An incident by the sea
Atin was a professional photographer and has worked with numerous reputed international agencies. He has restricted his work over a couple of years since his body has failed to cope up with the perils of intermittent sojourns. As he was gazing through the window, several memories were flashing in his mind. He has been blessed with a very eventful life. Today he has planned to pen down another remarkable incident which had occurred about twenty-five years back. He now opened the pages of a diary and began writing…
It was the year 1996. I was assigned a project by a reputed professional internal journal for capturing a few of the sceneries of the pristine Andaman islands. I was feeling quite excited since Andaman in those days were almost unexplored territories. It had not yet surfaced as a popular tourist destination. The island was primarily inhabited by the Bengalis who had been abolished from the then East Pakistan. I reached the quaint town of Port Blair.
I was enamored by the serenity of the place. Back then, the number of settlements was very low. I had planned to visit Diglipur which was about 300 km away from Port Blair. I chose Diglipur since no settlement had yet begun in those regions and I was quite sure that I will be able to capture the untarnished flora and fauna of that region. But the only impediment that I faced was the unavailability of any accommodation.
Fortunately, the manager of the Port Blair hotel had a relative over there. The manager assured me that his relative will take care of me in Diglipur. The next day I started my journey through the densely forested areas of Baratang. It was the home to several uncivilized tribes like Jarowas. It was a pleasant journey through the forested patch of these desolate islands. I was warmly greeted by my host, Anil.a middle-aged Bengali at Diglipur.
I accommodated in his modest two-storied house. Diglipur had a breathtaking coastline. The deep blue bay, white sand dotted with several scattered boulders and different varieties of corals. It was none less than a photographer’s paradise. I was over the moon with excitement and started taking some random shots of the desolate beach. I was accompanied by Anil. He was filling me up with the necessary information about the place.
I even spotted sea turtles and a few red crabs that were continuously loitering on the white sands. I quickly took some snaps. Anil informed me that early morning is the best time to visit this beach. A couple of days passed by and I was having a great time, taking snaps, loitering around the beach, and enjoying the hospitality of Anil’s place. I evening took some late evening strolls. I still clearly remember that day. It was getting dark and I was trolling around the beach for quite some time.
It was a full moon’s night and the white sands were glistening with the serene moonlight. I had ventured quite a bit from Anil’s place. I had not been here before. Then I saw a very familiar visual which I was not expecting to witness over here even in my wildest dreams. There were numerous similar stone statues, exactly similar to that of the mysterious stone statues of Easter Islands! I could not believe my eyes.
But they were quite similar to what I have seen in newspapers and television. I soon started taking some snaps but was feeling very uneasy. Was this is a hallucination? From where did these statues come here? Is Anil or anyone of Diglipur aware of their presence? I stayed there some time but could not muster the courage to go very close to these statues and inspect them. I thought I should inform Anil and seek his help. It would be too risky to go there alone.
I returned and narrated everything to anil. Anil was bewildered and said, “Stone statues? On the beach? Never heard about it. Can you take me to that spot?’’.I nodded and took him to that place. But we could not spot any stone statues. Anil said, “I think you must be hallucinating. If there were any statues, someone should have noticed by now. There are about thirty families, dwelling here. It can’t have escaped everyone’s eyes.”
But I protested, “I was not dreaming. I have seen them. I have clicked photos also. I will develop them at Port Blair and send you the copies.” I knew from Anil’s expression, that he did not believe a word. I was quite disturbed with this incident and I returned to Port Blair, the next morning.
I hurriedly went to a nearby photoshop for developing my photos. I had to wait anxiously for a day. Finally, I got hold of the prints. But to my utter dismay, there were five photos of dimly lit Diglipur beach but there were no stone statues. Even, now after so many years, I am unable to justify this strange incident.