Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Camping at the Beach, Part 2 | Travelogue

Anurag and Pratik pitched the tents, whereas we girls were just around them, trying to help, but didn't, in actuality. After the tents were set up, we transferred all the luggage from the sand to the interiors of the tent. As we were already in the tent, we girls thought of changing into swimwear too.

 

We had carried two tents--one that had the capacity of holding two people, and the other that had the capacity of holding three. We were in the larger tent. Firstly, we displayed all the possible swimwear options each one of us had carried. We discussed what was perfect for the waters and what was for the dry land. After that, we finalised on what we were wearing. I was going with a blue bikini, Amrita with my black racer back and my denim shorts, and Rutuja with my white racer back again coupled with my denim shorts. While all these serious decisions were taking place inside the tent, the two boys were finding wood for the campfire outside.

After a while, we struggled ourselves to get out of the tent. At last, we were free to jump in the waves. The boys wore football jerseys and shorts and we all descended towards the beach. Our tents were far away on the land, and we were keeping an eye on them from time to time. We enjoyed the sea in its low tide phase. When it was getting darker, we thought of getting food for dinner from the stalls near the entrance of the beach. While two of us were walking towards the land, a local approached them and started talking to them. Me, Amrita, and Anurag were still in water; whereas, Rutuja and Pratik were involved in a long, serious conversation with the local. We were wondering what was the discussion about, but had guessed that it was something to do with our tents.

It always happens...when a group of friends are enjoying on a beach or elsewhere, probably a place foreign to them, a local always approaches and warns them or advises them to stay somewhere or do something so that the group remains safe. Last time when we'd been camping, similar events had taken place. A local had advised us to not camp near the lake as other violent locals might rob us or harm us.
We were sure that the history was repeating and that the local at the Kelwa Beach had a similar advantage. Nevertheless, we watched their gestures and their serious faces from the waters, and Anurag said that he would check on what was going on.

He joined them and like in a Bermuda Triangle, he never returned. Amrita and I decided to get off the waters and join the discussion. When we were about to reach the place they were talking, Anurag and the local started walking towards far end, an area farther from where the tents were, an area into the woods. It was already dark and since Anurag was my close one, I was worried since he was gone for a while.

He returned alone, and told us the story; he told us what the local had told him. Naturally, it was not possible to shift tents away from the seashore as it was dark. Pitching tents required some light at least, as there were hooks and little parts to take care of. We decided to spend the night on the same spot. The local had warned us saying that camping was not allowed in that area and that the police check the entire beach every night, thrice. Also, the locals could be an issue. We had decided that even if the police came, we would apologise and tell them that we were indulging in neither any alcoholic nor any sexual activity, and that we were there only to have fun since it was my birthday. We had all decided this.

I put a t-shirt and a three forth over my wet bikini and covered my arms with a green checkered towel. Anurag and I was going to get dinner before they shut the stalls. It was scarily dark on our way to the stall. Like I mentioned before, the time required to reach the entrance of our beach from the campsite was ten minutes. It was so dark that we couldn't even make out if there were any people sneakily hiding in the bushes or sitting on the edge of the beach. We were just walking, under the moonlight.

For safety purpose, I had even carried my debit card. So if anything wrong stroke, we could run away and use my card if needed. On the other hand, I had handed over Figo's keys to Pratik for their emergency. I am such a person; a person who is always prepared.

We reached the first and the only stall that was open. It was hardly 8:00 pm and the stalls were shut down already. There were elderly men on the stall, hanging out with the stall owner, who seemed like, was their friend. We ordered four plates of hakka noodles. Anurag beckoned to me to ask the men about camping. As he's not a Maharashtrian, we had decided that I would do the talking. Plus with my Marathi accent, my tone, my expressions, I was sure I would coax anybody into agreeing with me.

I asked the group of men about whether it was allowed to camp on the beach. It took them by surprise and they said no. One of the men, he was around 65 years old, made those typical expressions that most orthodox minded people have when they utter, "Haw!"
He exclaimed, "Oh my God! How could you do that? You are literate, still you do something like this. Now what will happen if the locals kill you and throw you in the sea? Nobody will even notice."

Anurag and I was just sitting, listening to what they had to say. They told us that in order to camp, we had to seek the permission of the Gram Panchayat, then of the Police, and only then pitch tents. But as it was 8:15 pm by then, they said that the Gram Panchayat would be closed. They suggested us to go and speak with the Police.

It was 8:20 pm, Anurag and I was walking towards the Police station. I had wrapped a towel and Anurag was without any footwear. It was a ten-minute walk, and the route was dark, lonely, and deserted...

---

Part 3 coming soon...

xoxo