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I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”
– John O’Donohue

‘’I am not here looking for some company ‘’

 a skeptical thought crossed my mind.  I looked away and continued staring at the horizon far away. I wanted my mind to enjoy the serenity, but my mind had other plans.

As I started feeling uneasy with the sudden company, the stranger sat beside me, spreading his legs on the white sand.

He said, extending a friendly muscular hand.

‘’I am Kartikeya. I live here ‘’

I extended my hand feebly for a handshake.

‘’I am Sumita, Sumita Hariharan.

My husband Hariharan is the proprietor of Sumita mills at Coimbatore ‘’

I wanted to keep the introduction simple. He too fell silent. His blank expression showed he had no interest in knowing whether my husband is a big mill owner or an astronaut.

I glanced at him. A silent companion on this eerie beach is good enough. Something is better than nothing! Someone is better than no one! I chided myself for setting out on this solo morning adventure.

The colorful rocks looked tempting under the shallow water. I stretched my feet into the water, the rocks were slimy and slippery.  Water bodies lured me always. I had a childhood spent around rivers, swimming, and playing for hours. Sometimes alone and sometimes with friends.  In those days river bathing was a routine, but now it felt like an ancient ritual.

 Oil was rubbed onto the scalp and body daily. I carried an aluminum soap box that contained a small piece of 501 bar soap for washing clothes, a piece of red lifebuoy soap for body wash, and a small piece of turmeric root for a face.  Then there was a small roll of dry coconut fiber was tugged out daily from the coconut for scrubbing.  After scrubbing this was thrown into the running water. The soapbox exuded a great fragrance. Once in a week I carried a bunch of tender hibiscus leaves, this was mashed into a paste on the washing rock and applied to the hair. The hibiscus leaf was shampoo and conditioner at the same time.  This was known as ‘thali ‘ for hair.  The washing and cleaning procedures and spending lots of leisurely time in the water swimming and just floating healed the mind and nourished the body daily. The excitement of the river never goes away…

‘’ Coming for kayaking ?’’

Karthikeya’s deep voice broke my reveries.

to be continued…

pic credit Guillermo Latorre , Unsplash