Thursday, April 12, 2012


Having lived in the interior region of Karnataka for most of my life, I have always been fascinated by the sea. In fact, a trip to the Panumbur beach was always included in our itinerary when we visited my maternal grandparents in Mangalore. I remember how we couldn’t contain out excitement on our short drive to the beach, how we didn’t mind walking barefooted on the sand that was burning hot and how we squealed with laughter as we got soaked by the foam filled waves that splash their way to the shore. I also enjoyed basking in the seaside sun and then watching it paint the sky crimson red as it set in the evening. It was a dejavu for me as we drove the boys to the same beach, on the last day of our trip to South Kanara last weekend. Abhay who was never a beach buddy during the first half of our stay in the US, slowly began to enjoy our trips to Hawaii and the Oregon coast as he loved to play with his beach toys and make sand castles. As we reconciled to the fact that our darling son was probably more of a sand lover than a sea lover, he did a volte face on our final trip to the seaside last July when he insisted on playing in the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean rather than the sand on its shore.  Whatever said and done, I am happy that three years in the US had turned my son into a beach lover just like his mom!

Anyway, last Sunday’s experience at the Panumbur beach gave me more reasons to smile, as Abhay got more adventurous with the sea waves, thanks to his beach loving brothers! In celebration of the same, last night I read,  “Hello Ocean” by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Mark Astrella. This book highlights a young girl’s discovery of her love for the ocean complemented by true to life illustrations of the picturesque ocean. So much so that the pictures that seem more like a montage of photographs than hand-sketched illustrations, make you yearn for a day out at the beach, the minute you put down the book. As the girl arrives at the beach with her family, she cant wait to hit the waters that change colors from gray to blue and then to green just like a chameleon. She stares at the wide open water reflected in a bowl of skies and loves the way the ocean looks. As she enters the water, she hears the crashing waves sounding like a lion roaring and feels the water rushing in between her toes only to whisper back to the sea again. She loves the various of sounds in the ocean – froggy songs from distant boats, gentle clangs from bobbing floats and the screak of seagull flying high above. As she prepares to surf on her board, she gets pulled and pushed by the restless sea and waves pounce on her in rowdy play. As she touches the squishy, soggy ground and slippery seaweed, the sudden breeze blows away the sand in her hand held shovel, she realizes how much she loves the way the ocean feels. She sunbathes on her beach mat and inhales in the fresh salty wind of the sea, the smell of the fish, drying kelp and musty shells –she loves the way the ocean smells. As she swims in the ocean water, she recalls that its taste is similar to how her tears taste and she cant stop licking her face as she loves the way the ocean tastes! As the sun goes down, the little girl bids goodbye and promises to visit her old best friend again, the Ocean! A must read for any sea lover or an aspiring sea lover!

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