I looked out the window as our shiny VW – now coated in multiple layers of dust – whizzed past a small girl enjoying a grilled ‘Bhutta’ by the side of the road. We were headed from Ganpatipule to Ratnagiri, Maharashtra’s mango capital.
I could literally feel the ‘Hapus’ warm in my hands as its sweet as the juice dribbled down the side of my mouth. My heart skipped a beat – it had been seven years since I last ate a mango.
We turned around the cliff of the Coastal Highway, and slowed into the tiny village of Bhandarpule. At first glance, there wasn’t much to look at aside from the mud huts and the palm trees in the distance. That’s until I saw the dilapidated sign announcing that the twin beaches of Aare Ware were only a few metres away. For a minute, the promise of discovering a new beach made me forget my mango craving.
The turn-off to Ware wasn’t promising, greeted as we were by a one lane black sand driveway that bent into the palm trees. My husband giggled. Until, we neared the end of the pathway and silently stared into the distance.
I felt like we had stepped into another world. The black sand of Ware glittered silently in the sun as the waves lapped repeatedly on the shore. The beach was completely deserted. No people, no garbage, no noise. Just us. And sparkling blue water so clean that you could see your feet through it.
We walked miles that afternoon. I picked out shells that seemed to tell a story of their own while he wrote me love notes in the sand. I whooped and ran Baywatch style into the water while he stood there grinning, his toes sinking into the soft sand. I gazed into the distance pondering life while he ran behind the sea gulls simply. Why? Because we could. There is a certain freedom in finding a small piece of the world that belongs only to you, if only for a short time.
The sun set, like a ball of fire and we spotted a lone fisherman heading into the water with a knotted net in his hand. With a loud grunt he threw the net into the sea and waited for a few minutes before heading back to the shore. It was my first time seeing fish freshly caught off the sea and we ran to him eager to see his loot. He untangled at least a dozen ‘Nemo’s’ from his net and grinned up at us.
“Would you like to come home for a fish curry”, he asked? Staring at the fish still flapping in the sand we nodded quietly. Slippers in our hand, we stepped back into the car and followed his cycle into Bhandarpule.
The mangoes were forgotten, at least for today.