I believe it is time I began to write about my trip. Am already pretty late in doing so. For the past two days, I was researching this presentation I need to make about the ship breaking industry. Also, bought Vikram Seth's new novel 'Two Lives'. This is the first time I am reading his work and I must say, it seems pretty good. I have a confession to make here. The original print costs Rs 695 but I bought mine off the side of the road for Rs 150. Well, I am against piracy but there was no way I could blow nearly Rs 700 of my dad's money. He would not be the least concerned but hey, I have a sense of shame. When its my own money...one day...
Now about my trip.
The first day was just travelling up to Badami, the place of the Chalukya Dynasty. It is a loooong way from Mangalore on NH 17 upto Ankola and from there on NH 13 to Hubli and further on. NH 17 that begins somewhere in Kerala and ends in Goa has always been a favourite of mine, especially the road from Mangalore to Udupi. The roads are not quite wide and wind through little towns, one of which is named 'Manki'! Every few kilometres, the monotonous tree lined road gives way to a blue stream of the Nethravathi River. These tributaries are wide and lined with tall palm trees on both its banks, often gently sliding up to embrace the steps of the huts on its banks. The scene could be straight out of a picture postcard, with the long winding river, the palm trees, a little boat on the banks below a thatched hut where a fisherwoman grumbles at her lot and cleans the day's catch while her teenaged daughter washes clothes of every possible colour.
After a while, I get bored with the picturesque scenery, however beautiful, and shift my attention to people. Like in every town in every corner of the city, people in the towns along the road have begun to wake up. Its a Sunday, Christmas Day but for most, that is not a reason to rest their tired feet. The fisher folk get their boats ready, the children take out their bicycles and another day begins. A little further on, we pass by the entrance of Murudeshwara, a temple of Lord Shiva. Soon, I catch a glimpse of the gigantic statue of Lord Shiva looking on into the distance while hundreds of the devout throng at His feet every day. Though we would not admit it for the world, each of us utter a silent prayer for a good journey. At least I do, like I am sure millions before me have done.
Then again the landscape continues...the palm trees...the people...the houses and the towns, all that pass by in a haze and one seems to merge into the other to my tired eye. just when I am about to doze off, a sudden wiff of sea breeze wakes me up. I look out and the road is lined with the unending trees and the odd house. Just when I am about to attribute the smell to my ever fertile imagination, the road opens up. The way ahead is straight but somehow I get the feeling that we are piercing the sea because on my left is the Arabian Ocean and on my right is the Souparnika River. The sight is overwhelming. You cannot help but marvel at the wonder of nature with just one road separating the sea and a river. It is the Marwante Beach and surprisingly, the river joins the sea only about 10 miles up the river. Boat rides are offered. The beach has a high stone barricade. We dont stop, though we did so last time.
From Ankola, the landscape changes again. We leave behind the coast and take NH 13.
to be continued.....