A day well spent warrants a good night’s sleep.
And sleep, I did, till almost noon.
Aah, I haven’t done that in a millenium. My brain’s programmed to wake up at 8 am or latest by 9, and if my brain malfunctions, the din created by the family and maids at home invites the same consequence.
I munched on some cookies and Bhakarwadi that I’d carried from Pune, and looked through my diary. Chunnambar beckoned. Apparently it was a resort of some sort situated on Cuddalore Road, and there was a beach (“Paradise beach”) so I put my swimming gear into my backpack and set off.
This venue lies over 8 kms from Ginger, and I hired an auto to drop me there for INR 100. The drive was nice, the road and traffic on the way was fairly decent. But what disappointed me was my first look of the resort.
Cut the resort bull****, the place lay in ruins! There was a dilapidated building that held the tag of “Restaurant”, there was a tree-house that looked cute but scary, and there was a kiddie playground with swings and the sort. A little ahead were the facilities for boating, and that was all. I couldn’t believe this place had been suggested to me by a dear friend.
I took my chance. Having come here so far, I wasn’t going to return having seen nothing. So, I booked myself on one of the motor boats that ferried people to and from Paradise Beach. I had to wait until 5 or more people came aboard, so I lunched on eatable Egg Fried rice and tasty Fish and Chips at the obnoxious restaurant, as there was no other option.
Appearances are deceptive, I’d heard before. And it’s true! The moment we left the resort on the boat, the scenery transformed. It was like nothing I’d seen before. I have been to Goa and the South when I was young, and I’ve done boating several times in the past in different regions, but the backwaters were a novel sight for me. The ripples in the water looked gorgeous, and the coconut trees lining the coastline were breathtaking. Speedboats whizzed past making our boat bob in the water, and a stretch of sand visible in the distance looked alluring and soothing. This was so completely worth the 75 bucks I had paid for the boatride.
What greeted us at the other end was as splendid as a fairy tale. There was a tiny shack and nothing else as far as we could see (naturally apart from a few boats). The sand was clean and soft, and the water was sparkling like raw diamonds. Unfortunately, swimming or wading deep into the sea was not allowed, so I had to lay my enthusiasm to rest and just amble on the seashore that was kissed by the waves every few seconds. That did not deter me really; I found delight in building my castle of dreams.
OK I know that is an exaggeration, but I sure enjoyed caressing the sand and adorning it with shells as I built a fortress that withstood the tidal assault. Creating something is so beautiful - be it a baby or a sand castle, it’s such an exhilarating feeling. Sigh.
Our return trip was due in about 45 minutes, so I left footprints in the sand (literally!) and took snaps of the cute kids and magnificent panorama. How I wish I could build a little house of my own here, a refuge in times of trials and frustration...
After returning to my hotel, I decided it was high time I caught up on my reading, so out came the Sidney Sheldon double novel I’d saved specially for this trip. My favorite SS thriller remains Tell Me Your Dreams as it is linked to psychology and personality disorders, but I can’t say I’ve read her much otherwise. This particular book I had, had 2 stories – The Naked Face and Memories of Midnight. I began with the Naked Face, and need I tell you that the novel had me captivated right from the first page?! It is quite predictable given our exposure to crime and wit in the 21st century, but still I found the story enthralling. Some writers are so gifted that they can make the most mundane of tales extraordinary. Sidney, you are one of them. Well done!
The book kept me engrossed well beyond evening, and then I had to think of a place to have din din. I thought I’d roam around Dumas Street in the area called White Town, and perch at any place that seemed agreeable.
Le Terrasse. I’d read the name in the tourist brochure I’d obtained at Le Café. But I hadn’t put it on my planner. Nevertheless, I walked in and saw the place brimming with foreigners who were digging into their Continental, Italian and Chinese food. Pizza… A nice, crunchy, cheesy one with mushrooms and corn... Slurp! Who’s taking my order, fellas?
The ambience resembled that of a college canteen, complete with plastic chairs and wooden tables. The food was ok, the service was good, and the price was great. After dinner, I took a walk on the beachfront and treated myself to some Butter Scotch sundae at a fresh Italian ice-cream joint. (Well, the board said so, I did not find anything exceptionally “fresh” or “Italian” about the ice cream.)
Friday tomorrow. The end of the week for professionals. Almost the end of my vacation. Time, can you hold still for a while…?
Doesn’t… Never has…