Wednesday, February 21, 2007

An interesting shade

Noises aren't helping enough. How much can one get out of a Wheeeaah! Can't paint to show all the colours dripping off to form pretty puddles I'm trying to skirt, step through and splash in. Don't have a cam to catch the jigs, the foetal reminiscence, twitchy hands that don't know what to do with themselves, grinning eyes, the pallor of self-doubt, my clueless hair on how to hang over my forehead, the anticipatory ticking of the left eyelid, the determined pulse moving towards white papers of dreams, the content stroll, the apprehension lurking on my left.

Monday, February 05, 2007

For the love of salt

After a knee-whopping ride to the beach past the arch (known as Kapaleshwar Nagar Beach to the auto fellows) and being the object of some cackling, we toppled out on to sand and many pairs of eyes. They didn't glare, stare. They just gazed vacant with maybe a hint of curiosity in some. Immediately felt kinship with the beach, the sea and its creatures, especially the Mussel - clammed up instantly! Wondered if Ostriches would fit the landscape.

Somehow got past the freeze and plonked on the beach behind the group in a circle. Heads rotated towards the boy with the Guitar. It was such a pretty night! And it all started with some strumming and humming Simon & Garfunkel under tangerine lights. Muttered lyrics for fear of squawking, but when it came to Illayaraja, P'dner and I were mostly out there with accompaniments that go achum achum achum...Nila adhu vaanathu meley...! :-D what a song indeed!!

And then they descended - hordes of children, squeaking, giggling, loud!!! The music was lost in their bledy babble and repeated hushes they did to themselves was far worse than their yakking. But the guide saved the music of the night! Arun, a tall, lanky, bearded, hooded, sweatshirted, shorted, sweet man with a passionate disposition for the environment, took them aside for orientation. Phew! And we carried on with mi song...Wish you were here. Missed V quite a bit. It is our song after all. And the whispering of Clapton and Co went on till we were ready to trot.

Usually a crowd of 20 had tripled this time cause of the blasted kids from a school I went to and which I have absolutely no respect for. I do have reason to be spiteful. Forgot them instantly when we hit the wet sand. Ambling while the moon paced along and surf curled over feet, placid peace sunk in with each step.

Our first stop-over came quite quickly. The ones ahead had tracked a nest with 175 eggs! Fantastic pingpong look alikes! Soft, dented and pink in the moonlight. As N pointed out it's utterly gobsmacking to think that these turtles come year after year to the same beach and have been doing so for aeons. Parallel worlds I want to be a part of but then there's home and the potholed road to work. Not quite alluring but neverthless a predominant aspect. Tsk tsk.

Eels, puffer fish, bloated ones with eyes popped, tummy split, fins slit - my morbid side had a ball. Crabs skittered by for company and did their jigs across sand. Deft creatures. Cuttlefish bones to start with were a novelty. In fact I did a bit of grumbling cause the guide gave it to pesky kid. But we stumbled on many streaking phosphorescent white on the sand. Picked 2. Now figuring out ways to get rid of stench. Soon I came to be known was the Cuttlefish collector. A kid came and offered two! And the rest pointed out the picks.

Plankton I saw none but save one. Absolutely pthoooey. Bottles, crawling coconuts, garlands of the dead in ashes, but no plankton! Spotting that lone blue metallic glow was a special moment. Touch it, drag it, Voila! Light painting! Painted blue trails till it disappeared from finger tips. It's plain beautiful.

Nest 2 yielded 111 + 1 small. 1 small was deemed by a know-it-all to be born with defects. The ones who knew said no such thing. Quite a bit of know-it-alls on this trip. Having stumbled upon a dead Ridley, one loudly proclaimed it dead. Duh! We know. And how you suppose, we asked. The know-it-all did a long uhh followed by 'we'll have to take it to a vet to figure." Ok then. Most probably died of suffocation from the trawlers, said the guide. It was a 50 kg or so turtle, bleeding in trickles from the neck. Nearly 45 years old. 50, 000 left. The turtles wont be around to tell us that existence was before now.

We trotted by Bella Ciao, temples, N's old house, packs of outnumbered stray dogs, and circumvented around fishermens boats. Apparently the fishermen view us as an inauspicious element, a lot like the cat crossing the path. We happened upon 2 who had come back with quite a catch. They were untangling the net off a pile of Madava meen, silver and terribly dead.

You know you've arrived on Beasant Nagar beach when you see the plastic competing with the glitter of the sea. Plastic silver. It goes beyond the gagging reflex. But no ugly beach can deter plan for z walk in March! The hatchlings and lots of plankton... hopefully!