Pause & Pass – Feb ’16


I was the only outsider dwelling in the shore in Kodiakkarai (Point Calimere), in that afternoon of Feb 2016. It was a sea shore without waves. Apart from me, there were two other fishermen on a fishing boat stopped at the shore; where they were untying the fishes and other aquatic animals caught on their net.
 
Sea shore without waves; many flocks of seagulls flying around like – kites all tied to a pivot – raising and raising and round and round, finally landing and raising again; wet sand shore holed and carved with architectures of crabs; a fishing boat with two fishermen on it plucking the fish from their net. It sounded to me as a backdrop enacted there just for my presence.
 
I reached to the fishing boat. Just stood there to see what they did; Didn’t talk or near them very close for sometime; they didn’t talk to me either. A young boy and his grandmother(atleast I assumed so).
 
“Can I take a photo of you two?”, I asked.
 
Grandma looked at me, then his grandson.
 
“No, don’t take”, boy denied without looking at me.
 
“Why?”
 
“No, don’t take”, he denied again.
 
“ok, I won’t”, I respected their refusal. Didn’t picture them.
 
But it affected me thought, not because I was refused.
 
I somehow felt that, he denied and acted to me like that because he was not happy to be captured by a well fed someone and who are not bother of his life at stake for his daily needs; like How a not so happy sibling would deny a sufficiently supplied sibling. Kodiakkarai, if you don’t know, is twenty five kilometers away from Srilanka. Kodiakkarai fishing community is one of many others who are neglected by central government and tortured, boats damaged, sometime shot at, by Srilankan navy.
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***
 
Next day, when I was in Pichavaram – chidambaram, second largest marshland in India. People were fishing in rowing boats.
 
“Anna (brother), will they say anything if I picture them?”, I asked the boatman on who’s boat I was in.
 
“No no.. don’t mind to..” he told me and he shouted at them – “hey.. You.. Pose for the photo here…. nobody is going to eat you if you smile…. Show your teeth….”
 
I smilingly took the photo and showed them the thumps up.
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***

A dinner in street.


‘Haeli(tell me)’ cashier nodded his head at me. 

‘Masal dosa’ I said and showed a finger to tell him the count. 

‘Thirty.  haeeyyyy…. ‘ he said and rushed to the street. Three teenagers were racing on a bike and dashed over a couple. 

They didn’t stop, though there were too many hands trying to grab a hold of them –  the three teenagers. They managed to escape them all and dashed themselves, missing the balance, on the vehicles that were parked at the sides of the street shop – I was waiting for Masal dosa. Few grabbed their collar, few jumped over them, many punched on their face. There was much hassle. 

I got my dosa a little while later, sat over a concrete near the shop and started feeding my hunger. 

‘What is happening here?!’ a voice directed towards me. A white. 

I told him what happened there, repeating many words again and again, I couldn’t twist my tongue proper to his mother language. 

‘But, why did they dash on those vehicles? ‘

‘They were trying to escape’ I said. 

‘Aaaahhhh…’ he said and shock his head. 

He was eating ‘Set dosa’ with a coffee by the side,  with bare hands. 

‘Good to see you eat with bare hands’ I smiled. 

He laughed out loud. “Food that are costlier than these are not tastier than these” 

‘Where are you from?! You are here for very long?! ‘ I asked. He said, he is from London and he has been in India for six months now,  traveling along Kerela and Tamil Nadu for past five months and his stay in Bangalore of one month is getting over by tomorrow. 

‘I’m leaving Bangalore tomorrow, but I don’t know where I’m going next. My travel so far has been as this, zero planning’ he grinned. 

I excused to get me a coffee,  got one and went back again to him. 

‘How do you feel about the past six months here? ‘

Staring with food, he continues praising good about culture, tradition and people. 

‘People here handle things by themselves,  which I don’t see in London, I mean, in terms of dealing things among themselves as it just happened now, in that hassle; without taking it over to an burocracy level. Ah.. where are those three guys who got caught?!’

‘Their plea has been considered after the smashing’ I said. 

He was raving about things here, I don’t know if it was because of my emotive nature, but I was more than proud. Perhaps, gloating. I couldn’t get ride of that thick grin that was sticking on my face.

‘You people get rid of your politicians somehow, I mean, somehow… You people can handle it all with yourself, you just don’t need them’ there was a firm genuineness in his expression then. 

I was just sitting there, with my grin for sometime. 

‘Alright man, good to see you, have a wonderful trip’, I wished him and started walking home. 

Only after crossing few meters, I remembered I had left the coffee glass in the place we were talking and didn’t give it back to the shop. 

I went back there only to see no coffee glass at the place I kept but the English guy I was talking to had picked my glass as well, along with his plate and his coffee glass, and was giving it to the shop. He was modest enough to pick something I used. I wouldn’t have done that in his place, just until then. 

I left the place, with a sense of making something really ugly. Only I couldn’t put that “Why?!” into words here.