Country Roads

An endless bridge, covered within the mystic fogs and the trees in distance. Sound of the water crashing against the rocks in the shallow depths of the river beneath. How often do we get to encounter these things? Especially in the cities? Never! Where is this place? And how did I end up here…?

A few days ago…

Right after the end semester exams wrapped up and all the college work had drained out of my veins, my parents decided it was time to go back. Back to their childhood places, yes, my native place down south in the Ratnagiri region. We have all known for the unlimited, rich mangoes that it produces every summer of the year but this time it was my chance to explore how it is during the late winters.

We set out early in the morning from Thane en route to Kankavli, our destination town via another town named Chiplun which resides midway. The journey being over 400kms wasn’t small at all, especially when it comes to driving. It can be a drag, but once you get out of the city, onto the country roads, the change in the air and the diminishing traffic is enough to liven up your spirits.

The very first destination on our map was Chiplun. We reached our destination late in the evening. The sun set down as we stayed at my grandparents’ place. It had been over 4 years and many things had changed, living in the cities most of us miss out on these little things as I stood in the verandah at night, simping on the chill atmosphere as I breathed into it. Tired from the bumpy ride we went down to bed. Up early in the morning, I wasn’t greeted by the sun but dived into a world shrouded by the mist of the dawn. Everything in my vicinity had vanished as I took a stroll down the road, headed towards the lake, Ram Tirth.

The lake that I was used to seeing during the monsoon was covered in this grey fog. And it wasn’t only the lake: the whole town had an ominous atmosphere because of it. As the sun came out, even past 10 this didn’t seem to fade away as we left for our destination, Kankavli. It was a long day journey but the newly built highway smoothened it out, like literally. Late in the night, we reached my uncle’s house and were greeted by an overwhelming quantity of food. The development around the area had astonished me. It had only been a little while since my last visit but industrialization had reached there already.

How many of you have seen actual cafés so far out from the cities? Well, to my surprise, I ran into a couple of them, Seventh Heaven being the one I ended up frequently visiting for the delicious hand-baked cakes and pastries. If you ever go that route, make sure to at least give it one shot. To confess, it was the first time I actually had a cheesecake and it happened there.

The very next day we set out with our backpacks to a beach, Kunkeshwar beach. Not that far but not close enough. The journey was like going through a tunnel as the leaves from the trees covered us from everywhere. Sounds great, right? But then we suddenly came out to flat land, fields on both sides as we drove on the empty roads reaching a view so scenic and magical. I don’t remember seeing something like this as I looked right, the sea blending in the sky as the sun reflected on it. The horizon was invisible as the sky seamlessly entangled with the sea. The adrenaline rush just by the sight of it. Soon enough, we reached our stay and unloaded the luggage. I stood outside watching the sun as it was slowly closing down to vanish into the sea.

But obviously, we don’t visit beaches to look at them from a distance. After quickly unpacking, we went down to the beach. To my surprise, there were very few people there. It confused me for a second, but then that would be why it was so clean and so beautiful. I walked down on the sand, from one end to another, noticing the random names written down on it and making sure to not step on them. The waves slowly crashed on the shore as we clicked the cliched photos with the sun falling asleep into the sea. The wind was cold and the environment was silent, the waves the only ones making the pleasant sound. For a moment I was completely lost in this still as if nothing was moving around me at all. Right after which I was snapped out of it with the honks, my family was asking me to quickly come back so we could go for dinner.

But I was mesmerized by it, especially coming out of a lockdown, from the virtual lectures to this. The transition had me good. Good enough that at night my brother and I set out again to listen to the ocean waves. A sound I am still familiar with whenever I close my eyes. Though, nature had a special gift for us even then. Something that I saw for the first time in my life: bioluminescent algae. It had made it into the news but when we saw it in person, spectacular! The green and blue glowing lights were breathtaking. I don’t know if it was fortunate or unfortunate that we didn’t have a camera to capture the moment forever. Our phones were left behind as the whole place had no network, disconnecting one from the world while getting them closer to themselves. But here I will obviously attach a pic of what the beach was like…

My journey with the seas didn’t end here, with these waves came another once in a lifetime moment to experience. The same day, my brother and I set out late in the night past midnight for a walk. The road was dead silent and we knew we were disconnected from the world, as we reached the sea I pointed it out, “Look the temple’s light is being reflected on the waves.” But boy, was I wrong. Upon reaching the shore, we realised that it wasn’t the lights but the growing green algae which had drifted to these shores lately. Well, for me it was green, my brother said it was blue but the thing is, those neon waves crashing on the rocks nearby. The usual serene sound of the sea blessed both our eyes and our ears. It was pitch black, we couldn’t take a single picture with our mobiles but it was a blessing in disguise as we could live the experience crystal clear as the waves had nothing but the neon shining into them.

Well, from there we went back to my brother’s place. It felt like I got to breathe after quite some time. The next day, I woke up early, put on my shoes and ran. I ran as I left the town behind me, like literally. And at the end of it, right when I felt I couldn’t go any further, I stopped and looked around me. It was quite foggy that day but that’s where I ended up on the endless bridge, covered within the mystic fogs and the trees in the distance. Sound of the water crashing against the rocks in the shallow depths of the river beneath. 

Kind of made me laugh as I asked myself, “How often do we get to encounter these things?”

~Sahil Sawant (TE IT)