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Recipe for that perfect moment

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The ingredients are not really complicated: it just comes when it comes

Three of us were sitting on the last rock down at the end of the jagged Dalmatian cliff-side. It wasn’t such a difficult trek down, to be honest. The rock terraces snaking down this absolutely precious hole-in-the-wall bar called Buza bar, were dangerous only for the truly inebriated.

We were almost at that stage but not entirely. A giggle here and a snort there and almost a tumble later, we were at the desired spot. The rock was wet from the constant assault of waves and promised a cold throne.

But we had not risked our lives and limbs and made it so far down (it was barely five steps now that I think of it) to be dissuaded by the possibility of wet posteriors. Sitting down led to a bit of an argument as it was a curved rock and nobody wanted to sit on the pointy bit.

But as is the way of the world, the smallest of us size-wise had to make the sacrifice and occupy the decidedly uncomfortable peak. That settled, not to everyone’s satisfaction of course, we finally did what we had planned to do the moment we had spied that tiny rock from the terracotta cliff side balcony of Buza Bar. We took our shoes off, rolled our trousers up and dipped our feet in the liquid emerald called the Adriatic. Three of us hissed in unison as it was December and no amount of glittering Dubrovnik sun could have warmed the seas.

But after a while the water felt just the right degree of cold. Maybe it was the locally brewed concoction that we had had by the buckets at Buza earlier that kind of took the edge off. Whatever be the case, the cold waves swinging our feet under the water back and forth in a hypnotic rhythm, soothed in many unexplainable ways.

I am not sure how long we sat there. It could have been an hour or four. All I remember is that we still had much of the city left to see. It was a spot that wasn’t on our list. We had stumbled upon it while walking in the old town along the old city castle walls. There was this sign board that pointed right and read “cold beer and a beautiful view”. We were tempted by the first promise a tad bit more than the latter. So we followed the sign and suddenly came upon this innocuous looking gate carved into the walls. It looked like a pass to the gallows, to be honest. But then, past those dubious looking gates something shiny caught the eye. It was our first glimpse of the glorious Adriatic seducing us with its thousands shades of blue and green.

As if that was not enough, the sun was at the perfect angle in a cloudless sky, catching every rising wave and making a momentary jewel out of each of them. Three of us had ‘awestruck’ written on our faces in different ways – mouth hanging open to eyes bugged out to “Oh (read profanity of your choice)!” And that gate was what led us to the Buza Bar, whose stocks we went through like thirsty fish, clicked quintessential pictures for social media and then finally settled on the pointy wet rock.

Surreal feeling

Our feet in the water, the sun on our faces and an endless blue-green sea for view, it felt surreal. It was a truly perfect moment. Time had slowed down but at the same time it was flying away too fast. I was breathing slow and blinking less to seize all I could, to feel all I could. I felt this weight in the proximity of my heart – the weight of a perfect moment. I knew I was in it but I feared what if I don’t experience this again. It was a strange limbo of an emotion. That deep contentment accompanied by the foreboding of its loss.

I couldn’t take it any longer so I expressed my fears to my companions. What if this is it? What if I never experience this ever again and only get to relive it in memories? At first both of them scoffed at my whimsies as all true friends would, and wondered if I was more plastered than they had thought. But I guess I looked seriously worried so one of them said reassuringly: “Don’t worry about it. Three of us are going to have million such moments in the future. But more importantly, the next time we will ensure that you are stone cold sober and not ruining this for us with your whining.”

My alleged best friends snickered and I curbed my impulse to push both of them into the freezing sea for mocking such a profound train of thought. But it wasn’t long before I was laughing with them at my own ‘cornyness’.

And it slowly dawned on me that I was wrong. This wasn’t my first perfect moment. I have had several before. And with these very same disloyal friends who were now busy amusing themselves at my expense.

Sitting on a bench in Connaught Place eating bhel, soaking up the national capital’s winter sun and laughing at all the overdressed Delhi aunties. Ordering ‘sub of the day’ at Subway because we never had enough money at that time to buy the sandwich of our choice. Doing an all-nighter, just talking for straight 12 hours and sleeping only because we wanted to pretend we weren’t crazy.

I guess the recipe for a perfect moment is not very complicated, after all. First, it almost always catches you unawares when you least expect it. It is unencumbered by weight of expectations.

Second, the setting may or may not matter. It does help if one is near a beach or a mountain but this not an essential requisite.

But the most important ingredient, without which no moment can even come close to perfection, is having goofy, up-to-no-good old friends who know you in and out and are always ready to ruin that perfect moment with the most imperfectly timed sniggers.

shivangirai@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 7:09:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/recipe-for-that-perfect-moment/article20551616.ece

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