‘Bonding With The Beach’ by Jeethu Vijayan

Until I became a big boy, I had to literally beg my parents to take me to the beach. But when I grew up, I left my hometown, and I missed the beach terribly.

Everyone will have some places that he/she cherish about in life. A place which has a special place in one’s heart, filled with memories and emotions. I have a place too. The one place which has been prominent in my life since I can remember…

A beach hardly 2 Kilometers from home. I do remember this beach from even my vague memories of childhood. I used to ask my parents to build a house close to the beach so that we can play around whenever we felt like. They ignored my kiddy wish, but only after many years did we know that this place would become one of the most sought after beach destinations across the globe. As a kid, like everyone, I was mesmerized with the sight of sea. Back then, going to the beach was like winning over the World. The waves crashing in, the salty cool breeze on the face, the cold water literally draining the sand below the feet. Time used to fly away like anything then and I didn’t want to go back home. We used to write names and words on the sand to see the water coming in to wash them away. And I always wanted big waves. I wished those roaring waves remained big when they get closer… There is a small stream which flows into the sea which seems to change its course every other day. One day it seems to flow vertically down into the waves and the next day it slightly slants and gets horizontal…

Yes that’s Me and my Mom.

Until I became a big boy, I had to literally beg my parents to take me to the beach. But when I grew up, I left my hometown, and I missed the beach terribly. I still remember, when in school, I’d take the map of India and mark my beach on it and show others, telling them how much I missed it. For me that was the best beach ever..!

Sorry I still didn’t tell you which beach I have been going gaga over. I live at Varkala, Trivandrum and obviously am talking about the famed Papanasam beaches of Varkala. Varkala beach is geographically unique because of the presence of red cliffs facing the ocean. And there is a nonstop spring coming out of the rocky cliff which has been there since a long long time and is believed to have medicinal powers. It is also a source of drinking water for many people living in the vicinity.

The Janardana Swamy Temple situated a stone’s throw away from the beach is quite well known in the pilgrim circuits and a majority of the devotees visiting the temple makes sure they visit the beach too. The beach bears religious significance among Hindus as it’s one of the prominent centres of Bali tarpanam or the offerings for the departed souls. Thousands flock to the beach for the Karkidaka Vavu Bali.

The beach is an icon of pride and a very significant part of life which evokes nostalgia for everyone who has grown up at this place. My friend and neighbor Karthik Mohan says that the beach brings back memories of the old summer holidays with his cousins. He says they regularly used to bathe in the beach and then take a shower at the medicinal spring below the cliff… The Sea-Spring  Sea- Spring routine as he says is something worth trying out! When he tells me “After travelling to many attractive beaches across the World, Papanasam still brings in a feeling of belonging and comfort which the other beaches fail to”, I totally agree.

The vicissitudes of time has changed the very quiet hamlet of beach and coconut trees into a melting pot of resorts, ayurvedic centers and vendors, eying the business potential possibly from the thousands of domestic and international tourists. The coconut trees in the cliffs have made way for parking areas and construction sites.  Varkala is more or less following the path of Kovalam and Goa with souvenir shops, sea food restaurants, massage parlours etc mushrooming everywhere along the region.. But the beach here will always be a charmer! The ever increasing numbers of tourists and local visitors are proof for that.

Sitting on a bench atop the Red cliffs at an evening, looking at the horizon, one feels like the ocean, the sky and the clouds glisten like a painter’s strokes on the canvas and the setting Sun adding colors of life to it.  And the evenings attract many professional photographers who spend quality time to capture the enchanting moments… And Nature turns its best!

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