Thursday, 16 March 2017

Camping at the Beach, Part 3 | Travelogue

 

We were walking towards the police station. Only the moon lent its light to us, due to which we could see the path ahead. The darkness sent shivers down my spine. The smaller police station was closed by then so we had to walk even more for the larger one. The smaller just had one large room whereas the larger one was like a headquarter of that area.

We met several strangers on our way who looked at us as if something had happened and we were seeking police's help. Alas, we reached the police HQ. The size of it was that of a small bungalow or a cottage. There were around seven to eight policemen inside--few in formal clothes and few in the uniform. They were busy in their work when we stepped inside.

Both the parties exchanged bewildered look. Policemen asked us what our problem was, and I started speaking in my superhuman Marathi accent combined with my innocent sweet expressions. We asked them if camping by the shore was allowed, and they replied in an astonished voice saying it obviously wasn't. I told them how we had no clue about it and how one of the food-stall owners told us about it, and how helpless we were. On that they said that we had to leave the place because the locals are dangerous. They further added that even they wouldn't help if the locals harm us. They also told us how we should have asked the Gram Panchayat before even thinking to camp.

The innocently sweet expressions on my face were constant and they were struggling to make an impact. One of the junior policemen, who was young, in a well fitted uniform, was the one hardest to impress. We could have easily coaxed the remaining ones, but that chap there was a pain in the ass. Hadn't he been around that time, I was sure to persuade the other policemen in letting us camp there. But the junior man was not only stubborn with his views but was rude too.
When the policemen asked us to spend a night in one of the rooms, and when I'd told them how broke we were, the junior guy muttered saying why even we were there if we did not have any money. I was losing my cool, but had to remain calm.

They asked us how we had traveled to the beach from Mumbai and we answered, "By car". They immediately said that since we had a car, we could leave immediately. Anurag and I was just sitting on the bench, trying to create some magic from our pleading aura. It didn't work. We gave up; and the imagery I had of my superhuman Marathi accent along with my innocently sweet expressions proved to be something earthly after all.

We immediately called Pratik and others and asked them to start packing their bags and dismantle the tents. Anurag and I walked back, in the same moonlit path to the stall first, and then after collecting our four plates of hakka noodles, further to the beach. On our way, we met an elderly man and I asked him if there were hotel rooms around. He guided us and we went off seeking a cement shelter. When we were about to take a left instead of the right, the elderly man from the food stall, the one that was around 65 years old, called us. As it was dark and an unknown place, we ignored the calls. Later we found out that it was the same man from the food stall. He asked us where we heading to and we told him we were on our way to find hotel rooms. On that, again he repeated how stupid we were and how dangerous staying in the tents was.

Before we could even answer, he said that his friend had a place to stay and that we could stay there. He asked us to wait while he rushed back to the stall to get his bike. Anurag and I sensed something fishy and we knew how he would earn commission after we agree to stay at his friend's place. He came back with his bike and we went tripsy (it's an Indian short form for triple-seat) to his friend's room. The road was scarier than before. I was just hoping he takes us to a safe place. Finally, we reached the rooms.

It was a cottage with two rooms adjacent to each other. As soon as we reached, we saw an elderly man, in a pair of shorts touching his knees and a white cotton top. We got off the bike and we were greeted by a brown-furred pet dog. Such an immense amount of love shown to strangers!

After negotiating with the owner, we got two deals in one package. We agreed on paying 500 rupees and hired one room, and on the empty space, which was in front of the cottage, we sealed a deal to pitch our tents. The owner was happy about the tent idea and said, "Your ambition to live in a tent will be fulfilled too."

The elderly food-stall man dropped us back to the stall and we promised the cottage owner that we would return. We collected our parcel and started walking towards our tents.
When we reached, we saw that Pratik and others had dismantled the smaller tent and were there hustling in their dry set of clothes. We helped them pack remaining stuff and dissembled the larger tent too. We started walking back to the entrance of the beach...with the heavy bags, and the even heavier water bottle. We were finally about to have no more surprises for the night...

---

Part 4 coming soon...

xoxo