The Call of the Ocean: Varkala

For 105 days I have been completely land-locked. Locked between the mountains, rivers and the dust of north India. Whilst I have visited some beautiful places, I found myself desperately longing for the sound and smell of the ocean.

I am a Cancerian, a quintessential water baby. Whilst I was born in-land, I have never spent more than a few weeks at a time away from the ocean in my conscious memory until now. During the few weeks I spent in Delhi, I could feel the pull to the ocean growing, like a gravitational force that draws me in without any choice. Each day I stayed away the pull got stronger until it was palpable.

So I booked a ticket to Kerala and headed straight to the beach, Varkala beach specifically. Heading away from the busy tourist town, I stumbled upon the quiet fishing village of Odayam beach and found a small beach bungalow where I sit writing today. The bungalow is right on the quiet cliff-tops overlooking the brilliant blue ocean.

Breakfast in Varkala

With my appetite satiated, I took a walk along the clifftop to breathe in as much of my beloved ocean as I could.

The path was quiet, a few small huts set back from the cliff amidst vibrant green vegetation. Palm trees, grass and creeper plants that edged towards the sea. It was lush and rich, reminding of when an ex-boyfriend (who was Keralan) tried to describe his land to me and the only word that came to his mind was “Green”.

Then amidst the verdancy I could see splashes of bright red and blue and the sound of quiet chatter filled the silence.

Fixing their fishing nets

The men laughed as I took the photo and greeted me.

I walked further along and came to a long stretch of beach with the fishing boats lined up in all their colourful glory.  Children and men bathed in the ocean, laughing and playing at the end of a tiring morning of fishing.  In the background, the green mosque melted into the backdrop of vegetation.

Fishing boats by the Mosque

The boys playing in the ocean

Past the fishing boats and ahead of me lay nothing but a pristine beach.  There was no one else in sight, just the salty smell of the ocean and the soft warm sand between my toes.

The beach

I took off my shoes, and edged towards the water accompanied by a few small crabs creeping sideways towards the water with me. The waves were gently rolling into the shore, and I let them lap over my feet. The water was clean, clear and warm. Nothing brings back the feeling of childhood and freedom for me more than feeling the ocean cover my feet and the sand give way beneath me. Pure escapism!

The ocean between my toes

A bit further along and I can see the fruits of the morning drying in the sun.

Small fish drying in the sun

This little village is enchanting. With the smell of the ocean, the salt in my hair and the sun-kissed tone in my skin, now I feel at home.