Saturday, 24 January 2015

Malvan Notes - 2 - A Beach Walk

    Read Malvan Notes - 1- The Journey here.


                                                                   Chiwla Beach
            A conditioned early riser, it took quite an effort to wait for daybreak when I would sneak out of the cottage and hurry down to the beach. I don't remember when was the last time I'd heard the rooster crow. The chorus of the birds around rose in a crescendo but  was soon drowned out by the cawing of the crows. Twigs crackled and the flames leaped up. An old fisherman warmed his hands stoking the fire while the water boiled in the aluminium pot. Two boats looked out at the  sea from the shed that sheltered them and watched the others come home.

A Boat Brought Ashore

        Quickening my pace past the couple of homes, and the shed that sheltered the  boats, at last the sea came into view.
    "Ma, what are those holes in the sand?" the younger one had decided  to give me company while the others snored their journey soreness away. The holes in question were perfect ones bored in the beach.

  "Must be crabs..." and before I could complete "...or some little crustacean", she was hopping over those little holes lest one comes out and grabs her.

                                                                  A Carved Bow 

      The Chiwla beach in Malvan is a pretty crescent shaped one, a little more than a kilometer long, lined with homes of the fishermen and  quite a few tourist accommodations. This morning, we had the beach all to ourselves except of course the fishermen. They  went about their chores  and the two of us just stood there admiring the vast expanse dotted with boats in the horizon. The boats were coming home for the day.  Small dark specks taking shape as they drew closer. The graying dawn was gradually spreading a white sheet. The waves nudged and playfully lapped up around the boats and the men who were pulling them ashore.

       One end of the beach is rocked in while the other end sports the local political leader's bungalow. One of the most striking features of Malvan is the presence  of vibrant colours. A neat row of  brightly coloured fishing boats rested on the sands and more joined in while we stood there. At a distance were the more stately and bigger boats with beautifully carved bows, sturdy and wizened with years of sailing, watching the others out in the sea like matrons  keeping an eye on the children. The colourful smaller boats looked like their next generation, sprightly and lively in their bright hues. The early morning walk along the beach sharpened the senses. The taste of the salty air, the grains of the sand massaging the soles of the feet and that sweet smell...

Colourful Small Boats
            Wait. That sweet smell...that is not from alphonso flowers... This is different.
   "Do you smell that?" I ask my daughter.
   "Ma, I have a cold"  she reminds me.
It was a light sweet fragrance and it came from  peculiar looking white flowers, only two of which rested on a shrub with long linear leaves. But it was enough to seek the attention of the passers by like us who voraciously took in the details of this new land. An early morning walk enthusiast helped me out.
 "It is the Keora flower. We call it Ketaki also. Come see, there is one on top also" she said.
Ah! So this is what gives us those bottles of Kewra water lined up on the stores' shelves. And that incidentally is the diluted byproduct of the more tedious and expensive process of extracting Kewra perfume. Later a Google search said it is the Pandanus, screw palm, screw pine tree  for the rest of the world whose natural habitat is the shoreline of tropical and subtropical regions. That is what I like about trips. It lets me discover little things that I never pay much attention to.

                                                       Screw Pine Tree or Kewra

           The sun was slowly brightening up the sky from behind, illuminating the coconut tree tops with it's golden rays and colouring the little tufts of clouds into a pink hue before it finally made an appearance. It was amazing to watch this pastel shade being reflected on the water creating rosy little streaks  on the rippling sea. From  the other end of the beach, a road leads up into the land, past the administrative area of the town, to the rock garden. There was not much of rock inside the well manicured garden but a gap in it's perimeter led to one of the most enticing views of the sea. A stretch of dark slabs of rock covered the distance between the garden and the sea. A perfect place for solitude. And a perfect place to watch the sun go down.

View From The Rocky Malvan Shore

     To the right of this part is the Chiwla beach from where we walked up. And to the left is the Malvan jetty almost a kilometer away. An excited chatter broke the morning's solitude. Skipping down the garden were a bunch of  school kids dressed in their best for the  trip. Perhaps the teachers wanted to consolidate their geography lessons. It was time to leave the scene for the others to marvel at the vista spread out. The sun had already risen above the tree line. The others back at the cottage would have woken up by now. And I did not want to miss my share of the steaming hot 'ghawane chutney' and 'solkadi'.


Please read the next part here....An island, a fort and a legacy.


  1. Wonderful read. Love those solitude moments early in the morning on a beach.

  2. Beautiful images and wonderful narration

  3. Wonderful Read... would have loved more images.

  4. You took me there with you.Early morning is certainly the best time to be with nature.

  5. I agree with indu. Felt like I was there trying to avoid crabs with your girl :)

  6. Thank you Niranjan :) Love the solitude when I am amidst nature.

  7. Thank you Deepak! You made my day.

  8. Sangeeta, thank you :) Will try adding more next time.

  9. Indu, thank you so much your words are always motivating :)

  10. Jaishree,thank you! you are being very generous!

  11. I had been waiting for the Part II of your adventure there, it seems there is much more to come. It was very well written, I could hear the birdsong and the sun peeping through the trees.

  12. Ilakshee, you travel and write with all sense organs.Particularly your sense of smell is very strong. Please be sensible to the photographer also.

  13. Ah and early morning by the beach and just when you are about to start your day, some fishermen are on their way back after their day's catch!

    What a way to start your day, huh?! :)

    Lovely writing, Ilakshee

  14. thank you Uma! You always encourage with your words. And yes there is more to come from this charming land!

  15. thank you Dipak! And Amen to your call on the photographer's sensitivity :)

  16. Thanks a ton D! It was a wonderful way to start my day with the sights, sounds and smell!


Your words keep me going :)