In Search of Solitude

Photography Challenge: Developing Your Eye

Day Six: Prompt-Solitude

I have been taking this photography course over the last few days. Every morning, like clockwork, an email arrives in my mailbox with a prompt that I should be photographing and a style guide I should be experimenting with. So early in the morning, I logged onto the World Wide Web today, enthusiastic to find out the prompt I would be interpreting through photographs. Imagine my horror when it spelt out “Solitude”. Imagine my horror when the email further went on to say that I should be experimenting with the rule of thirds today. I had used up two shots that perfectly fit the bill just a couple of days ago. Now, in the middle of a day in office, how was I to find a solitary subject?

So I embarked on a wild goose chase. There was an omnipresent hum of people typing furiously on their keyboards emerging from all the cubicles around me. I could hear voices coming from the conference room beside me. They pored over production plans, sales figures, productivity targets and action plans for the upcoming audit. I could see the shift supervisor approaching me with a bewildered expression painted on his face, probably with a seminal question about some wire’s length and sticker’s orientation that I really did not want to answer. I could hear the metallic sound of my phone ringing. I answered the call and explained to the vendor the exact specifications of the instrument I wanted and the target date I wanted the quotation to be on my table by. I heard boredom in their voices, saw defiance in their strides and even made out a slight hint of rebelliousness. Solitude, however, was nowhere to be found.

The clock strikes 5:30. I walk out of the factory gates to be carried by the company bus to the city which is situated around 25 km away. Ideally, this far away from the city, the roads should have been deserted with only the blue sky and green fields for company. The journey should have been about the fresh breeze blowing in through the windows. But it is not. It is full of the horns of a throng of vehicles who impatiently wait in a queue at the toll gates. The phones keep buzzing and the roads get choked with traffic ferrying people home after a long day at work. Where in this city will I find a solitary reaper blissfully unaware of their surroundings? Where will I find a deserted train station, a silent fort, a tranquil beach- some slice of solitude? “Perhaps”, a little voice in my head whispers, “not today”.

So, I dig into the gigabytes of photographs stored on my phone, digital imprints of fleeting moments that I have been fortunate enough to witness. I come across this picture of a toy train track replete with memories of a lazy Sunday spent at the Sayajibag Gardens. I have always loved walking along railway tracks. Perhaps, along this way I shall find solitude.

4 comments on “In Search of Solitude

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