A Journey of Rediscovery

When and how many times does a honeymoon happen in one’s life?
 
My good friend, I will call her Gita, says it happens an umpteen times and it could be unforgettable like it happened to them…a honeymoon that made them realize that they could not live without each other…that life is precious…that there are people out there who have died without fulfilling their dreams. Here is what happened to Gita in her own words.
 
“Life was getting a little tough for us way back in 2004. We were not getting enough time with each other, our careers were choking us and the pride we had in our sixteen years of marriage was getting stale. That something which made life worthwhile was missing and Hubby and I decided to go away for a day’s drive sans kids, to the end of the sub continent and see if some of what remained of a good thing could be saved and the spark revived…
 
It was just after Christmas, on the 26th December 2004, that we went to Kanyakumari for a few moments of revitalization. Cape Comorin or Kanyakumari is at the tip of the triangle of the Indian Subcontinent that juts into the Indian Ocean. A two-hour drive for us, this place is a meeting-point of the three oceans, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean and is a must-visit for any traveler to South India.
 
The Vivekananda rock just 400m off the shore is a bare 5 minute ferry across the turbulent waves and the high point of the visit. The day’s crowd was waiting on mainland in serpentine queues for the ferry to the rock. We got on one of the first boats that started ferry service that day and once on the rock we found a secluded place facing the mainland. We sat in total silence. The atmosphere was serene in spite of the milling crowds and it was heavenly being surrounded by the blue sea and white frothing waves with the mainland close in sight. It was a little past 9 in the morning and across the water just a few feet away another rock bore the 95 ft statue of Tiruvalluvar in regal posture. I leaned back on the shoulder of my hubby and closed my eyes; my heart bubbled over with happiness. The magic was returning to my life, I felt.
 
Some time later I opened my eyes to a buzz around us and found a whole crowd just past our seat pointing their fingers to the sea. I nudged hubby and both of us sat up straight in shock at the sight in front of us. Have you ever seen the bottom of the sea? We just did! The sea floor was uneven and rocky, and looked like wet sand heaps but it did not hold our attention for more than a moment, when a fear gripped me and my heart began to beat in wild rhythm; this was not normal; and not right at all…Sea moving backward? I could see the far off images of the crowds on the beach on mainland running forward in curiosity and I feared the statue of Tiruvalluvar would tumble down without its sea bed.
 
In a moment I saw a huge wave race up the bare sea floor right on to the beach…did I say huge?  It was nothing short of gigantic… and looked like a green-blue wall closing in and I felt blank…yes really blank…the screams round me were at the highest pitch I ever heard and the pilgrims were frantically chanting at the top of their voices. The roar of the sea was even louder and I gripped hubby’s arm tight, how tight I didn’t realize till almost hours later. The giant wall passed us…yes really rode past us and ran on to the mainland beach, where I could see ant-like figures trying to scramble up the beach…the water went on and back right into the ocean. The statue was taking the brunt of the wave and standing like…well a rock…I felt numb and sick and hid my face on to his shoulder. The screaming frenzy rose to unbelievable pitches and my mouth was dry. I wanted to see whether there was another wave coming in our direction but could not look up for fear…Was there another wave? I don’t know really! The rising column of water spilled its spray on the places on Vivekananda rock considered safe so far. People were running helter-skelter and it was almost a stampede like situation. There was no escape from the rocky island. I heard wild commentaries on how the sea was going back and forth but did not open my eyes for what seemed like hours, holding on to what I now realized to be my most beloved possession, my husband. When the roar of the sea had subsided to normal pitches and I opened my eyes to a world changed.
 
Everything looked normal, so normal! The sea was its usual green-blue and at its usual rhythm; like a naughty child who was pretending that it had done no mischief. The wails that rose from the mainland was unmistakable, though faint and below the roar of the sea. The voices round me were frantic, and although some persons did try to make an attempt through their cell phones, but no one was getting connected. Someone said that there were about 400 persons on the rock at the moment but help was slow in arriving. It was just about 11 in the morning; just an unforgettable two hours since we arrived on the rock.
 
I didn’t have a doubt about my life any more, nor about how solid was my partnership. Help came late evening and once ashore we got to hear the details of tragedies that happened on the beach right in front of our eyes. A newly married couple who were holding hands one moment and the bride alone in the world the next moment! A mother frantically looking for her ten-year-old son whom the waves tore from her hands! A whole family washed away in front of the grandmother who stayed back on the beach! There were tales aplenty and as many bodies to identify and dispose of!
 
We finally managed to get a call through to our home where a frantic group of relatives were waiting to hear from us. It was a tough drive back; our clothes were wet and we were shivering. The hot black coffee supplied by some volunteers was not doing its job, but at a lonely spot, hubby stopped the car and held out his hand. My tears which were dammed within a confused mind flowed freely. I found his cheeks wet too and we sat in each others arms till a cold wind broke our reverie.
 
We realize that it was a real honey moon not in the sense of romance or good time, but of rediscovering ourselves. We have no photos and a not even memory…the time spent there on the rock is locked away in a part of our mind where even memory cannot access. I know most of you will say this was not a honeymoon; but if a honeymoon is about finding each other, I would say this journey was one!”Heard this joke on names of cities being changed?
 


Suneetha is a writer by passion, profession and hobby. She writes fiction in English, poetry in her native tongue Malayalam and journalistic features in both. She can be contacted at yashovathi@gmail.com

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