So we took a road trip to the beach.
The entire trip lasted about 36 hours from start to finish. There was a big SUV full of tired architects, a big ice-box full of alcohol and a three-hour trip to Digha.
Digha’s one of those touristy beach towns, a stone’s throw away from a big city. That automatically turns it into the destination to go to when you’re looking for a weekend retreat or a quick and budget honeymoon. The roads, if you can call them that, are lined with lodges and hotels to fit your every budgetary need. And if you’re not spoilt with choices in overnight stay, you can even talk a walk on the sandy promenades munching on batter-fried eggplants and haggling with the shopkeeper of that place that sells local jute handicrafts.
It may not seem that way, but we Indians are big beach-goers. We don’t always get our bikinis out, because as a brown-skinned nation we’re somehow constantly terrified that the sun will make us more brown than our mothers allow us to be. Which is something the Sun really doesn’t give a hoot about. But we don’t give up. We slather ourselves in milky sunscreen that makes us sweat even more. Then we proceed to pack our bags with enough food to feed a battalion. And then we end up eating none of it since the beach already offers up beautifully fresh seafood, and we’d rather be cool like everyone else and have lunch at the beach rather than go back to the lodge and eat whatever’s been packed into the luggage.
We also pack our swim-wear. Ummm, at this point if you’re imagining two-pieces or monokinis and swimming trunks then you’re dead wrong. Our swim-wear is way more comfortable and versatile than some piece of Lycra on our bodies stretched enough to cause breathing problems. We believe that the only way to enjoy jumping with the waves is do it fully-dressed. Oh sorry, I mean fully-dressed.
And by fully-dressed I mean fully-dressed. A pair of shorts and a faded t-shirt. Or a long summer dress with tights underneath. You could also choose to walk into the ocean wearing a very expensive pair of track pants and an over-sized jersey shirt, if you want to. Trust me, you will be considered completely normal. The men may choose to go topless, or if they’re shy they could also choose a faded t-shirt with baggy bermudas. Then of course, there are the more creative men who are brave enough to sport a super-tight super-short pair of cycling shorts and a humongous pot-belly at the same time. We Indians are cool that way. Proper swim-wear is old-fashioned. Can you bathe in the ocean in a ball gown? No? Well, we’re sorry for you, because we can.
But among all the fighting with the waves that kept tumbling us head over heels, there was a lot of crab in tomato sauce, a whole bottle of Blender’s Pride, stir-fried prawns sprinkled with salt and pepper, gallons of coconut water and a letch who got an earful from me as he deserved. There were also a couple of architects who got drunk, slipped and fell over the rocks and ended up with booster shots. And then we road-tripped back home browner than ever.
Oh, and there’s no recipe at the end of this one. I think I’d better just leave you with a few more photos.