Jan 8, 2012

By the beach

Every time I go to Chennai I dream of going for a morning walk on beach road. After many many years finally I managed to do that, more than once, this time. Walking on beach road in Chennai early in the morning ought to be listed in hundred things to do in India before you die. It was amazing to have the wind against my face and the music of the waves as I walked about four kilometers each day.

Starting from the lighthouse, as you walk towards the Marina swimming pool, past the wide road you have the stately buildings on your left and the vast sandy beach on your right. The sun fresh from the east shines upon your face and the cawing of the crows fills the air. As you walk past the various statues, you could almost loose yourself in stories from the past. You have Kannagi to think about feminism and terrorism, you have Gandhi to wonder about salt and swadeshi, you have Pope to wonder about the power of language and assimilation. I wondered if anyone would care to unveil a statue of Ovvaiyar these days - we don't know her religion or caste [let me not be loud, someone might claim her], or let unveil the statue of G.U. Pope. There should be walking tours in beach road.

By the third day the waves got ferocious and for the first time I saw the sandy parts of the beach filled with water. Thane showed its might and I could feel the power of nature.

In between on a sunny day I drove down by beach road to Mahabalipuram. It was hot and crowded and I felt thoroughly tired and low.  One of the unsung victim of over population is the wide open spaces - I felt like mourning the lack of an imaginative setting that is a must for viewing the old structures of Mahabalipuram. I guess short of the Pantheon, Mahabalipuram is probably  the oldest structures I have ever visited. [Stonehenge wouldn't qualify :)] It is such a fantastic example of man's triumph over nature I thought as the waves crashed against the rocks close to the temple and the salty air that swept the carvings. I should read my copy of Periplus again.

January 08, 2012