Photographer's Note

It was my father's last visit to America.

The day before he left it was the full moon. Perhaps for the first time in his life, at least in my memory, he requested me to do something for him. Coming from my father it should have been a strange request--he was a rather simple man who never seemed to have had a penchant for seeking nature's beauty; for he wanted me to drive him to the ocean beach so he could see the moon set over the western horizon, to see it dip into the ocean.

Early next morning before sunrise there we were on the Torrey Mesa by the Salk Institute. There was a deep fog over the shores of La Jolla. So we drove down 101N, past Torrey Pines all the way to Solana Beach where there is usually less chance of a fog. But it was a bad morning to view the moon. I parked the car and walked along the beach. The little man paced in the distance with his hands clasped behind his back, his gray hair covered by a woollen cap, as he waited for the fog to clear over the western horizon. The fog didn't. The sun rose behind us.

I could have asked him about the reason for this unusual request, but I didn't because I knew. I remembered a time from a very long ago, when I was 12 years old and lay in bed with hepatitis. Hepatitis in those days was a serious matter. He had sat beside me and had told me of a time when, just before the partition of Bengal, ahead of the riots, he had left Chittagong, where he was born, with his widowed aunts and two younger cousin sisters, by a steamer and he had seen the big full moon, yellow, set over the Bay of Bengal. It was the first time he had ever been on a boat in the sea and it was the last time. That was probably the only time I had heard him reminisce about his youth. That was the reason why I remembered even after 35 years. That was why I did not ask him.

He returned to India the next day. I never saw him again, because he died one year later almost to the day.

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Additional Photos by Animesh Ray (AnimeshRay) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 689 W: 44 N: 846] (9089)
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