I am inclined to beaches for reasons unknown and frequent them a lot: at least once in a week, mostly in the weekend evenings. I’m also an advocate of promoting Beach as the best economical, natural and peaceful place to visit if you’re someone looking for a quick relaxation after a busy week. For a layman like me – Beaches never bore, they never become familiar and they never fail to fascinate.
I do not spend more than 100 rupees for a beach plan which includes 50/- for fuel (it is around 20 kilometers from my home and I take my two wheeler) and 50/- on snacks. I spend around an hour in a beach. Add to that an hour and a half of travel time, my complete outing takes two and a half hours on a weekend. The 60 minutes at beach is spent in a 20-20-20 split up.
The first 20 minutes – I park my bike, take a quick walk onto the platform (which is a good 200 meters away from the shore), buy a snack, stroll on the sands, note variety of people thronging, look at all the shops providing everything from food to games, stand so near to the sea that waves please my feet with calm yet chilling water.
The next 20 – I spend sitting on the shore, gazing at the sky, waves and people. I think. I think imaginatively, think vastly; I feel like an alchemist, only that I am not one.
The last 20 minutes – just like the first 20, I walk back to my bike repeating the same things I had been doing until then.
My usual and best pass-time, or you can even call this a hobby is categorizing the different kinds of people who come to Beach for umpteen reasons, some known and some unknown, some clear and some bleak, some novel and some interesting.
Many are quite acquainted with Beach and I do not want to kill time talking about how beautiful it is or what are the shops you can find along. I’d rather write about the classification of visitors (this is from my personal experiences and not to be taken as a global opinion. Even this list will not name the most common varieties). If you are able to relate to it, well and good. If you’re not able to, try finding them next time. If you feel there are more, feel free to add to the points.
1a. A family of four (parents and two little children probably 6-10 year old) enjoying the sea from a safe distance, making sand houses.
1b. A huge joint-family of 10 or more, aged between five and 50, sitting on a big widespread mat and all (irrespective of age) playing games that we once played when we were 10 years old. (I am jealous of their childish selves, for I want to be a kid again)
1c. Another big family (probably arriving by a cab/van) all standing together, holding hands forming a chain, on the shore, making Aaahs and Ooohhs as the waves hit their feet, completely lost in the moments.
2a. Gang of friends playing a game of football or volleyball (or even cricket rarely). Profusely sweating and cherishing the same.
2b. Another group of friends sitting on platform far away from sea who feel uncomfortable to utter “maanga” (Tamil word for mango) though being native Tamil speakers that they converse in English or half-broken Tamil with the vendors who are mostly non English-speaking.
2c. Peers who have come here from other states for studies or work and staying in their hostels/paying guesthouses. They try to enjoy the new place with lots of wandering and photos.
2d. A group of close area-friends (from same neighborhood) sitting in dark, with bottles of liquor and cigarettes.
2e. Old friends in their 60’s taking a leisurely stroll and doing routine exercises.
2f. The Suave men making a stylish entry in a car, music banging loud enough to rouse the energy levels. Oppa Gangnam Style!
3a. Couples who sit on the platform, close together, discussing their families and love stories.
3b. Couples sitting in the vicinity of the tall lights and enjoying the pep talk.
3c. Couples sitting outside the vicinity of that light (in complete darkness) so that they can immerse in intimacy without being noticed.
3d. Couples who patiently wait for already occupied ‘3c’ class (mentioned above) to vacate so that they can fill the voids.
3e. Couples who prefer to not get outside their cars, windows rolled up, AC on and enjoy their ice creams.
4a. A solo boy/girl sitting alone enjoying solitude.
4b. Another solo man looking at others longingly for want of friends.
4c. A lonely guy lying down listening to some random love-failure song blaring through his mobile loudspeakers.
5a. Pair of friends who take fun disturbing those intimate couples in action. (Don’t get your thoughts wrong, by “disturbing” I just mean they walk around making it uncomfortable, nothing more.)
5b. Pair of friends who retake photos of each other with the beach at the background not knowing that with a normal mobile cam it is not possible to get a clear shot without sufficient lighting.
I myself fit into more than one aforementioned categories. Same shall be the case with many. Some fit into none, may be. To me, Beach is not a place, it is a separate planet. I’d continue to visit, continue to analyse and continue to add to this list.