We drove to the guesthouse. It was an old house and had one room with a bathroom. I loved the place. It was really breezy in the afternoon with an open verandah one could just lie on. No mat was required just the cool floor was enough.
It was a big room and we opened all the windows to let the fresh air in. We had to get some extra bedding and pillows and Pankaj kept them at the Jain temple complex nearby.
We relaxed for a bit lying on the verandah and it was blissful. All thoughts vanished and emptiness remained. After some time Bhim and I joined Pankaj to get the mattresses and explore the place a bit while Adit stayed back to practice yoga.
We were right on time for really good Chai and Khakhras at the complex. Everybody knew Pankaj there so the man at the canteen got us homemade ghee! We followed Pankaj’s method and added ghee to Khakhras and it was delicious.
There was no one in the canteen except us three and it was peaceful as Pankaj spoke about the school and how he got involved with it. There were challenges and though he didn’t want to be burdened with too many responsibilities, he loved the children and their energy. I realised that’s what kept him going there. Giving him a fresh surge of energy.
We picked up the bedsheets and pillows and Pankaj took us to another place, Bordi beach. It was a little away from Dahanu but the stretch was beautiful and Pankaj told us that from the beach one could keep driving towards Dahanu with the sea next to us.
We reached Bordi beach and there is something about the sea, the trees and the skies isn’t it? Instantly the heart felt calm, so calm. We slowly walked towards the beach. The sun was just about to set and the scene was enchanting.The swaying trees, the sparkling water with small waves and the sunset.. Aah…. all I have to do is close my eyes and it comes back to me.
Pankaj showed us the school opposite the beach. A couple of the brightest kids from Vaki were sent to this school every year with full sponsorship.
We slowly walked our way towards the beach and something happens in your heart when you get the first sight of the sea .. the thrill, childlike awe and that twinkle in your eyes.
I removed my slippers and felt the cool water on my feet. We were far away from the crowd on the other side of the beach. Everything seemed so distant. Hyderabad, the village, Bombay, everything..The moment was right here. This was it.
Pankaj showed us the bubbles and foam that was forming after the waves hit the beach, it was because of the Chemical factories in the town and the dumping of their waste. Why we humans have gone so far away from the nature that created us..
After some time we slowly made our way out and it was difficult to tear ourselves away from it. Pankaj said we will be visiting Dahanu beach later in the evening.
We went back towards Dahanu and Pankaj had to drop off fresh notebooks at one of the teacher’s house. School would be starting in June 1st week and prep work was on. This teacher was a young woman and she studied at Vaki school, moved to the school in Bordi, graduated and was now training the teachers in Vaki school.
Her father welcomed us warmly into the house while the young lady got us cool drinks. Their simplicity struck me. Here we were, city folks thinking we are more aware, more educated but really we are not. Not only were they content with what they had, they had a lot of gratitude plus an innocence which was lost in all of us replaced by judgement, pessimism and a know it all attitude.
We said our goodbyes to them and it was time to pick up Adit from the guest house and have some homemade Chaat.
To be continued, this magical surreal journey of Dahanu..