I’m yet to come across anyone say “I DON’T like nature”. Nature, especially in its mightier form like the mountains, desserts and oceans – has such a calming effect on our psyche that defies words but makes us want to reach out over and over again. I suspect it could be the remnants of the DNA left in us when we used to be living one with nature; when man and nature where inseparable. I wonder if that is what accounts for the instinctive connect man feels with nature.
Embracing a coastal city as my native, exposure to beaches have always been a given. Your childhood is incomplete without frequent visits to the seashore. Arrival of guests always heralded excitement – more for the imminent beach visit than for the guests themselves. Especially if the visitor was from a non-coastal city or town, showing off the second most expansive beach of the world was a matter of pride for us. Beaches nowadays have become a major activity hub with beach volleyballs, Frisbee tournaments, skating rinks and a plethora of shops lining its boundaries. But in the more peaceful times, the only activity was an occasional balloon seller or a roundabout or if one was lucky maybe a horseback ride. But what we looked forward to the most was the tunnel digging with siblings and cousins. Burrowing through the wet sand and finding the other person’s hand under the dug tunnel brought about squeals of laughter and excitement – every time as exciting as the first. One more zealous pursuit was the quest for the best and most number of shells collected; wanting to add to a prized collection, but which many a times had to be discarded as the collection also included live mollusks still in their homes. The day would end with a treat of slit mangoes dotted with chili powder and boiled peas dotted with sand.
Decades have passed, bringing with them travels that entailed vacays at many beach destinations, across coasts and countries. Every beach was different but what catches my fancy is the sea; and its semblance to people. Some waters seem safe enough to wade a long way in, but can abruptly turn dangerous enough to drown without a warning, some seas are violent near the shore, but are actually very safe once you get accustomed, while some of them are calm and silent on the outside and on the inside with minimal waves, cool and clear waters tempting one to experience calming bliss. When I turn around to the shore looking at the beach bums, everyone seems to be having multiple thoughts and contemplations, agendas and purpose, but the one common attribute we all share is the love for the beach and what being in its presence triggers deep within us.
“An ocean is everything I want to be – beautiful, mysterious, wild and free” – probably this must be it.