My God!" I mourned. The clock showed 7'o clock when I woke up from my siesta. If I had slept more, I would have really regretted it. Without going out on the weekend, it is not possible to start afresh on Monday. There would be some mental block, some disappointment. Already the day had passed by without any fun for me, cooped up alone in my room. My room mates had gone to spend the holidays at home.
The tea was not good. Though the warmth helped me to shake away the drowsiness caused by a heavy lunch and nap. I wore a casual shirt and formal trousers (have to wash plenty of clothes, no water!).'
Marina,' Chennai beloved beach, was filled with charm. It was 8 p.m. but still I could see a good crowd, a blend of rich and poor; young and old; men and women; people of all religion. It is the only place where fun is assured for all, whatever their socio-economic status. Where people do not exhibit their status. Where all the entertainment comes free of cost. Everyone keen on having fun without worrying about the people around them or what they did.
I started walking along the beach. Passed big families sitting on bed-spreads, eating home-made delicacies, gossiping, laughing, kids monkeying. Passed tiny families, couples on romantic tête-à-têtes unmindful of what their children were doing. Passed gangsters teasing passers-by and fighting among themselves. Passed boys playing volleyball. Passed ice cream vendors and 'fast-food stalls.' Reached that dark area reserved for pairs. Some looked married, some unmarried, some decently behaved and some indecent (may be I am old fashioned).
Bought a cone of boiled peanuts. Nibbling on them, I walked among the crowd, sometimes casually looking up at the sky or looking at the waves, sometimes even closely watching what the pairs were doing. As I am used to seeing such scenes, I was not disturbed by them, though I couldn't help watching them deliberately. Yes, it might be a little crass, but I am curious. If they are not shy of making love in public, why should I feel embarrassed to watch what they do? Passed those pairs too.
Walked farther with the ultimate goal of tiring myself out. As a software engineer, I had to physically tire myself out at least once a week, to get good sleep and maintain good health.
I bet I was the only one alone on the beach. Recently I have started worrying about the loneliness. I am used to spending time alone, even entertaining myself. Never before have I missed company. Back home I would go to movies and parks on my own. When those memories struck my mind, I turned towards the sea. I decided to have some fun on the shore and walked fast. I walked almost 2 kms. Breathing fast I sat down on the shore. There were people sitting on the shore, on the catamarans (I have a deep desire to travel on one of them) and playing with the waves.
"Sir, sundal," a hawker disturbed me. A "No" came from my subconscious mind.
The waves were too quick. The sea was a little ferocious. I haven't seen the sea like that before. The wind blew with great force. The new moon day was only a couple of days ago. There was an even trail between the darkness showered by the sky and the 'floodlights' from the roadside. I finished my peanuts. I could no longer just watch the marvelous scenery. I entered the inviting waves. Every wave was overcome by a successive one. But the waves were not high enough to touch my knees. I moved further into the water. I felt like I was being healed. After a while, I thought it was time. I decided to walk back to the lighthouse.
To immerse myself further into the joy, I chose to walk along the shore. I always enjoy walking on the beach bare-footed, my footwear hanging from my fingers. It feels like mild acupressure. The waves touched my legs and receded. Again they reached me and departed from me. Only then did I see the crackers lighting up the sky, with some attention. The people of the nearby colony were celebrating Vinayaka Chathurthi. The flowers of fire appeared suddenly with great thuds and made the stars look dim, then slowly submerged into the sky.
This time I passed the scattered people playing enthusiastically with the waves, trying to go into the water, neglecting the warnings of elders. The sea was fierce then. I walked through the crowd again. This time with a smile on my face, a symbol of a satisfied mind. For no reason I smiled at the kids and cuddled them in my mind. Reached my room. I could still hear the sounds of celebration from the beach. I had to cook myself some dinner.
The FM radio beside my pillow was still playing when the newspaper came flying through the window!