Tuesday, June 23, 2009

june rains , gokarna #6

8th june

The feeling of homecoming is overwhelming and I cant stop the smile on my face.As the bus crosses the Sanikatte salt pans, I know, I am in my territory. I surprise ajji with my early arrival. Well, it so happens that she always seems surprised. I see an older, ajji, little weak and frail in movement, but with a content and energetic mien. I have to make my own tea this time after being asked reluctantly by ajji if I can. I succeed only after I have my initials hiccups with the gas knob, and not before ajji has to walk all the way in , a little irksome at my incompetence at the simplest act of making tea.

Time melts here , from one moment to the next and before you know it, it is either lunchtime or teatime or dinner time.(although I must admit, dinner time comes a little slower than the rest). It is calm after a heavy downpour of rains yesterday and the town seems to be in calm slumber. I make my routine trip upto Maneshwara. Quiet and ever lashing, the sea is still there. The beach is still awaiting consumption by the July monsoons. The tiny people are there, screaming at the sheer joy of being in the sea. As always, their voices travel much louder and clearer over the long distance compared to the scale of their sizes from the distance. Everything seems just the same.

Once back, Protima Bedi’s memoirs “timepass” makes me wonder if its an appropriate book for the landscape around me. Scandalous, overtly cathartic and immensely indulgent, the book seems some different alien mind zone from the mind zone of small seaside pilgrim town that is my native town. Nevertheless, I manage to finish the entire reading within the next day, partly out of the fact that it is fast reading and has some juicy insight, and partly because I want it to be out of my way , so that I wont be left disturbed by the dichotomy of the world inside the book and that around me and can enjoy my home.

Up on Ramateertha, the mineral water spring is gushing with monsoon effervescence. Clad in just towels, some pilgrims are bathing free and without a care. I avoid looking , and proceed up to the concrete deck, that for once seems to be the only concrete creation in the town that seems to make sense in serving a purpose. There is a magical spectacle in the sky, as it turns dark and stormy as the rain clouds charge towards me. One has the rare privilege at sea to see the rain clouds bring the menace slowly from the distance; so the element of timing ones run to a shelter offers some excitement and gameplay. That is exactly what I do; wait till the point where the rain curtain is just few kms away.. and then make a dash for home – some sort of mental race with the rain.

Don’t we all do it? Race with the sunrays through the window, race with the seconds hand of the clock, race with the street dog who doesn’t really care ; mental races.

The following morning, I wake up at 5 am and watch a full bloom moon shedding its beautiful moon rays onto the sea waves. The sea gleams silver, ethereal and unearthly.

It is more of the light falling all around that is mesmerizing than the tiny shiny dot itself.

It is like the Midas touch. Moon rays turn everything they touch to ether. I go back to sleep with ethereal dreams.

9th june

My early morning walking circuit takes me up the hill to Maneshwara, across the hill to Ramteertha, and down the hill to the beach. A foreigner dressed in a yellow cotton shirt and an orange dhoti is sitting at Maneshwara, puffing a cigarette and watching the sea. He looks at me in my boyish red capris walking up the steps, and give me a perplexed smile. Perhaps , he expected a more stereotyped Indian in the setup. I have half the mind to ask him , whether they had the audacity to smoke in their churches too.

I carry on. It is just the beginning of monsoon, so all around the yellow grass has just turned lush green , but not grown long enough for snakes to play hide and seek in them. Therefore, I can walk without being scared of being bitten by a snake and dying in obscurity. The super tall network signal pole (or is it the lightening conductor pole?), stands tall perfectly balanced with its radial chords holding it down , like a captive hero in a movie. There was a feast of tiny cute green birds perched on this pole net, flocks of them, the last time I saw. Watchable yet, unreachable. This time it is barren. There are none of the green wonders to see , only those hidden chirps from the forest , with their own symphony making the silence of the acacia forest a happy silence and not the silence of a graveyard.

As I climb down to the beach, I realize how, everytime, the waves and the sand manage to surprise you. Yet, the surprise is shortlived. Soon , I am a part of it all and no longer a distant object. With sand in my hems and bag pockets, I decide to drop in to check if the little wise one, Chaya and her little devil sister Chaitra are at home.

As I peep in from the porch, out the head pop, one in a frock (as she has not yet got her new school uniform) and the other in her navy blue school dress, getting ready for school. I am reminded of that feeling that comes with morning and school . the little churning in the stomach even if you know you have finished your homework. That feeling of leaving your workbook at home or , wearing the wrong uniform on the wrong day.

They are the same. They haven’t changed. Not even in size. I am quite relieved inside. I have always dreaded coming back to odd grown up freaks turned out of the kids I left behind. They feed me good breakfast and send me home with a nice big jackfruit from their garden.

They have promised they will come after school , in the evening. I will wait.

I have just finished reading “timepass”. It is a thunderous book and sure to leave any reader a little dazed. It walks the thin line , at the heavy risk of sounding very exhibitionistic and repetitive. The core, the sentiments and the essence of the book is very familiar, appealing to my sensibility and quite amusing. The only thing that beyond my rational understanding is her need for the indispensable male company. I like the letters she writes to her son Siddharth, who later committed suicide away from home. The letters contain the sensitivity and sense that feels so right and positive and parental.

10th june

It is the most pleasant morning. I wake to the voice of my moon; it is music to my ears and resounds long after. The beach is breezy and afloat with my joy.

In my red capris, I get the wild thought of a bull coming charging towards me and tossing me by its horns! Such filmi thoughts cross my mind often.

Two letchers on the beach jeer and smile. I stare back indignantly and the shameless jerk smiles! Now, I am the stupid one to have given such impudence even some notice; shouldn’t have. The beach is infested with such pests. I move on.

Walks on the beach are inherently set to an inherent rhythm of a stroll with necessary pauses and waits. They are far from the fitness regimen workouts with nike shoes on. I find myself smiling so many times. I wish one could telepathically connect. The waves seen from up Bharatgudi hypnotize one into a pin drop stance. Each waves with its white foam trail carries along my palpitating breath and lulls it into a slow rhyme of a steady nothingness. A marine blue kingfisher wakes me up in its flight. It is time to get back to real time.

11th june

Chaitra comes home, hopping in her anklets in her new frock. It is her sister’s birthday, and I am called to go for a small simple cake cutting ceremony. The birthday girl is in a salwar kameez, busy with her dupatta. On the beach we play ice and water. I run like a child. I don’t seem so bad at the game after all. Spoorthi’s dogs come and join us. One is Raja , the old guy, the other is Pinky, the doe eyed furry tailed daughter of his, and the other is Gunda , her new found goy friend. I hear, that Raja is not on barking terms with his wife, Rani anymore. Sad , indeed.

Chaitra is a funny kid. She suffers a little from the over-shadowed syndrome. Always in comparison with her bright talented sister, she seems complexed about her lack of talent. But she is the caring endearing one, who shares her chocolates with all, clings on to you and plays the wannabe big sister. While Spoorthi and Chaya dance and sing perfectly, she watches on silently, thinking hard ,as to what she can do to impress me. ultimately, she recites an English poem for me. Charming. The little bunch is an immense package of pure joy.

13th june.

As I pack my bags and sit in the verandah in the dusky sunshine of the evening, all I do is soak in every detail around me. Every little movement, every distant sound, every inch of the canvas before me, and every breath of my dear ajji ; as I leave her alone, sitting in the verandah under the newly repaired incandescent street light , waving back at me.


Prateek said...

wonderful.. words as good and effective as the sketches below.. very poetic n picturesque.. waiting for more portraits of gokarna which has taken a fictional form like 'malgudi' for us readers.. :)

ಸಿಂಧು Sindhu said...


the post is so good. my visit to Gokarna was very short and it was quite long ago.. and as usual it was the schooltrip turned pilgrimage.. :)
I have heard,read n felt G from Jayanth so many times.. and your account surpass everything i know about Gokarna. The ethereal moonrays and the beauty pictured in your words are like the reader herself looking out of the window..
Thanks a lot for such a beautiful writing. Please do update the blog.

And not the least..
Congratulations for the Project Award.


SuZ said...

Hi Srajana,

Got your blog's link from Sindhu.
The description of Gokarna and the monsoon is magnificent. This brings back the memories of the day at Om beach where I spent hours looking at the gray clouds engulfing the horizon with sun playing Hide n Seek and the ever churning sea. Thanks for bringing back the memories

The sketches are very interesting, esp. the 'crossed legs'.