What do you do when you are someone living in Delhi, with mountains just a bus ride away? You pack your bags on any given weekend and hop on a bus to detox yourself for a night or two in the lap of Himalayas. There's something magical about the magnanimous mountains that they keep pulling back so many of my friends and colleagues. Whenever I meet someone not from Delhi, the first thing they say is, 'How lucky you are! You can go to the mountains anytime you want!' and I just smile and nod my head. Because that's all I can do and not scream out loud, 'I don't like mountains!'.
Yup, I don't. I agree that there is a charm to the mighty mountains that is inescapable. The few times I have visited them, I have been mesmerised by the beauty and have felt the calm descend over me as well. However, I just can't imagine myself travelling to the hills every other weekend. I am born and brought up in the foothills of Himalayas and will pretty much die here as well, but I just can't fall in love with them as half of the world around has!
What holds my heart? Beaches! I have loved the beach since I was a toddler. My first memory of the beach is me, running along the sand, in a pink frock, chased by my grandfather. I was scared of the water, but equally curious to dip a few toes and see how it feels. The beach was in Mumbai, and I was four. Since then, beaches have had a hold on my heart unlike any other place.
Still, every now and then I wondered? Is something wrong with me? Is liking beaches over mountains a rebellious thing to do? Or does it identify me as someone who likes things 'basic' and not 'adventurous'? There were many studies conducted on the same topic. Our mountain people more serious and beach people brash? Articles that explored these ideas and gave results to such questions. And the answer was simpler than what I had thought. People who are introverts tend to gravitate towards mountains, they seek the seclusion that trees scattered over hill tops provide. In contrast, extroverts always are attracted to the social and interactive vibes of a beach vacation. So it's not about being shallow or brash, it was about a basic personality trait. And trust me, that made my love for beaches even more deeper.
Every year, summer vacations meant visiting my grandparents in Mumbai and spending an entire month next to the sea. Marine drive, chaupati, Juhu beach became my most favourite places to hang at and my grandfather indulged my every whim! Taking me to these spots as many times as I asked. And then one summer vacation, we took a trip to another beach town, Ganpatipule. A small, nondescript sea-side town in Maharashtra. In the early 2000s, it was not populated by tourists, but by fishermen and it was one of the best weekends of my pre-teen life. It was as I was coming back from that small weekend getaway that I realised, beaches will always occupy a corner of my heart.
As I grew up, and started travelling more and more, my heart always craved to go back to the beach. To feel the ocean roar in my ears and the beach breeze ruffle my hair. To sink my toes in the sand and see moonlight dance on the waves. Such was the magnetism of the ocean that I started looking forward to every trip to the coast as a parched land looks forward to rain.
That is one of the reasons, that unlike my colleagues and friends, I don't just get on a bus and go to the mountains every chance I get. I wait for a long weekend, look through multiple sites and book myself tickets to coasts of India. And in the years since then, I have seen how the topography of every beach town is distinct and unique.
From Diu's calmness to Goa's kaleidoscopic chaos; from the spiritual air of Puri to the French flavours of Pondicherry; from the eeriness of Dhanushkodi to the fiery sunsets of Varkala, each beach has given me beautiful and unforgettable memories.
There's something about seeing the roaring sea waves crash against the serene beaches, and seeing the sun setting over the horizon as the sky turns from a bluish pink to a scarlet orange and a velvety grey. Seeing the colours buttered across the sky, as the ocean beckons you is a feeling that is, for me, irreplaceable.
Nothing brings more soul to my joy than a day at the beach. Sipping coconut water, watching children build sand castles and adults gaze lovingly at each other, the laughter of kids playing peek-a-boo with the ocean and teenagers daring each other to go in the sea and just the vibe of being on a beach is indescribable!
So yes, sorry mountain folk. Pine trees and mountain tops are beautiful, but don't hold a candle to a sunset at the beach. And if you are someone who disagrees, I am just going to leave you with this image!
As you reflect on your favourite beach vacation, I am going to go book myself tickets for my next one! And if you have any suggestions for a stunning Indian beach vacation, write about it on Tripoto and help me and other beach babies plan their next getaway.