Continued from Nostalgia .
"Yeah sure. You got a match?"
"Here. You got another Cigarette?"
"No lets go get some. Besides you don't like Phillip Morris products"
"No I never said that. What I said was , the Marlboro man was gay icon"
They walked down to the nearest panwadi literally 'paan man'. Street slang for the one who sells paan. However over time since God only knew when, they acted more like mobile stalls for Cigarettes, chewing gum, toffee, and of course, paan amongst other related products such as safety matches and lighters. There was always activity at such a stall.
There was a certain unexplainable respect that these people commanded. Maybe it was the intimidating signs announcing to the world that Selling tobacco products to those below the age of 18 was a criminal offence.Maybe it was the power they had of refusing to sell you something that you so dearly craved for.
Come to think of it, these makeshift vendors had very loyal customers.
Bannerjee took out his camera. It cost him almost the same amount his friend spent on a second hand Royal Enfield motorcycle. He mounted his 50mm prime on to the camera body, This one was his favourite lens amongst all. He looked through the viewfinder and adjusted the focus ring. click click click. Three frames per second.
"How do you do that?" Apoorv asked as his left hand nurtured and protected the flame from a match freshly struck and brought it to the other end of his Classic Mild. click click click.
"By clicking a button and holding it down?"
"Now is not the time man. I meant, how do you get the shots to look so...emotional?"
He looked at a few pictures taken earlier with his favorite lens. The focus was just right. The backgrounds beautifully blurred.All thanks to this small piece of glass and metal that had a fixed focal length. Screw Zoom.
"I get what you mean....I really don't know, I just see what I like, wait until I think it's the right time and click"
"All in less than a second?"
"You make it sound like I'm some wizard"
"I'd say you were, but that would just make you full of yourself"
He saw the three inch screen on the back of the camera. The shot was perfect. A little bit of the yellow umbrella, a little bit of the different brands of cigarettes, the gum, the lighters and in the center of all the face of the old man making paan.
The next one showed a classic mild just after it had been lit, the smoke wafting away, the glow of the burning tobacco, and fingers that seemed very familiar.
"You should tell people before taking their pictures"
"Never have the time"
There was so much of color. Somehow the pictures saddened him. All pictures did. Yet there was this deep sense of unexplainable satisfaction after a shot well clicked. Like a nicotine rush. Naturally caused.
They walked back....even though they were both grown adults they still did not enjoy the right to smoke without having the previous generations worth of friends and relatives appalled. Hypocrite bongs all of them.
"So after three years, almost everyone will be here?" asked Bidyut.
"Well.....not quite." replied Apoorv.
"Why? Who's not coming?"
"No I mean.....Everyone will be there."
There was a slight smirk and a glint in his eyes. Bannerjee decided he'd rather be surprised.