky new multiplex. And for heavens' sake, could he have more balance on his cell-phone pre-paid card?
Mammon smiled at him from every nook and corner where the thousand tubelights spread their bright white light. People swished away in their glitzy Fords and Honda Citys, not to mention the occassional Mercedez that always managed to get a pedestrian to look longingly at the car for a fleeting few seconds.
He shook his head, smiled and looked down at the sand again.
"So, Mr. Master-of-your-own-Destiny? Which will it be?" he asked himself, almost as if asking a child his preference between a candy and a drink of lemonade. "Will it be the darkness, or shall there be light?"
...and he continued walking on the beach, leaving footprints on the wet sand; some of which were erased by the occassional wave which managed to reach them, and the rest of his footprints were all too visible in the dry sand in the light of a thousand electric tubelights.