"The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude."
~ Kate Chopin, The Awakening
I have grown up by the sea, the Bay of Bengal to be precise. Over the years, I have seen its many moods and musings, albeit in flashes. As a child the beach would be my vast playground, never-ending and always welcoming, dotted with a treasure trove of white and brown shells. As I grew up, the sea ceased to be a playmate and unmasked its willful, mature face. A little daunted and defeated at first, I gradually learnt to unearth that characteristic loneliness that the sea alone brings with it. It's a different feel altogether, churning marvel and mystery, scratching sealed old wounds open yet pacifying your most loathsome fears - all at the same time.
Always a biased admirer of the mountains, over time, the sea somehow grew on me. On sultry summer evenings, I would secretly wish to be left alone by my garrulous cousins on a beach outing, so that I could bottle its hum and roar and bring back its salty seductiveness with me. Today I long for such a visit.
Why am I talking of the sea today? Because despite the fortnight's vacation in my home state, I could not visit Puri, the famous tourist magnet of eastern India where the devotees of Lord Jagannath throng the brackish shores to end their pilgrimage. In a ritual-like regularity, every summer I would visit my grandparents even if it was just for a day. Thus I turned to list the things that I missed for the third consecutive summer and while my aunt's spicy prawn curry topped the chart, the beach began to haunt me like never before. Like a gush of warm blood, the memories of innumerable summer vacations flooded my thoughts. And now, amid all the crazy running around for the new home, I long for its reassuring lull; to sit near the waves and immerse myself into their monotonous drone; to bury my rues and regrets into its dark, greedy expanse; and above all, to reach out to that bittersweet loneliness.
How I long for all these and much more, in some corner of my tired heart.