Some people instinctively seek a water vacation, when it comes to taking time off. Why is that so? Is it because water is a symbol of regeneration, rejuvenation and renewal? And the best part is that God has given it to us for free. Personally, I find Rishikesh magical. I have revelled in every spiritual moment of the Ganga aarti that devotees offer so graciously to Ma Ganga. I have sat, trancelike, watching lit diyas waft their way down the swift currents of this glorious, life-giving river.
I have also sat for hours, in sand-speckled plastic chairs at Goa’s Baga beach, staring out at the wild blue yonder, watching the sunlight shimmer on those ever-moving, ever-churning sea waves that break out into ethereal sprays of surf as they hit the sand. There is a certain rumble that you can associate with the sea ― a kind of distant hum of the waves — a mesmerising, cosmic hum that plays on and on — eternal, and never out of tune. The sea in most places is never gentle, but it is not angry either. It just reminds you that the world is immense — and you are, but a speck in it.
Several years ago, I recall my little son and me playing on the sands of Muscat’s Azaiba Beach with a giant red beach ball. We played safely on the beach, just wading in a bit to retrieve the ball if it fell into the shallow water. But a wave caught us unawares and away the red ball went, bobbing on the waves. We went after it, but gave up within half a minute as a wave came rushing back to the shore.
We watched the ball drift away peacefully into the distance until it was a small red speck in the vast ocean. There were no tears from my son, even as the ball drifted further and further away out of reach. The ocean was mighty, and we, were but two tiny specks of sand on the shore watching the eternal play of surf and sand.
Once, just as soon as we got into Goa, after the scenic drive from its airport to Baga in north Goa, we sat down at a shack that had its chairs close to the edge of the water line. As we bit into our hot pakoras, it was time for high tide and every minute or so, the swirling waters would rush in to wash our sandy feet — a happy memory that I just can’t seem to get out of my mind.
I know of plenty others who go to Goa year after year. People never seem to tire of this great gift from Mother Nature.
The ocean has fascinated me ever since I had my first view of the magnificent sea, at a time when I was no more than nine or ten years old. We had driven out to Surat from Ahmedabad and it was in the fading evening light that I first saw the sea ― at once so plain, yet so magnificently calm and unbroken; the sight left me spellbound. Never before had I seen such an endless expanse of an undefinable shade of blue, complete with a solitary lighthouse in sight.
God meant for us to gaze and contemplate upon water — for why else would he give 70.8 per cent of space on earth to water? It sustains life and there is not a thing you can do without it — it’s something you reach out for instinctively, morning, noon and night. It makes up a huge chunk of our body too. It’s cleansing, purifying, nurturing, and life-giving. It makes sense, then, to pitch in to save our rivers, seas and lakes from environmental pollution and ensure that they never dry up.
Let’s pledge to take care of our water bodies from now on. I count myself lucky that from time to time, I get a chance to go back to the sea — to take in its breathtaking, aquamarine, azure colours — whether watching tiny fish swim in-between your legs in the incredibly clear waters of some seas ― in Mauritius or the very blue colours of the sea at Kovalam. It’s such images that make the trip to the beach worthwhile, never mind the gritty sand that you have to plonk through to get to the water and back. It’s part of the package and more than welcome!