More than 13 months after moving to Mumbai, we did several firsts last weekend – a road trip and a trip to the beach. This was a trip we had been planning for months with a bunch of friends but it never worked out. In the meanwhile another couple of friends were planning a trip and asked us on Wednesday if we wanted to join them. In 15 minutes we decided we would. The weekend was completely open and it seemed the weather would be mild. So we headed to the Prakruti Resort at Kashid beach.
When we were moving from the Bay Area to Mumbai one of the things we were worried about was that we wouldn’t be able to just up and drive the way we were used to. In the Bay Area we would drive 60 miles to meet friends for dinner and then stay over if we were too lazy to drive back at midnight. But since moving back we’ve realized that you can drive out to several places around Mumbai, being surrounded by beautiful hills and mountains that it is if you only have the inclination.
We started off early in the morning, when the day was cloudy but warm. The baby wasn’t in his car seat since there wasn’t space and had to be “managed”. I find it impossible to keep him still and am constantly worried about him getting hurt. But thankfully hubby wasn’t driving so the baby kept going back and forth between us gladly munching on French toast, biscuits and chips and sipping juice.
The thing that hits you as you head out east from Mumbai, over the Vashi bridge is the green. I have never seen such a beautiful green in my life. In the US the green was deeper like an olive green, but here the green is more fresh, a lighter yellowish-green. Like it has been freshly painted. And it has been, by the rain and the sun. It is invigorating, just like the water has breathed life into the foliage, it breathed life into me. At times we drove right next to the sea and at others, between small hills and the sea, reminding me of being on Rt 1 in California. Such a thrill to discover such beauty right in our backyard.
The roads were a bit of a disappointment though. Living in Powai we are a bit spoiled with all the good roads and all. I finally understood what all the potholes fuss in the papers was about. They cut our speed and made a 2.5 hour drive over 4 hours long. It does get tiring for the driver. We reached the resort at 1 pm and headed straight for lunch. This is a food inspired blog so a note on the food is mandatory. All the meals were buffet style and had just the right number of dishes. Each of the dishes had a separate flavour and the spice and oil level was just right. You felt full after eating but not sick. Which is great when you are on vacation coz you don’t want to spend time in bed do you? The baby did not eat despite having a baby chair. But he did munch on onions and had a couple of jalebis and ice cream for dessert. Just as we were breaking routine on a holiday, so did he deserve to. He is a person too.
The resort is beautifully landscaped with rooms, cottages and bungalows for rent. There are well manicured gardens and fruit trees and wide roads. They have a golf course, a pool, a park for kids and a host of other amenities. No this is not a pitch for Prakruti resort, it’s just that I felt it was the kind of place where you feel like you want to spend a few days relaxing. One day seemed too short. Talk about greed.
In the evening we headed to the beach which belonged to the resort and was a 5 minute walk away. But we went over in a bullock cart. Another first. The baby was thrilled to ride on a cow – he can’t tell the difference! I was excited to go to the beach for myself and for baby’s sake. It would be his first time and given his penchant for jumping in water puddles I thought he would be thrilled. I put him down right at the edge of the water to start off and waited. As the water came in baby’s face started showing fear. When the wave hit him right around his knees and he felt like he was falling – he didn’t because I was holding him, he wrapped himself around my legs and started crying. He wanted to be picked up. Still water he was alright with. But he could tell that this moving water had an immense power that he would not be able to control and chose to stay away the rest of the evening. He also kept asking us not to go into the water – “No, don’t” he kept screaming every time we went a little far. He occupied himself with the sand, digging into it with a stick and throwing sand all over especially the hapless dogs that were loitering about. He knew what he could control.
“There is something about the sea, man.” one of our travel companions said, an old friend of hubby’s from his undergraduate days. I knew exactly what he meant. The beach was light brown, almost grey in color very different from Chennai’s beaches which are a yellowish light brown and smooth. Kashid beach is rocky. But it does something to you. I had this incredible, inexplicable urge to just go a little farther in and get completely wet, head to toe. This was completely contradictory from my usual urge to stay dry! But I didn’t and I don’t know why. There was nothing stopping me, but some vague inside voice. How I wish now I had stepped into the ocean and not stayed at the edge.
The evening was quiet, with dinner, the baby going to sleep quickly and we adults getting time to talk. What we discussed was the stuff of “Zindagi na milegi dobara” – what would you do if you could do anything you wanted, no restrictions whatsoever. And our answers surprised me. More little discoveries to think about.
The next morning we had to leave right after breakfast because the husband had to be back by lunch for a work thing. So we woke up really early and headed to the beach before breakfast. We discovered a small beach on the other side of the hill which bordered the beach we had been to the previous evening. It was hidden away from the road but was more beautiful than the other one, with the sand lined with green and a small fishing community right next to the beach. It was also rockier and the water came up closer to you which made it more personal. We then drove down to Murud-Janjira just to grab a view of the fort in the middle of the water which was inaccessible because of the rains. My first thought was, how did they build it? It looked so lonely, battling the rough seas by itself, half drowned because of the high tides. Yet trying hard to stand its ground. The black fort against the white sky and sea. It was for lack of a more poetic description – beautiful. It meant something.
The rest of the trip was a mad dash – back to the resort, through breakfast and the drive back home, reaching exactly when we wanted to. Life began again.