May 12, 2016
As I walked the dusty mud path to my home for the weekend, I smiled down at my feet – they were crusted over with sand – and I had given up on getting them clean.
It was a small price to pay for a weekend of frolicking in soft golden sands watching the blue waves hit the shoreline. No, I wasn’t in Goa (it’s hard finding a beach where you can be alone there!) nor was I in Thailand. I was in Adgaon, a tiny dot of a village past the Raigad coast that is being developed by the Swades Foundation and Grass Routes as part of a Konkan village tourism project.
The long walk on the beach had my tummy rumbling and I smiled as I saw Sudesh Uncle in the distance indicating it was time to eat. While the others in our group settled themselves on the chatais laid on the porch, I couldn’t resist peeping into the kitchen where I found a big bubbling pot of Chicken Masala and fresh rice bhakris Sudesh’s aunt was busy cooking up.
As I settled down, a thali loaded with Chicken Masala, gavar chi bhaji (cluster beans), and kokum sharbat was kept in front of me and the group promptly stopped chattering as we dug into our meal. Hot rice bhakris kept flowing out from the kitchen and our vati of Chicken Masala was continuously topped up until our stomachs protested. When caught licking my fingers dry, Sudesh’s mom told me that the masala marinade was made using a home ground spice on the stone masala patti that I had been admiring all afternoon.
After lunch, we all headed inside our cottage for a quick siesta. At a first glance, the small cottage could be described as basic. After all, it only had a couple of cots, a small kitchen and an old-school bathroom. But, the shared childhood stories and the gentle squeaking of the balcony swing meant I promptly forgot about the lack of luxury and instead revelled in a summer afternoon spent doing absolutely nothing.
Sunsets in Adgaon are not to be missed and so a small hike up the hill to watch the sun go down followed our siesta. As dusk turned to darkness and the sand turned cool under our feet, we stayed at the beach sharing tall tales and singing songs much like you’d see in any Bollywood movie these days. The only reason we eventually left the beach was to indulge in a dinner of Konkan seafood! When no one talks during dinner, you know the food is good and that was exactly what happened to us as we quietly feasted on prawns so large that they were chopped into three as well as miniature fried Surmai caught fresh from the nearby Sarve village.
To me, life’s choicest moments are in the simple things. Just as we were about to leave, I discovered that the local kirana store had been restocked with those flavoured ice-lollies of my childhood – what we used to call Pepsi-Colas. Not believing my luck, I promptly bought two and sucked them dry as we said our goodbyes. I was definitely coming back to this village haven soon.