An Evening At Kovalam

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From Trivandrum railway station it took us a 30-minute auto-ride to reach Kovalam beach. We had a room reserved in a PWD guest-house with a view of the cobalt blue sea-water and the Light House beach.

There was a short-cut to the famed beach from the guesthouse. But the first time, we walked a few minutes down the road before alighting the steep steps to the shore front.

All along the paved road skirting the beach stood shops selling seashells jewelry, beachwear, bags and accessories, footwear, handicraft, spices and many more. We browsed mostly except for the small gifts we picked up for friends and relatives back home.

But what really attracted us were the sea-facing eateries, a cluster of them, having open counters on which lay gasping fish of different colours and sizes, most of which I’d never seen before. Besides fully grown Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, and Mullet there were Black Pomfret, Red Snapper, Striped Bonito, and yes, Tiger Prawn, glittering in the late afternoon sun.

Just like the great pleasure of watching your favourite sport without actually taking part in it, one could quietly revel in this spectacular show of nature’s bounty without really partaking of one’s favourite species! Attached to the counter was a live kitchen where they were cooking in full view the catch chosen by their customers.

The Kovalam beach shops never run short of such exotic fish which are in great demand among the foreign and native tourists who throng the place all year round.

Sitting at a dine-out restaurant, I saw the sun sinking in the Arabian Sea. There was another show going on in the sea not too far from the shoreline, which was vying for attention.

A motley group of young, mostly local, surfing enthusiasts were showing off their skills. They waded a little distance into the sea, waited for a steep wave to rise, and then caught the crest on their boards. The waves surged to the shore bringing the surfers along.

Sometimes they failed to ride the waves and went under, but only to emerge after a few seconds.

This is exactly what happens in life, I thought. At each bend there is a challenge lying in wait. Sometimes we tackle it successfully. But when we fail to meet it head on, which may be often the case, let us not despair.

Let us accept it, relax and move on like those young surfers. It was then the lines by Louisa May Alcott came to mind: “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”

First published in The Statesman

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