Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sea



"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.

6 comments:

  1. Hello Suman:
    What a beautifully lyrical account of the sea and your childhood memories. How exotic it all sounds when the sea to which you refer is the Bay of Bengal when, for us, it is all too often the English Channel!

    We too love the sea in all its moods. Indeed, perhaps it has most appeal for us in winter when it is at its most menacing.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance,

      Thank you so much for that lovely feedback. True, the menace is beautiful too; its somber mood appeals the most to me, when it is the most still.
      And I would love to visit the English Channel one day!

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  2. Hello Suman. I have grown up by the sea too, the Mediterranean sea. In everyday life, I don’t pay attention to it but I like its presence. Maybe it’s a cliché but it’s synonymous with travel and freedom.

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    1. I absolutely agree with that, Celine. It's everything about freedom, being free-spirited and without any boundaries. I like how you think of it as a 'presence'.

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  3. Beautiful post. I hope that you are able to visit once you are settled.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope for the same too.

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