For a Saturday evening, the beach is quite empty - which I find very strange and intriguing. Equally strange is the domination of blues and greens today rather than the usual yellows, oranges and bright reds. It's powercut time and I'm sitting on the top-most step at the beach writing this post as fast as I can, to make sure I get all my thoughts in place before the battery in my laptop runs down.
About two dozen women clad in cool sequined saris in amazing color combos are seated around me chattering away in chaste Oriya, and peeping into my system exclaiming aloud 'She's busy typing'. I guess a couple of them tried saying something to me in their mother tongue but unfortunately I just can't strike a conversation with strangers, especially in an alien language. I guess Oriya, like Bengali or Marathi, is easier to understand if you pay a little attention and if you know Hindi well enough. But no, not right now. Not when I'm in a mood for some quiet conversation with my new-found love. :-)
It is fun to watch not just the sea but also the visitors - with their glittering gold ornaments, flashy green tees, and children dressed in China silk shirts/ tops. It's a lot more fun to watch these little ones slide down the cemented make-shift slide that separates each block of stairs.
Today, there are neither too many visitors nor their naughty children. Probably because it was cloudy in the afternoon, or because schools are going to be reopened in a couple of days.
Also conspicuous by its absence is the yellow-red van that supplies a hot cup of Nescafe instant coffee for just Rs. 3. Last week, while walking to the beach with my daughter and niece, I noticed this van and wanted to have some coffee - there was no milk at home and I didn't mind any hot liquid at that point. But just a sip was enough to realize that I wouldn't stop with just one cup. I insisted my niece has coffee too. On our way back home, I shared another coffee with my daughter. :-) Maybe I'll just go home and make my own coffee today.
Among many other things that I notice regularly on the beach are these vendors who sell jhaal-muri. It's fascinating to watch them carry out their business without a care in the world... it's worth watching how they manage to make the snack so fast with crows and dogs lurking around for the right chance to nick something from their customers. Even more fascinating is their balancing act when the waves start rising higher and higher.
Initially the tables are set closer to the water with a gasoline lamp (which have long since replaced the kerosene lamp), different boxes with various ingredients required to make the muri, newspapers, cutting board and a huge knife to chop onions, a wooden crate next to the table to throw the waste. As the sun sets and the waves start rising higher, one of the vendors carries the red plastic chairs, while the other one carries the lamp, and places it carefully at the foot of the steps. Then two of them carry the table while one of them balances the crate with one hand. It takes two trips and less than two minutes for the table to be re-set. The process is repeated once more when everything is brought to the top-most step as it gets dark - or it's time for them to call it a day!
It's 7.35 pm now, and the vendors - all four of them - are busy moving their stuff. Behind them, the sea looks super cool in shades of black & white. It wore a beautiful blue look this morning when the sun was bright and hot. But it turned greenish-gray later in the day as the clouds walked the sky, pouring down buckets of water on the lowly living beings beneath them. Sitting in my balcony, I couldn't take my eyes off the sea in the evening when the waves were spraying just a tiny layer of water all around - it looked as though dolphins were having a gala time showering and splashing water on their mates.
Of all the things that this beach town has taught me, observing, understanding, and becoming part of the nature is the most valuable lesson. Now all I can think of is this overwhelming desire to be lost in the depths of the sea, and become one with it in body, mind and soul!