Sunday, February 1, 2015

Seaside vacation!

Over the previous long weekend, we were on a seaside vacation in Pondicherry, also known as India's French Riviera. Vacations by the sea have always been special as one can spend hours together gazing at the vast blue expanse that lies ahead!  No surprises that we stayed at the Promenade, right on the edge of the coastline facing the Bay of Bengal!:-) Not only did the sound of the lashing waves lull us into sleep at night, but we woke up to one of the most beautiful sunrises over the sea! It was my first time on the eastern sea front as most of our beach vacations in India or the US have been on western seas! We explored different facets of Pondicherry, from the heritage French villas to the bustling Tamil quarters, it's Ashrams and spiritual centers and it's museums and memorials.... but what we liked the best were it's beaches that we visited every morning to soak up some good amount of Vitamin D! :-)) 

Among the couple of beaches in and around Pondicherry that we had been to, we found some fishermen communities living near the shores. As Abhay headed out with his beach toys, he saw a couple of fishermen boats return with their nets and their early morning catch. As he seemed quite curious as to their work and lives in general, I picked up "My friend, the sea" by Sandhya Rao and photographs by Karuna Sesh and Pervez Bhagat. This is a story of young boy from a fishermen village along the Indian coast in Tamil Nadu  who recounts his association with Kadalamma, the Ocean mother. The best part about living near the ocean is hopping on to a kattumaram ( A fishing boat in Tamil Nadu) and going pretend fishing .. ...just like his family has been fishing for generations together. He even recalls the day  when the sea rose like a mountain to drown most his of village including his father who has never returned since then. As his sister explains the cause of the Tsunami that deluged  the Indian east coast on December 26th 2004, he sees its impact on his own family, as they become homeless and now live in a shelter with a grieving mother who hardly ever smiles. Still, the sea will always be a part of his life and he is seen looking forward to a new Kattumaram that his brother has promised to build for him. Aided by striking photography, this is a  beautiful story that poignantly describes the life and loss of the fishing community from the eyes of a child. A seaside story makes a perfect ending to our little seaside outing! :-)

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