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Paritosh rested against the grille of his balcony, holding his prized DSLR camera – a gift from Ronit – as the captivating Garhwal Himalayas loomed majestically at a distance. This panoramic view was the sole reason why he dug into his retirement benefits and purchased a resale two-storey villa at Landour. Ronit, his only child, had tried his best to dissuade him from this transaction.

“Pa, why don’t you settle down in Delhi? After all, Delhi is what we’ve always called home. Sitting in faraway Johannesburg, I’ll feel so relieved to know that you have help and support around you,” Ronit had insisted.

But Paritosh, even at 69, was a man who brooked no dissent.

“Even in my sunset years, you want me to languish in this polluted concrete jungle, eh?” And hence, Landour it was!

Having lost his wife quite early on, Paritosh had dedicated himself completely to his dual role of bread-winner and single parent. Ronit, subsequently, grew up into a successful professional and his repeated pleas to Paritosh to join him at Johannesburg, fell on deaf ears.

“This is the time for me to pause and savour life, and I intend to do just that!”

Paritosh stood his ground. At Landour, he managed to befriend a large number of like-minded, silver-haired gentlemen who met up regularly at Paritosh’s villa. These sessions were infused with an infectious camaraderie and youthful bonhomie which belied their golden years. Besides photography, Paritosh also tried his hand at gardening and writing. His verdant kitchen garden and his self-published poetry anthology earned him an impressive fan base!

Paritosh carefully trained his lenses on the spectacle outside. Click, click went the camera gleefully, capturing the breathtaking tangerine and amaranth graffiti in the sky. Behind the mountains, the horizon melted in a mosaic of rose and gold with a faint purple rim at the edges. This was Paritosh’s favourite time of the day. He viewed sunset, not as a cheerless end but as a calm completion of the daily cycle –as a time to pause, ponder, introspect, before another hectic morning dawned. It was somewhat akin to his current phase – a phase that would reboot and rejuvenate his soul, and propel him towards newer goals in life.

A blip on the phone drew Paritosh’s attention.

Pa, I’m coming home soon…for good, the message read.

A happy sunset indeed, Paritosh smiled.

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First featured in BTB Chronicles, Edition 8, published by Beyond the Box.

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