A tourist in my own country?


Her sari was bright, like a few jumbled prints.He sister’s sari was brighter with stripes of printed juxtaposition. The child’s clothes were not left, they were equally demanding in visual attention.

They stood like a monument at side of the dusty Odisha village road, attempting to cross their road overtaken by the city traffic moving outwards at the beginning of the Christmas weekend.

“Perhaps this is what tourists think about when they think about India.” I thought.

This bold combination worn by simple village ladies is actually called “Kitsch” and has fattened the wallets of many Indian and foreign designers. It is remarkable how the scenary changes every few kilometers in India. 100 kms back, I was in Calcutta and the colours were muted and the skins were darker.

Then we moved west and the bright saris and bright homes dotted all alongside the periphery. Its a big indicator of the community of the towns and villages of India. While modern cities mainly look like cousins or replicas of each other, its the small town which preserves the communal heritage, language, script and customs.

And we city people, are but tourists in our own country!


The receding beach of Chandipur

When we reached Chandipur; a beach spot on the coastal state of Odisha; at lunch, our first expectation was to see and touch the warm waters. We walked down the steps to the beach, ready to wet our feet…

But where was the water?

We walked ahead towards the sea, a km, ….still no water…strange! The beach was wet and scattered with a million tiny shells glistening on the surface and a unique crisscross pattern impressed on the muddy surface.

Soon the mystery was solved. Chandipur, the guard informed us, has a miraculous tide. Twice in a day the water recedes upto 4 kilometers, leaving behind a muddy residue of its offerings from the sea. So every twelve hours you can walk kilometers on the beach bed, towards the sea, and back. To experience the water, we went to the watch tower at 10:30 pm, yes we would hear the waves splash furiously on the walls. Next morning around ten, in a very foggy mist, we braved to touch the silvery water.

You, nature, are miraculous.