28 June 2016
He woke up two hours earlier than usual nine o’clock, and after hanging around in a bed for a while, thought he should submit that travel insurance claim for broken and water logged camera. The claim form asked for original receipt, which meant getting that black box of Fujifilm out and dusting it off only to find unfilled warranty card, and no sight of bill. That would be bad, he haplessly hovered with on-off button of now defunct camera body.
It had served him well, when he bought it right before his trip to Ladakh , three years back. It caught glorious landscapes, impossible clouds and pink flushed cheeks of Buddhist monk kids. He started to get hang of its function, came back to Singapore to be charade by his friends – photography gurus- of having shot everything with exceedingly high ISO. Only then he realized that mirror less camera have behemoth ISO of 25,600.
Next he got to Paris,France on an official trip , he was able to snuck in his faithful camera among corporate luggage and snuck out for Church of Notre Dame , Shakespeare and company , reflections of Eiffel tower in water puddles and one and half winged sculpture in Louvre. The zoom lens became his favourite, sending him to places inaccessible, top of Louvre, or zooming in to unaware streets buskers.
Next he got amazing pictures of his cousins marriage and tried it out in his hometown, most ancient city of world , to catch the glory of sun rising over ganga. Soon he would take it around absolute corners of world, getting roman colosseum, or capturing couple reading at Roma Termini, and the gigantic Bruneschelli architecture marvel of Florence cathedral, an Italian wedding in Cortona, Tuscany.
And then he got chance to mend his ISO mistakes, with yet another version of Ladakh, only this time it was Scottish Highlands. The verdant green , and its lochs and other worldly landscapes promised him ample photographic adventure. He started off to Isle of Skye from Glasgow, and after twelve hours of bus journey, followed by 30 minutes’ walk , and 20 minutes hitchhike from generous Scottish young couple from Inverness in old red model of Audi two door automobile. He reached Kingsburg, some 15kms from central village of Portree. And beautiful it was, with a loch at the end of horizon, sheep pens and a small stream and 4-5 cottages. Just what he had hoped from Skye. Long endless blue skies, marked by greens and azure blues of Lochs.
Next day he embarked on a 8 hours round trip of Skye, since doing it solo on foot or bike looked impossible in one day. He staggered and resisted the urge of climbing Old man of Storr , and just being fulfilled with a view from down next to mini bus. What else can one expect from tours like these ?
The kilt falls were just okayish , rather the bagpiper was more enthralling to his camera eyes and bagpiper’s bagpipe to his ears. They continued down and up, and finally to Quairaig , it was misty, and rain hung in heavens above waiting to come down, the chill of winds was agonizing yet beautiful, and the mountains above and below and his levels added to dreamy escape , and unadulterated panoramic view all the way to horizon.
Then came fairy glens, followed by Neist Point and then came Fairy Pools – one that have caused this whole write-up. He walked down the hill through fields with girl from Los Angels and dentist from Australia , explaining pros and cons of being in Singapore to the American. The fairy pools ensued, and he marvelled at transparent water which hung over rocks like ether, and bunch of Scottish kids plunging in chilly water. His tour guide had given him small water bottle, do taste the water, you will live for hundred years !!
He found a miniature waterfall enough to get his bottle filled, he bent down, about to place his right leg firmly. That was the moment he remembered , him bending down with water bottle, with Beth – American next to him , and dentist bit far behind, cold of the air.
Next moment he was in that freezing cold water. He slipped over precarious and slippery algae, his right foot and hiking boots never found the grip they wanted. Neck deep and paddling vigorously he realized what a disaster it had been, he managed to took off his promised waterproof jacket , Beth gave her a hand, but he calmly handed her jacket first, and then tried to rise up. But the rocks around were high , and there was no grip to be found, for a moment he remembered his rock climbing lessons, and tried to get a firm footing on a rock ledge, underwater, but its slippery even underwater !
A good Samaritan finally gave him his hand , and he emerged from the fairy pool, not a single drop of fairy water on his taste buds, and yet neck deep in the pool. Those fairies were naughty for sure, or just snatched his century opportunity ?
He stood there, shivering in windy eight degrees, with his three layers already lying on rocks, his camera gave away, with a strong crack on its lens. iPhone flickered for a while and then slept off, and he …he just stood there saddened at loss of picture and camera. Dentist came back and assured him he could still get travel insurance and promised him a ginger ale , “since you don’t drink beer anymore” when they were back at Portree.
Fast forward 28 days, and today morning, he was haplessly trying out on-off button. He thought of giving it a try with a battery pack, and lo and behold it switched on. He could not contain his happiness, it was “the promised waking up of Lazarus, as if jesus had healed it”….and with tunes of Oasis “you and me are gonna live forever”, he started his day , knowing his camera was back.
PS : for those who are unaware of the story of Lazarus, it comes from John 11:1-44,New Living Translation (NLT).