Tuesday, April 02, 2013

silvery waves

It was close to 10.30 at night. We were in the middle of our Goa trip. In the summer, the nights are active and days are for slumber. Plans were been made for dinner, as one by one everyone was returning from the beach hangout.

I saw the gap and nicked the Royal Enfield Bullet's key. Oh, the bike was none of ours. It was taken on rent, and we had quite a big fight during the day on who gets to ride it. The poor guy who has ordered a bullet was ultimately given the advantage of sympathy. In a moment of his weakness, the key was in my hand. I had a window of about one hour, but the fuel was dangerously low.

I had to take it out of the north part of Goa and onto the petrol pump in Panaji road, a good 10 minutes away. And I came back as my mind was set on a target in the opposite side. I had stumbled upon this gem of a beach after lunch, like all treasure finders do. All I remember was some landmarks, without any clear idea of location or distance. But thanks to the straight roads, and simple directions, I was soon thumping on my bullet, learning to control the behemoth at full throttle.

Weaving around the crazy drunken crowd on the road, I managed to reach my destination without much delay- Sinquerim Beach. I don't recall too many features of it, except what I engraved in my mind. A long wall of the fort encircling the Taj Vivanta on the seaside, and a major bastion jutting out into the sea. The beautiful beach on the right side was always peaceful and serene, even with the evening crowd. Now, at this time of the night, there wasn't a soul in sight.

I rode my bike in and parked it with a satisfied smile. I had another 20 minutes in my hands, and no one knew where I was. So I quickly informed one of the guys about my whereabouts and came to know the guys were being mustered to leave. It was still in 'mustering' stage. So I knew I had more time than expected. But I had to get to business.

There was an eerie silence near the fort. But I could clearly hear the distant roar of the waves as they hit upon the strong bastion and broke apart. The waves were stronger than they were in the day time. The full moon was up and cast long shadows along the bastion walls and through windows slits. As I walked closer, I realized the full beauty of what lay ahead.

I immediately regretted not having had more time and not having come here ever before in my life. Unlike the other beaches where the same moon shone and the same sea roared in, this beach somehow had more life and more solitude. The other beaches looked crowded even at midnight, with all the abandoned sand beds,umbrellas,tents and boats stacked up near a long line of shacks closed for the night.

I had this uncomfortable feeling in the bottom of my heart until then. This was my first time in Goa, and on a bullet, and here I was, 10kms from all my friends, without their knowledge, at midnight, all by myself wandering near a completely empty beach. One wrong step on the bastions would land me into the hard rocks below and my body won't be found until the day after and identification might take even longer. Goa isn't exactly crime free either. I was fully aware of these implications while I continued strolling up the bastion walls and climbing the rocks in the dark. Staring into the roaring waves underneath only caused more fear. The sea had climbed much more inwards than I recalled.

It was like a beautiful seductress pulling me to her like a magnet. I didn't stop until I was right on top of the bastion and then I cleared my head and came down to a safer position, realizing that I could very well fall over in case sleep or absent mindedness took over. It was then I realized that I wasn't completely alone there. It gave me the creeps when my ears registered the scuffled sounds around me.

I think I turned quite fast to see who was there, and it startled the person standing next to me. He was a burly man with a long rod in his hands. We exchanged stares for sometime before I realized he wasn't dangerous and the rod in his hands was for fishing. I chuckled at the thought of fishing in such a violent beach location. I wondered which fish would be swimming in those violent waves that were bombarding the bastion. He too would have wondered what this lone guy would be doing at that time of the night in that location, that too without either a girl,a bottle or a fishing rod. I imagine he would have eyed me more suspiciously than I did him. Suicide cases aren't so strange in those parts.

I identified a couple of his friends perched in the shadowy corners of the bastion trying their lucks with the rods, as I walked around the round shaped bastion to get to the side of the beach. I sat on the walls and tried to take in the view. It was overwhelmingly soothing while being highly thrilling. There was so much to do, so much to take in. I felt like an empty container which could take in the entire sea. I restrained myself and just sank into the hypnotic undulating ocean of silver.

The moonlit sky was somewhere joining the ocean of silvery waves and from there the glittering waves came crashing one after the other on the boulders at the foot of the bastion, or on its strong walls, or simply wash over the beach making new wet shapes before going back, all spent. I must have sat there for a full half an hour, before I realized I should get moving or be left behind. As I was getting up to move, I almost froze and lost my balance, swaying half way over the boulders 10 feet below. There were two white shapes barely moving in the window slit directly below me. It took me a few seconds to register that a couple was seated right below where I was , and were involved in deep yet silent conversation. Their reaction too was of momentary shock. I decided it was time to walk away, and walk away I did, physically from the location, but my heart and mind still stays there.

Sinquerim Beach- as seen and photographed in daytime
For, every night after that I get pangs to walk out, ride out or simply peek out at the moonlit skies. Maybe it's the heat of the summer which is keeping me awake every night past midnight, or maybe its something more. I know not of what happened that day, but I do know that the world doesn't seem to be the way I knew of it any more.

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