The old man and sea

An encounter with a Holocaust Survivor

The old man and sea

        What can be better than a Sunday morning on the sea beach?

      The Neon blue sky was stitched with silver lining. Quivering sea was acetylene blue, but the beach was dawn-glow gold.
Although pretty aggressive, the mesmeric dance of waves was heart swelling.

     Still no one seemed to be there on the beach to enjoy this serenity. I was panting heavily after an hour of jogging and decided to take a short peaceful break for a while until other sleepy heads appear on the beach.

    To my utmost surprise, I noticed an old man sitting dangerously close to the waves that crashed on the beach. Getting closer to him, it appeared to me  that he was gazing at a photo. He was very focused on it; without even blinking his eyes.

      Waves must have taken pity on him for they had not yet drenched him completely. But his skin was wet and so were his rags that clung to him.

       With each returning wave he was inching more towards sea. I was lost somewhere within myself while reminiscing about my grandpa. He always used to snatch me away whenever I ran to play with the waves.

     I thought that old man ... no no...that strange man must have possessed some kind of eternal youth spirit to go on adventuring. But how is it possible for anyone not to fear death like this? The waves are particularly higher today than other days.

      He was quite unconscious of the waves that rose and closed on him a few feet before him. He was wholly immersed in that photo.

      When the next wave swelled and rolled towards him I could not suppress a scream. It hit him on the chest and I was running towards him, catching him by his shirt and pulling him with all my might towards the dry part of the beach away from the waves.

    We were both soaked. I looked at him with exasperation. In his hands he still held the photo.

      Instead of heartfelt gratitude he threw me a sarcastic smile which made me quite angry and a bit astonished.

       I barked at him- "How can you be so careless? Don’t you realize that your carelessness would have got both of us killed?”

        This time with a different kind of smile on lips he gestured me to sit near him which made me angrier.

     Fuming, I pulled out the small towel I had tucked below the waist band of my jogging trousers and started to dry myself.

   He asked me "Do you want me to answer your questions?"
I nodded quietly. He can say whatever he wants to. I saved his life. That was the main thing.

    Then with a deep sigh he started to tell me something which even to this day I remember, although now it is incomplete and  blurry.

Holocaust ; a horrendous crime