Monday, July 9, 2012

Life is a beach...

...and all the people merely swimmers

Some swim against the tide, some go with the flow and others merely wet their toes in the ocean.

I simply love the beach. Everything about it- the sand, the sea, the waves, the sun, the deck chairs, the breeze...

The first time

I first realized how much I loved beaches when I was onboard the Rajdhani Express from Bombay to Delhi. I think I was about 9 or 10 years old. I told my dad that in Delhi I wanted to go to the 'Juhu beach'. One of uncles laughed and replied, "Delhi does not have beaches!". I felt miserable, not as much for me, but for the people of Delhi who could not spend lazy Sunday mornings on a beach, or go for an evening walk on the sea shore.

I was a pretty good student and geography was one of my favorite subjects. So I did know that all areas are not coastal, and there are many cities and towns in the interiors which are not by the sea. So even though my mind knew, my heart just felt so grateful that I lived in Bombay and from my bedroom I could see the sun set into the Arabian sea every evening.

Bombay's best kept secret...Silver Beach

Silver beach also known as Godrej beach is a 7 min walk from my house in Bombay. It's one end of 'Juhu beach' which till date is not as commercialized. And in the 80's when I was growing up, it was even more secluded and almost pristine.

It was where you could learn to ride a horse (no kidding. The 'Janbaaz' scene where Dimple is riding a horse and looking stunning is shot there). Families came for picnics, kids swam in the ocean, serious joggers went about the daily exercise routine and old uncles played crickets. It was where couples held hands and gazed into each others eyes as the sun set in the background. Bombay does have the most beautiful sunsets. As the sun goes down, the sky turns a burnt-orngey-pink and it's one of the most amazing sights. Even today when I am visiting Bombay, at least one visit to Silver Beach is a must. It's become a ritual for Sanil too-who loves beaches almost as much as I do. And I love him even more for it.

Happy childhood memories

When I was a child one of my fondest memories are of dad taking my cousins and me swimming in the sea. Swimming in the ocean is something else! The thrill of being swept away by the waves is just so much fun! Of course now I only sit by the sand and remember those childhood days as I would not even dream of entering the polluted waters of Juhu beach- such a shame!

When I was slightly older, around 13 or 14, a bunch of us girls from my building started going for morning walks to Silver Beach during the summer holidays. My friend Anubha used to visit from Jaipur every summer and a few of us used to wake up early in the morning and head out to the beach for a walk. It was never for exercising- we checked out cute guys, we gossiped about people from the building and chatted about everything under the sun. Happy happy times!!

I spent the first 5 years of my life Las Pal Mas in Canary Islands, Spain, where I was born. Have been a beach bum since I was a baby!

Bombay to Goa

One of most memorable beach holidays was in Goa in 1992. I went there with my parents, brothers and my aunt. It the first time parents were happy to leave us alone and we went cycling, exploring eating places, swimming in the pool.

The next time I visited Goa I was much older. It was a trip with my MBA classmates. This was after all of us had got jobs and were waiting to graduate. Fab times with lots of drama and laughter.

I have not visited Goa since that trip in 1997, and keep hearing it has changed a lot. Have promised Sanil to take him there soon.

Beach havens in Southeast Asia

One of the best things of living in Singapore is there are fantastic beach resorts so close by. From Phuket to Langkawi and Bali to Boracay- I have taken at least one beach holiday every year. And it never gets old.

I started writing this post on a small sheet of paper when I was in Boracay (Philippines) in July last year. I went there with a colleague of mine after our workshop in Manila. It was a silver sandy beach, one of the best ones I have been to in Asia. Not touristy like Phuket or Bali- a lot more pristine and quiet. The boutique hotel had the most excellent service with 'beach butlers' at your every beck and call- no exaggeration. My beach butler negotiated with the boatman for the sail boat ride, re-scheduled my spa appointment as it clashed with the sailing, delivered one-for-one mojitos on the sail boat for my friend and me...I did not resort to getting him to clean my sunglasses or remove sand from my slippers like the hotel brochure said I could.

Sanil and I had beautiful holidays in Phuket and Bali where we would spend the whole day in the pool and by the beach. Sanil can play in the sand for hours since he was little. Perfect time for mama to read a book and simply chill.

I end this post also in Phuket where I spent a day on a luxury yacht. I LOVE boats!! Second only to hats, which I also love. And if I can spend an afternoon on a yacht with my hat and a glass of wine, while enjoying the sea breeze...there could be nothing better!

Beach Wish List...

Mauritius, Maldives and Mexico...I see a hammock, a book, sunset and myself- thin enough to wear a 2 piece bikini ;) power of positive will happen!

P.s. spent my morning on the stunning beach in Nice! It is such a different experience from Asia. This was a pebble beach...takes getting used to. V different feel from sandy beaches. The water is much cooler, but as always there is nothing more exhilarating than a swim in the ocean. And with relics of bodies here, I don't actually feel half as bad! In Asia I feel like covering myself in a kaftan to hide the...well politely put...curves, but really put its flab. Here you can feel more Katrina Kaif, and less Vidya Balam :)

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