Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The schedule

The surf has been picking up steadily all week. We tend to make the paddle across the lagoon at about 7.30am to either Baba’s left or Water Tower and get back for a very late, well-earned and heartily appreciated breakfast at about 11am or even 12pm. At about this time the land heats up and the pressure difference draws the air from cooler sea to land creating on onshore breeze which messes the surf up a bit.

This morning we paddled down the lagoon to the river mouth to the south and crossed over to a spot called Swami’s (the Ashram have named all these breaks a couple of years ago as no-one else had previously surfed them ) where we had a good session in shoulder high, but pretty powerful waves which without even a breath of wind were as clean as they come. The paddle back, against the river current , took thirty muscle-burning, energy sapping minutes after a two hour session, but the lure of lopping the top off a fresh coconut to drink the cooling brew within kept us focused. It’s amazing to be the only people on this 60 mile stretch of picture postcard tropical beach aside from the odd heavy goods vehicle wandering by with a load on top of her head. It’s also great fun surfing with the kids from the Ashram: Satya, Shyama & Diksheet as they whoop, scream, sing Hare Krishna and bizarrely make meow noises as they take off and wipe out, consciously aware that they are probably amongst a handful of Indian boys – most of whom they know – surfing this whole sub-continent.

I finally succumbed to the lure of the longi (?). I cast aside my prejudices, quelled my cynicism, conquered my English reserve and bought the 2m strip of cloth and learned the wrap-round technique to keep it from falling…. And boy does it feel good. So much cooler than shorts clinging about your thighs, to have a bit of erm... freedom in that area encouraging a breeze about your bits is a joy to behold.

Monday, 28 April 2008

First Taste

Here I am in my room at the Ashram with the fan furiously blowing hot air around me. I'm lucky that I arrived in a cool spell after the first rains of the approaching monsoon season. Still it's 32ยบ and humid all day and all night. The Ashram sits on the shores of a lagoon which promises respite from the swelter but a leap off the jetty is rewarded with a slightly warmer, slightly wetter sensation than on land. The better recourse is to draw a bucket of water from the well in the garden and douse yourself in it's invigorating contents.

The surf, not epic but building day by day, is reached by a 20 minute paddle across the lagoon then a short walk across a sand spit to the Arabian Sea to Baba's Left. The sea is warm and the only crowd in the water, or even on this huge sandy beach, are the crowd you go with from the Ashram – which so far means Dustin (a SoCal devotee living at the Ashram), Krishna Priya (wife of the top dog – i think that's the correct Hindu term...), Satya & Shyama (two krishna kids from the Ashram) and David (the only other guest here, from San Fran).

The most profound, spiritually rousing thing to happen so far on the sub-continent (at least to me) is the stealth upgrade bestowed upon me by Jet Air from Mumbai to Mangalore. As I checked in at 4am on Saturday morning I could pay no attention through my sleep(less) encrusted red-eyes to my boarding pass. Only as I climbed aboard the plane and prepared for the usual traipse down the aisle to the cheap-seats at the back did I glance down to read the numbers on the pass, numbers of lottery winning magnitude:

The seats, with cloth of finest cobalt blue, were wide as the Serengeti, the legroom as bountiful as the Grand Canyon. As I eased into my seat I checked my ticket again... surely there's been a mistake, someone will notice in a minute and manhandle me through the curtain-of-plenty into the cattle class behind. But as the hot towels and complimentary mineral water arrived, with a smile of recognition, I relaxed into my new found, yet richly deserved, status... yes, this was how it was meant to be...
The food was an inedible concoction of boiled egg in marie-rose sauce with a bizarre sausage and the flight was over in 45 minutes... The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away...

Friday, 25 April 2008

here i go again on my own...

... going down the only road i've ever known... or something like that...
I'm in a mild state of panic as I throw the last few thongs into my holdall, but i figured I should add something new since my last visit here.... so here's a picture from my recent Icelandic adventure.

See you in India