Last weekend when I went to my Dad’s place for the weekend, my cousin Chandu, took me to the beach. I wasn’t aware that there is a beach in Kayamkulam. But when I got there I was surprised to find a sweet little beach unlike the crowded and normally dirty beaches of Trivandrum and Alleppey. This beach in a place called Aayiramthengu, around half an hour drive from Kayamkulam, is really small and is an ‘azhimugham’ (estuary) – the place where a river merges with the sea. At Ayiramthengu, it is not exactly a river, but the Kayamkulam Lake that meets with the Arabian Sea. There is a walkway a long way into the estuary, leading to the point of merging of two visibly distinct water bodies. On either side of the walkway there are huge rocks like a natural lining. On one side you have the sea with its huge and ‘glamorous’ waves. On the other you have a peaceful lake with seemingly little ripples, but in real a depth you can’t imagine.
We sat on a rock at a height for a long time and then walked back to the beach where there were less than fifteen people. I didn’t want to leave yet. So we sat there on the soft sand for half an hour more. I was deeply disturbed that day for some personal reasons (one being the ride on the emotional rollercoaster based on my wedding that my Appachi and Vallycachan took me of course). All I wanted that evening was to lock myself up in my room. Thanks to Chandu who was adamant that I should go. Because by the time I left the beach, I was so much more at peace.
I remember us (my family) going to the Alleppey beach when I was a kid. My Mom’s brother and family used to stay at Alleppey back then. We all would go to the beach in the evening and play in the water till the sun was down. We would run through the white, foaming waves, splash water on each other and make castles with the wet sand. We would write “Sree Rama” on the sand and wait for the angry waves to hastily wipe it off. The wet clothes, feet draped in thick wet sand and salt water dripping from the hair might have been a headache to Mom; but to us those felt like heaven.
Even when I grew up, my idea of going to the beach was the pure fun of playing in the waves. Or so it was till recently. Now when I go to the beach I simply sit there on the cushion of sand watching the majestic waves loom up in a roar and crash down, the red sun await an unavoidable end in the hope of a better tomorrow perhaps. I sit there enjoying the cool salty breeze touch my face softly.
Sometimes I wish I were the only person there to enjoy the loud sea through the calm quietness of the empty beach. But even with hundreds around me, I am sometimes able to be alone there. I don’t know if it’s joy or sorrow that envelops me when I’m there – at times I feel it’s a mix of both, a ‘sober joy’ if I may call it so – a feeling of peace or numbness, I don’t know. I’m never able to count or organize the thoughts that rush through my mind during those moments of beautiful loneliness. But no matter how hopeless or distressing the thoughts are, I never feel like crying when I sit at the beach. Being there sort of makes me feel stronger – strong enough to accept the realities, strong enough to keep me from breaking down to “what if”s and “I wish”s. Somehow, it’s painfully beautiful.