A good nine years ago, on a summer going to fall Sunday, I had hiked a fair 5 or 6 miles with my grad school roommate and two of her friends to a beach. It was probably the west meadow beach which had lots of pebbles and sand, I don’t recall the name exactly. What I do remember is that it felt like I was breathing for the first time since I had left my home country. It felt relieving to know that the sea wasn’t so far away. I felt rescued. I felt humbled. I felt I finally belonged.
If I am ever asked to make a choice between places to live, I am sure I would always choose a place with a faster proximity to the ocean; for the crashing waves, frothing waters, salty air and even the roaring thunder storms or monsoons. I would take that any day to a land-locked wonder!
Along the north east coast of the Atlantic Ocean, where I now live, cities may be built around ports and water bodies; but to find a shore where the waves kiss the sands, one has to drive at least a couple of hours to beach towns. It was a tough trivia to figure. Fairly so; since in the Indian subcontinent the coastal cities spill all over the seas beside them. And land-reclaimed-from-sea wasn’t uncommon either ( Bombay and the Cochin port are places I know of )
Along the Indian Ocean, beaches are a city’s landmark; an easily accessible place for her people’s congregation. You didn’t need the paraphernalia of booking a resort and expensive gear of sunscreens, towels, chairs and umbrellas to enjoy them. Get to the beach around sun down. Walk her shores with your shoes in hand, people watch, enjoy the balmy breeze after a sweltering day, buy a beach-side snack and have a long conversation watching the sunset. Tell a New-Engalnder you can do this almost every day of the year and they won’t believe you!
But the sea is the sea is the sea! If a 2 hour drive is what it takes to find that paradise in these parts, we may as well! The weekend past was one such journey to a little beach town in Maine, to collect sunshine before fall arrives and bid goodbye to the gorgeous summer that has been! We were accompanied by four other families gaggling with babies, toddlers and babies-to-arrive for a much sought adventure!
If the unexpectedly well-furnished and snug wooden cottages had us floored, the amenities of heated pool and hot tub were awesome-er. And of course to mention the easy walkway to the beach. It was probably the most relaxed vacation we have had as a group after kids. Even though much of the late night conversations were interleaved with baby monitors buzzing to gently remind us that we are now parents-first-and-everything-else-after, we had mastered the art of resuming conversations with breaks.
And in the short 48 hour window, while the kids were asleep we managed to pack a morning-chai-party, a post-beach-sandwich-party, a chaat-party, a chicken-grill-party and even an Italian-rum-cake-party to celebrate the gentle ascend of a wonderful friend and dad of two, into the mid thirties! Of course! We had our share of fun with the kids too in the pool and play. It was A’s first ever beach trip and he loved it rotten. I would call the water icy, but it felt wonderful against the sun. Just to have my feet smeared in sand and hair bursting into curls with humidity was pure bliss.
Sadly it is true that all things must come to an end. And so did our little getaway. We ended the journey at the teeming pier of the small town, feasting on their popular pizzas and treating ourselves and the kids to ice creams.
We reached home by evening to a power outage from recent thunderstorms. TheToddler wondered if the vacation was continuing when we had comfort food of curd rice by candlelight. It was a blessing in disguise, since we retired to bed early as a family reading by torch light and watching the moonlight stream thru the windows. To the distant rumbling of our neighbour’s generator, his father’s tired snores and buzz of summer insects my son drifted to sleep.
I lay awake a little while. I smelt a whiff of sea-salt, watched a wave crash on the sand and brush my feet. I heard myself laugh in glee holding appa’s hand. I saw a golden sun descent into the sea’s unbeknownst depths. When I opened my eyes, it was Monday morning. The magic was far far away and I will hold on to the dreams for now!