Monday, December 24, 2007
Southwards bound: Sidhusaaheb and the Sea
All my life, I have been reading in books about the 'blue sea'. When I was much younger and at school, I was told to use light blue crayons to colour rivers in my drawing-book or the space occupied by the various oceans in a map of the world that was blank, except for the outlines of all the continents.
In reality, all the rivers that I have seen have either been a dark shade of green or a dull shade of grey. So, I was really excited when I travelled to Goa in July this year, with the family. This, after all, was the first time that I was going to see the sea, so to say.
It was early morning when the train rolled into Goan precincts. Besides the lush, green countryside, there were the lovely villas that caught my attention, from amongst all that rushed past the window. I did not really expect to catch a glimpse of the sea until after we reached our destination. Soon, however, beyond a line of coconut trees on the shore, a vast expanse of water, which was a pale shade of grey, came into view. Stretching away into the distance, as far as the eye could see, it merged into the horizon.
Over the next two days, the sea was a constant presence, as we drove across the place. Towards the end of the first, we went on to a jetty and surf definitely was up, sending repeated bursts of spray to considerable heights. The next day was reserved for visiting South Goa and, hence, the beaches.
On the first one that we went to, no one was actually allowed to go down to the water's edge and we had to satisfy ourselves with a walk along an elevated road spanning the length of the beach. There was a nice vantage point though, which appeared to have been built during colonial times and had a distinct old-world feel to it. It was a treat to watch wave after wave come crashing down against the rocks, sending fine water-droplets up to where we stood. My brother, who had been busy taking photographs until a few minutes earlier, had to return his camera to its water-proof case.
On the second one, there were huge boulders along the edge of the water that we were able to climb down to and, therefore, enjoy quite a close encounter. On the third, we were actually atop a cliff from where we were able to watch the waves forming in the distance and then travelling, in quick succession, to the shore.
It was the fourth one that was actually like the way I had thought a beach was supposed to be. The photograph posted above shows me standing there, mesmerised. It was taken a few moments before the sea actually greeted me with, well, a cold embrace! After that I had to roll up the wet bottoms of my trousers and also to take off my sandals, which had become uncomfortable because of the accumulation of wet sand. It was meant to be a lesson in beach-etiquette, perhaps, for a novice like me.
At Cochin, where we proceeded to from Goa, it was, once again, a walk along a paved path, which was separated from the water by rocks of all shapes and sizes.
Subsequently, we went to a beach in Madras, as well, during the last leg of our journey, but, besides the hot and humid weather, that experience was caused to be less than pleasant for me by the stench from the various stalls selling fish.
The sea at these places, too, appeared to be a pale shade of grey.