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Aug 31, 2011

Sun, Sea and Sand…


“The cure for everything in life is salt water – Sweat, Tears or Sea…” 

- Anonymous


Dear Riddhie,

Isn’t it strange that people talk about finding calm and peace in the sound of the waves crashing on the shore? The sound itself doesn’t echo a musical note, yet helps sort out the most troubled souls. Perhaps its the feeling that you get when you are standing before a huge body of water or staring down a cliff – the feeling of your existence being such a trivial thing in the entire scheme of universe. Personally, I guess I like the sea better than a mountain side. I totally enjoy the first sight of sea and the first whiff of air that fills your lungs when you are entering a beach or just passing by the shore.

My first memories of a beach are of Juhu beach in Bombay (OK Mumbai). Though, if you were to compile a list of top 50 beaches around the globe based on their beauty or cleanliness, it may not find a place in the list but it still somehow is special to me. I was really young then and the first sighting of sea wasn’t just joyful it was almost magical. I remember the few visits we made to the beach on that trip, your grandma would buy me and your Bunty uncle a green coconut and we would have fun looking around for shells or just running along the sand, getting ourselves soaked in the spray. Interesting to note here is the fact that apart from the food stalls and the hawkers and a special characteristic ‘stink’, the beach doesn’t offer you much. There are no boardwalks, no roller coasters and more notably no civic sense in most people to help keep the area clean yet the entire experience remained fresh in my memory for years. In the last few years, I made couple more trips to Bombay and as a rule always visited the beach, even if I was going there for a day.

August 7, 2011 turned out to be your first visit to a beach. Location, Sea side heights along the Jersey shore. Perfect weather, not too hot and a pretty good boardwalk with lots of rides and colors and things to do, which I am sure you would have enjoyed way more had you been a little older. The place, in fact, turned out to be way better than our expectations. There weren’t many people around so the place wasn’t really bursting on its seams and there was ample parking space available (a thing which you would have gathered over the years that I am a little paranoid about).

The beach was about 60 miles away from our place and starting early in the day saved us from being trapped in traffic queues or other similar inconveniences. Once parked in and on the boardwalk, you were ecstatic delighted at the play of colors and people around. Your joy knew no bounds once you came in sight of the ocean. The huge mass of water and the play of waves spraying white foam on water was a sight to behold and you truly seemed mesmerized by this first vision. Your mom tried getting you with her to the water but I guess the magnanimity of such a sight got the better of you and you shrieked in fear every time the waves tried lapping up your feet.

Once it became clear, that you were going to keep a safe distance from the water, I decided to help you with the next best thing to do – play with sand. We sat together away from the water to observe how you dealt with this new element in your environment. I guess this was your first encounter with sand as well and you had a considerably good time playing with it. You apparently wanted to have your mouthful of it and I constantly kept deterring you from it until you got tired of the entire thing altogether and wanted to be picked up and be handed your milk bottle. It was perhaps then that we decided that you have had enough and probably it was time to head back.

Your mom cleaned you up and gave you a change of clothes before we sat down to have some lunch by the beach. Though it was tough carrying your stroller, bags we carried and you all the way from the beach to the parking lot and we were panting hard by the time we settled back in the car, overall it turned out to be one good outing. In fact we were so pleased at your reaction and the way you were mesmerized looking at the water initially that the following weekend saw us do an encore and we checked out a sister beach of Sea Side Heights called the Point Pleasant as well. 

I am sure you would have seen the entire picture set that we have from these days already but for your reference let me pull out a few and post them here as well. In fact I shall also add in a small and only video we got in accidently while clicking your pictures with sand at Point Pleasant.

Love,
Dad.

RiddhieRiddhie & Mom 
Riddhie & Mom Riddhie & Dad

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