I have a special kind of affinity for beaches. I am charmed by them. I can spend hours together at a beach and not get bored.
If you ask me what my kind of vacation would involve, I would say it involves beaches.
I love beaches so much that I dream of staying in a beach-side home sometime in my life. At least for a few months.
I can’t get enough of beaches. They are my favourite kind of place.
Why do I love beaches so?
… Because the sea is magical. Honestly, any body of water is magical for me. I love the way the water changes every minute – sometimes it is silver, with the sunlight skimming it with thousands and thousands of diamonds. Sometimes, it is a lovely aqua. Sometimes, it is orange or gold, when the day is about to die out. Sometimes, when the sun goes to sleep and the moon comes up, it is a dark, inky black.
I find it easier to believe in a world of fantasy and magic when I am at a beach. The cynic in me takes a break when I vacation on a beach, and I begin to believe in messages in bottles, love stories happening in quaint beach-side cottages, mermaids and fairies, monsters and dragons, and ships full of good-hearted pirates who ultimately fall in love with the local people.
Beaches take me back to all those stories set in beaches that I have read and loved. They make me imagine the beaches in these stories.
… Because the sea smells of freedom to me. There is something in the briny air at these places that suggests a break from routine, a break from the shackles of various kinds that bind you. The sea seems to call out to me, beckon me to reside beside her, so that she can show me in depth all the beauty she possesses, all the wisdom she has to share with me, and help me find the freedom I look for.
… Because the sea brings out the thinker in me. Gazing out at the waters brings me in touch with parts of myself that are not normally touched in the course of everyday routine. The sea makes me contemplate, really, deeply think about the things that matter to me. She brings out the poet, the writer, in me, too, as do all things nature.
… Because the sea is endless. She seems to stretch on and on and on, far beyond the horizon you can see with your naked eyes. She speaks of permanence, of having existed and survived and borne witness to things far beyond my comprehension, since years far beyond what I can fathom. She tells me that she will be there for me, always, that I can return to it whenever I want to, in search of solace or thoughts or whatever it is I seek.
… Because the sea is wilful. She speaks to me of strength, courage and sheer grit – of going on and on and on, embracing the positives and working a way through the negatives. She speaks to me of finding our own path, sometimes crossing territory uncharted before, and wearing down the obstacles of rocks to a smooth finish.
… Because the sea is powerful. She commands immense respect. She makes me feel like a mite before her. She makes me realise that I cannot tame her, however hard I try. She tells me that it can sweep me up in her currents and throw me around like a weightless ball, if she chose to, and I couldn’t do anything about it. She tells me to respect nature, to rest in her soothing lap, and place my faith in her. She tells me never to become cocky and arrogant, but to be humble so as to be able to see the beauty and the power in the world around me.
… Because the sea is full of life. Her boundless energy, her constant motion inspires me. She tells me to keep moving, in whatever little ways I can. She makes me challenge myself, to think of what I could if I would.
… Because the sea is mysterious. She hides mesmerizing worlds beneath her that I cannot even begin to fathom. Even if I try and explore these lands, all that I can see would be a tiny fraction of all there is. Each time I visit the sea, I want to plunge into her depths and know more of her. She reminds me of people – how they have layers and layers and layers to them, and what I can see is nothing compared to what I cannot see.
Every day, she is something new. How can I ever tire of her?
… Because the sea is playful. Sometimes, she drenches me from head to toe when I am standing on the shore, with no intention of getting wet. Sometimes, she throws tiny little waves at me which die out just near my feet, when I desperately want to paddle in the waters. She never fails to bring a smile to my face with her little teases.
She brings out the child in me. I once again begin to enjoy making castles in the sand and writing my name in it, only to be washed away by it. In a way, she is like a mother who teaches her child to persevere, to keep trying to walk in spite of tripping and falling a few times. She makes me enjoy the process of creating imprints of my feet in the wet sand, and then looking back at them. So similar to life, isn’t it?
… Because the sea is so non-judgemental. She lets me be myself, never complaining, never judging. I can tell her anything I want to, without really speaking. She and I can converse in silence, like old friends, and that is really comforting.
… Because the sea is calming. She soothes my frayed nerves, rejuvenates me, and infuses new strength in me, just by being near her.
… Because the sea is generous. She generously rewards those who care enough to visit and love her – sometimes with a gorgeous golden sunset, sometimes with the most perfectly formed shell, sometimes with a beautiful fish, sometimes with a lap of warm water on your feet.
… Because the sea comes accompanied by beautiful little itty-bitties that I adore, which give me a feel of the place. Like steaming sundal and corn and even pasta and kozhukattai, colourful umbrellas and sun loungers, little shacks selling snacks, lovely-looking lights, souvenir stalls and areas for candlelight dining. Commercialisation, yes, but not all of it bad.
And that’s why we share a special bond, beaches and I. Do you, too?
PS: All of these pictures were taken at Pondicherry, some at the Promenade beach and some at the Auro beach.
PPS: I didn’t mean to say that there are facilities for candlelight dining at the Pondicherry beaches. We didn’t see any, if there are. I was referring to the beaches in Goa there, talking about my general feelings for all beaches in this post.
PPS1: I should mention here that the Promenade beach, which is the major beach in Pondicherry, has been circled with layers of rocks after the tsunami happened. You cannot get down to touch the water. However, there are other beaches – comparitively smaller ones – in Pondicherry where you can get down into the water and play. For instance, the Auro beach.