call of Arabian Sea

"In-Roads", Life Positive Magazine

A lone purpose sought a lone me, and we met in Goa. The date was set near the sea, by the side of the gurgling wave. Traveling atop the waves of the world, I halted, deciding by a timely blessing that the intoxication that I wished to drown in was the intoxication of my own Self. And that the ideal setting to do so would be by seaside!

I like seas, for one sees no beginning nor end to them. It gives a glimpse into infinity. Also, where the sea is, there is calm, there is rest. There is mystery. A sure sense of freedom and calm were felt with my very first step onto the soil of this quaint town of red roofs, narrow streets and charming villages, tucked snugly between the Arabian Sea to the West, and the Western Ghats on the East. Goa, a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea, appeared like a scene plucked out of a storybook. Bottle green hills, cashew groves, swaying coconut palms along a clear road that had but a mere sprinkling of traffic!

Goa has a long history as a Portuguese colony prior to 1961, has emerged with a distinctive individuality of its colonial heritage of well-preserved 17th-century churches, tropical spice plantations, along with glistening sun drenched beaches, fresh seafood, rave parties, beachside shopping and midnight bonfires. Although offering an unusual array of ancient churches and temples, I recall entering none. I smiled along the Lady of Miracles, Saint Francisi of Assisi, and the hilltop temples of Shiva and Durga, knowing well that the shrine I wished to enter lowering my head was that of my own heart. The secret truly alluring to me lay sunken within me.

“Take me to the Colva beach...", I requested the motorist behind whom I was riding, "where the sea is calm, the beaches relatively empty and life moves on quietly.” Gliding past curio shops, food stalls, low-budget hotels, and fishermen spreading their nets, I walked along the beach, stopping to collect colorful shells and some long lost memories. How divine it is to do the usual and the mundane with keenness, I mused. It is attention alone that makes objects, people and situations adorable, and worthy of experience. Gazing at blue waters, it became evident that it was the sea that had pulled me. It had a benediction to give to me, a gift to impart unto my spirit. I had been called. A miracle awaited me.

Just as the desire to be alone by its side hit the shores of my mind, I saw tourist folks preparing to leave. The vast vacant eyes of the sea peering at me from afar, beckoned. Footing the bill for my prawn platter at an adjacent seafood cafe, I got rid of my shoes and dashed onto the glorious sand. As I surrounded myself with its roars, I saw the whole parable of saṃsāra enact atop its waves. There was love on the beach, there was play, there was music and grub, and mirth, and silent salty tears perhaps, and ships that had left the harbor, and those that were returning. In the sound of the sea was contained all sound. In its roar was contained the pranava, the primordial sound of creation. Its expanse seemed symbolic of life itself and what lay beyond. Almost anything could erupt unexpected from its waves. Just anything! Also, not a single of her moods repeated! Soon the sea began to converse with me. A deep calm infected my spirit. Suddenly, I escaped the matrix. Seeing the waves gush forth in my direction, I saw that the sea reflected my own inner depth. Finding its counterpart within me, it hastened towards me, joyous to discover a greater depth and vastness than its own! I swelled with fullness in response. The greater sea inside of me twitched, stirred, roared, arisen from its slumber! The journey completed.

Yet, some faces remain in the fragments of memory. Sunil, who gave me a ride on his bike till Colvan; Frazer, the Goan tour operator who dropped me till Panaji; Balereo, the cab driver who drove me till the railway station. Captain’s Cabin, the thatched restaurant that served me Goan fish curry and chips. It was easy to get hooked on to Goa's smooth effortless existence. But I have learnt to keep moving, from the sea.