2005 – 2007, my years of absolute freedom and joblessness in Singara Chennai. Well, I did have a job, a good one and a fun one. But by ‘jobless’ I mean… those chunks of time you have in hand and do not know what to do with it when you are unmarried.
My hostel and workplace were situated on either ends of the Marina beach. On most mornings, my hostel friend Jane (wonder where she is? She was an amazing girl!) and I would go for a long walk along the beach at 6 am. Let me tell you that’s the best time to visit Marina as the crowds are far lesser and the early morning sun shimmering on the see is a spectacle one mustn’t miss! And oh the sight of the fishermen returning from their night long catch on their teeny tiny fishing boats – another picturesque sight I say! ANNNNND if you are lucky enough, you’ll even get to do some celebrity spotting!
A couple of pics from yesteryears I managed to dig from my photo archive!
On evenings, half an hour prior to to leaving office, I’d ping the few friends who were in the city, find out how jobless they are and we’d cook up some lazy plan for the rest of the evening. So while my married friends hurried to catch an early train to reach home, I’d either head to the City Center Mall or where-else Marina beach to meet my friends! Those where the only places from where I could return to my hostel by 8 pm sharp before those giant gates get shut!
If the venue we picked to meet up was the beach, we’ll line up along the shore, talk all about our day at work, recollect good times from college, pull each other’s legs, laugh and quietly gaze at the relentless sea and the setting sun when we run out of topics! A little while before each could disperse to our respective homes and hostels, we’d stop at one of those baji stalls, order assorted plates of baji – containing onion, chilly, potato, cauliflower and brinjal bajis. How crispy and yummy they used to taste dipped in that chilly sauce!
I remember, my friend Helin and I would sit in front of the sea, yap for hours on end about our dreams of travelling the world and becoming pop stars. She’d say, “Macha, can you believe all those stunning cities and countries we dream of going to are just on the other side of this ocean!”
My! I’m now getting carried away by those memories! Anyways, I typed all this so you know that’s how much my life revolved around Marina beach!
Last weekend, we were at Chennai for my Granpa’s funeral (you can read my tribute for him here). We wanted KT to have a change in atmosphere, so we decided to take her to the beach. It was already past 6 pm and Marina was the nearest if KT had to see a beach before the sun sets. Those of you who have been at Marina beach would know that it’s quite a long walk from the road to the waters. Our friend C carried KT on his shoulders. Walking on the sea sand with my footwear in hand, memories of those good old days flooded back. The beach was packed. It was windy. The shore littered with all possible trash, but not a soul cared. At one glance along the shore, I could see people from all walks of life enjoying their moment in time with nature. The tides were pretty high. The sea roaring and relentlessly crashing on the shore just as it used to. Nothing had changed!
Although I love the beach a lot, I am not a water person who enjoys getting wet. I’m the kind who prefers to stay dry and enjoys clicking pictures. So I entrusted KT with Vj. KT at first was hesitant to dip her legs in the water. But once she did, she refused to come out. She’d patiently wait for the waves to engulf her tiny feet and she’d cling to her dad in excitement. As the two stood in front of the vast ocean, the sun quietly set!
There was so much happening on the beach – little boys selling sundal, baji stalls, horse riders, game stalls and what not. The entire stretch lit up with color lights as soon as the sun set. My little girl was simply enthralled! She didn’t want to miss out on anything that she saw! So it was the horse ride next!
She then spotted this merry-go-round (I’m not sure what its called! So excuse me if I’m wrong!). It looked a little unsafe for children as it had no safety rods. But KT was adamant and we had to give in. I decided to accompany her and when I put my arms around her waist and held her close, she tells me, “Amma, don’t hold KT. KT is big girl!”
It was quite a fun ride for just Rs. 20. I’d have priced it a little more considering how difficult it must be for those young boys to manually rotate it. While many mums and kids were screaming and pleading the guys to stop it, my brave soul thoroughly enjoyed her ride and asked if we could go on it just once more! So we did!
Wouldn’t a visit to Marina beach be incomplete minus the bajis? Our last pit stop was a baji stall. On my suggestion, hubby ordered an assorted plate. Gosh! How good they taste! In no time at all we gobbled an entire plate and ordered the next! There’s something very special to a beach baji, Marina beach in particular. It will always and forever remain the perfect beach snack!
What an evening it was! There are three things that will always captivate me – clear skies, majestic mountains and the vast stretch of blue sea! Cheers to Marina beach!