Just another brain-dead techie with views on everything under the sun!

Friday, October 25, 2002

The case of a missing ogre and a visit to a beach

Busy days are here again!! As usual, I was the early bird today. Reached the office at 8:15 AM. And I have been busy as a bee right throughout the day. Though, i did manage to find some time for a few well-deserved breaks. And since my boss is going on a two-week holiday (she'll be travelling to Sikkim!!), she's ensured that we remain muchly occupied right through this two-week interlude that we hoped would be peaceful! ;-)

Well... enough of this birds and bees talk!! ... I guess you already know enuf abt birds and bees! ;-)

A couple of days ago, I surfed my way to www.fabmart.com and bought two items online. The first thing I selected was the VCD of Shrek and the second thing was a paperback edition of Lord of the Rings. Yesterday, the delivery from Fabmart arrived with only one of the two items... only with the LOTR book. About the Shrek VCD they said "We are having some difficulty in sourcing these items. We are attempting to procure the same from our sourcing partners in different locations. If we are unable to source these items within a week, we will cancel these items and initiate a refund to you for the same."

Darn!!!... what's with Shrek!!!?? I've searched for it in three Planet M stores, at two other shops selling VCDs... and now even at Fabmart!... It is not available anywhere!! The green ogre has vanished completely... in thin air!!

Suku... does your offer of lending me the VCD still stand??! ;-)

Anyways... right now... I'm publishing one of the few travelogues I have attempted to write. Its about a visit to Dapoli/Murud beach in Konkan... a place that I visited with my friends in the office a few months back. It was an amazing experience... and as I just went through the travelogue one more time... I was tempted to put it up on the blog!! ... Check it out...

When someone suggested that we go to Dapoli instead of the much-debated options of Ganpatipule and Kihim beach, everybody was taken by surprise. Not many knew anything much about Dapoli. In fact most hadn't heard about the place at all. But then Dapoli, a small Konkan town situated about 700 to 800 feet above the sea level and yet so close to the coastline is considered to be the only hill station in the Konkan belt. And the salubrious climate prevalent here prompted the Britishers to set up a cantonment at this place, which is also referred to as the 'Mahabaleshwar' of Konkan. About 10 kms from Dapoli and on the Konkan coastline lies the small village of Murud. This isn't the Murud of the Murud-Janjira fort fame. Murud-Janjira too has an excellent beach and of course the famous fort. It is about 165 Kms from Mumbai. The Murud that we were planning to go is a small coastal village about 265 Kms from Mumbai. It is so small that had it not been for the heavenly beach present there, it would not have even figured on any of the national or state maps.

So, Dapoli it was! Upen took care of the accommodation right away, at the Murud , situated about 8 kms from Dapoli, on the coastline. Prajwal got us the best travel deal which we closed the following day. Meanwhile it was raining mails... mails to decide the games that we would play, mails to decide the itinerary, mails for this and mails for that. The wheels were set in motion and our minds rusted by city life were slowly beginning to open up to the idea of a fun filled weekend on the beach..

Finally the day of the trip dawned. Well, technically it didn't, because we beat the sun to it and set off in the predawn darkness towards Dapoli. As the towns started decreasing in size and the size between them started increasing, a wide array of foodstuff was introduced and consumed in double quick time. People say that if you have good company then the longest of routes seems like a walk in the park. This most certainly was evident as the minibus sped past tiny hamlets with cute little houses (a distinctive feature if you travel by road in the Konkan region). We passed acres and acres of paddy fields separated by swaying palm trees. The lone track of Konkan Railway kept us company for the better part of the journey. And in no time at all, we entered the small town of Dapoli, where we had lunch. Immediately after the lunch, we set off towards our destination, Murud Beach Resort.

Just a half an hour later we found ourselves walking through palm and supari (betel nut) plantations on the way the resort. Then suddenly, without warning, there lay the Arabian Sea directly in front of us. We had arrived at the Resort. With surprising alacrity, defying the seven hour long journey, we unloaded the luggage from the bus and set up our base stations in the cute little thatched huts of the resort. And in no time at all, we were running onto the beach, heeding the call of the sea. As the group frolicked in the water, I went on a photo-clicking spree. I clicked the beach, I clicked the gently swaying palms, I clicked the resort. I even clicked some crabs on the beach (but I spent the better part of 15 minutes trying to get a crab to pose for me!).

As the evening progressed and the sun set, we sat down on the soft, white sand and listened to the incessant roar of the waves. The twilight gave way to darkness and the sky pulled on a blanket studded with a billion brilliant diamonds. The pitch-black sky looked resplendent with the tiny pinpricks of brilliance that were the stars. Each an individual and at the same time part of a formation. One was blue another green and yet another was sparkling red. We didn't think anything could beat this scene. We were wrong though. Rochelle spotted a tiny speck of light zooming across the sky. It was a shooting star! I am sure everyone sitting there marvelling at this feat of nature wished for something or the other. Well, at least I did! It was as if a touch of magic was added to an already bewitched atmosphere.

When the dinner bell was sounded, none of us wanted to get up and let go of these enchanted moments. The dinner, though, was another treat. Fried Bangda (Mackerel) and prawn curry (both fresh from the sea) were amazing and had us saying, 'Yeh dil maange more!' Post dinner, we set up a campfire on the beach and sat around it telling horror tales and frightening the wits out of each other. It must have been an eerie sight too! Imagine a pitch-black sky, a beach about four-five miles long (all to ourselves), not a sound except the steady roar of the waves, the metronomic sweep of the beacon from a distant lighthouse... and a group of people sitting hunched around a crackling fire singing haunting melodies from Hindi horror classics. Makes your hair stand on its end, doesn't it?!

Morning dawned and brought with it a biting chill. I, alongwith another guy from the group, grabbed our cameras and set off for a walk on the beach to snap up a couple of shots of the beautiful beach at the start of the day. The beach looked absolutely flat and untouched. It was as if we hadn't set foot there the earlier day, leave aside the rowdy football games that we had played the evening before. The high tide in the night, like a caring mom, had tidied up the mess we had created in the sand. Even the remnants of the campfire had been covered under a thick layer of sand. The waves had left a sine wave pattern all along the length of the beach. A cold cross breeze was making my teeth chatter. The waves on one side, the palm tree plantations on the other and the flat beach with the wavy pattern. It looked straight out of a landscape painter's dream. I clicked away to glory. We captured the serenity of the surroundings in our cameras, while the sun rose to herald a brand new day.

Then in a few minutes we were back to where we belonged... in the water! All the guys dove into the water with bare torsos and had an absolute blast, crashing headlong into the waves and in general, having a whale of a time. Hours turned into minutes and quietly sped past and then it suddenly struck us that we had to leave soon.

After a final set of group snaps, we bade adieu to the wonderful resort where we spent just about a day (but a wonderful, wonderful day), and set off towards Dapoli, where we once again had lunch.

Then it was back to the minibus, which trundled along on the route towards Mumbai. There was surprisingly little traffic on the highway for a Sunday evening and in no time Mumbai had arrived. It was time for another set of farewells and handshakes. As I got off the bus, I suddenly realised that this was the end of the journey (almost sounds foolish, but cant seem to put it in better words!).

During the ride back to home in a cab, I couldn't help but think what a wonderful time I had with an absolute wonderful bunch of people. And in the end all I can say for those who didn't come, is that 'Forgive them God, for they know not what they missed!!'

An advice for the people wanting to visit Mauritius or Seychelles... You should consider visiting places like Dapoli/Murud (and countless others) which are in our own backyard!!

If you have reached here after reading through the entire travelogue, I salute your patience!!. If you have come here directly, please go back where you left off and read the entire thing, so that you can earn your salute!! :-))

cheers! ... have a fab weekend!


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Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.