Monday, December 28, 2009

Dec 26th 2009 - Five years later on Bay of Bengal

We were on Christmas vacation; on a mini-tour of the places of historic importance with my cousin's family.

Day before yesterday, the 26th of December 2009, Afternoon 2:00P.M; Poompuhar Beach, Near Nagapattnam, Tamil Nadu.

I stood on the rocks that blocked the waves of the ocean from the shore and enjoyed the sea breeze. In a moment, for some vague reason, that I am unable to place, my mind went back to the same day, four years ago, on Bay of Bengal. It was the Tsunami day, 26th December 2005. I took a careful notice of the waves now and sensed that they were quite violent.

My home town is on the Bay of Bengal coastline and my house is around 10 km away from the beach. The beach in my home town is THE major attraction and we have no count of the number of times we have accompanied our guests to the beach.

To me, the beach is
a great place to spend time with people,
where we get to meet old friends...
where you get to see diamond sparkles in crystal clear water on a sunny morning...
where you realize that the globe is more huge than you can imagine...
where the horizon's straight line ( of course, an illusory effect..) amazes you...
where Christopher Columbus comes into the picture...
where we get to see ships, the only ones to know the sea better than the sea animals and Nature...
where the sun set looks grand than anywhere else...
where you feel very close to Nature..
where your ego levels come to a balance...
where your temper is of no use...
where you realize that the tides are stronger than you know...
where you are a helpless being that cannot encounter the ocean's wrath...
where countless people lost their lives on 26th December 2004, on Tsunami day..

There stop my imagination and thoughts on the sea because on the black day, I did not understand Tsunami as much as the fishermen folks and the shadeless people by the Bay of Bengal coastline understood. I had a good breakfast that morning ( for which I am thankful and will ever be thankful) and with no idea about the happenings around me, came to the balcony ( similar to a porch) to see a whole town migrating ( read as running as fast as fast can mean to each of them ) towards the hillock on the west of the town. The sea had come in by about 7km into my town and my house was still 3km from the water attack and about a few feet above the ground level. This pattern of constructing a house a few feet above the ground level was conceived ( When something is not prevalent in a place and some one starts the practice, it can very well be termed a new idea, especially in town life style.) by a newbie contractor to whom we are still thankful. The aftermath stories - you would not want to know; but I can say that at least 5000 fisher folks suffered loss of life and property.

I did recall all of these day before yesterday at Poompuhar beach.. Rocks lining the coast made it seem like a safe day at the beach, but the tides were very high. Yesterday when we went to the same beach that we all knew so well, I saw flowers here and there in the sand.. There was also a poster of a little girl who was lost to the sea five years ago. Wonder what the beach will mean to the girl's family and the generations to come in her family....

When I walked in, I noticed that the distance between the road and the sea shore had reduced; the sand is no more the bouncy white beach sand, but wet tightened mass of sand that showed shades of black sediment; and the waves are higher than we had seen on normal days... It seemed that the sea is not very quiet, it seemed that there is some connection to the same time four years ago to the present time frame...It might seem that I am blabbering, but trust me, if you had been on the coast line, you would admit this... I tightened my grip on my little niece's hands..What I didn't think was the tides were higher, stronger and denser than I can handle... I slowly moved backwards, far enough to just let the sea waves touch our feet..

At a distance, we saw three children heading straight into the sea, without knowing what it means to walk into the presently violent ocean.. On the shore, sat their parents watching them... I wonder what people think of themselves when it comes to parenting, especially when on a beach, as violent as the Bay of Bengal.... It took a policeman to come over and tell people to keep close to the shore!!!! Where is commonsense? What does adventure fun mean when there is a chance of losing a life? Wonder what is more important - Chatting away to glory standing on the shore or doing the same thing holding on to the child's hands in the beach.....? Wanted to scream!!!!!! exactly what I am doing here in this post....

If you are a parent, please realize it, at least when you are taking your child to the beach. By the way, the sea does not know the age of the person it is engulfing, so please take care.. The East coast line is more violent these days than it has ever been.

5 comments:

SG said...

I was in kadalur in 2001 for 2 days with my friends visiting another friend who lived there and she took us on a fishing boat into the sea and I was scared, seriously scared (although my ego prevented me from accepting it then) since the boat was rocking like crazy and waves seemed scary strong...(I have never felt that for some reason in the Marina beach) and at the moment I thought of 'Man proposes, God disposes'...we simply can't fight nature, I wonder if that is why people take pleasure in destroying it !

Musing Gal said...

Relax dew drop :) there are times where you should just let go and feel the nature, well nature has its way to play with us, but come on its part and parcel of life. Those kids will do well, they are fearless at that age, I so much long now for those days when I was fearless, oh well its just me ;)

SK said...

I think Tsunami was on 26th December 2004.. Pls. Check.

nishitak said...

Nice post.

But, I went to this beach about 10 years back, and I think even then the sand was blackish, and the sea quite rough. There were lots of whirlpools in the sea, and we were strictly prohibited from swimming/wading too deep.

So, I don't think this change is because of the tsunami.

Dew Drop said...

Hi Nishita,

Thank you for your comment :)

I agree the Bay is wild, but believe me, from my 20+ years of strong bond to this beach, I know it has not been this wild :)

Deepa

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