Morning rays are breaking over my bed.

Callings of little monkeys can be heard in the distance, and I wake up exactly as the sun slices its shine through the palms` leaves.

It`s Friday. I can`t even think about school. The soles of my feet are ticklish. I throw three t-shirts in the backpack, I plant the card in my pocket and I leave.

And off I went.

Through the bush telegraph, I start believing there really is no way to get to the holy city of Gokarna. Asking questions to passengers on the streets of India is like drawing sorts, only many times and from various bowls.

Two and a half hours later, I am in the Udupi train station. I wait for another two hours and the train arrives somehow, along with its Indians on top of it, beneath it and stuck between doors. I climb up. I was to wait for three hours by standing or (if a bit lucky) sitting on the stairs.

People gaze at me…I gaze back at them. All the more, I give them a reason to tell me about their lives, their gods, their families. I am listening to them as the train runs over the tracks. Over time, plains, then hills, then mountains with cascades and farms lie in front of the train doors. I start wondering whether I took the wrong train, all I wanted was to get to the sea…

A bus takes me from the train station, then leaves me in the middle of nowhere. “Don`t you want to go to Om beach? ”, I hear, I answer positively, I am thrown out of the bus, with my 50 rupees grabbed out of my hand, then it leaves.

From there, the edge of Gokarna city, there are almost seven kilometres to my sacred beach. From the wilderness I wave my hand towards a rickshaw. It stops and I climb up. We chaffer about the price. From the starting point of 700 rupees, we end up dealing for 150. It seemed fair enough, so we hit the road. This gasoline powered rickshaw of mine stops several times upon the mountains. Not only was I asking myself what in hell I was doing in the mountains..but the thought of me stuck with the small, panicked scooter driver in a camping full of monkeys was not exactly enchanting to me. We both push the vehicle uphill and it starts again. This happens four times in a row, until we reach for the edge of the abrupt hill. End of journey.

I climbed a hill, surrounded by nothingness. I went down river rocks, I encountered monkeys and cows. I would often ask myself if I were to sleep on that hill, but, alas, at one point the sea was filling the horizon.

I walked towards Her. I inhaled the salt and I looked at the sunset. I met the sand beneath my feet and I trembled upon it. I lived my childhood all over again, in Mother Earth`s most sacred motif.

Somehow, I ended up on the only terrace on the beach. I asked around for a hotel room, a cabin, and the only Europeans there, slightly drunk from beer and marijuana, softly sung to me that Namaste cafe offers the only roof in this area.

I booked a room with a canopy against mosquitoes and I laid rest with curry rice in the sound of breaking waves.

What I saw from the inside of the terrace looked as in movies about shipwrecks. Palm trees and cows, and palm trees again were bending towards this magnificent sea. It looked just like it was going up into the sky, like a ladder to God.

Soon, the night and her moon embraced me. I was listening to the sea, to its sound, a continuous bass in between those mighty rocks. I went out for a walk in the sand, but every step seemed to only disturb this fairy tale landscape. It felt like rather the rocks were breaking into the sea, same as the sand was carried away amidst my own feet.

I spent the night in front of the same KingFisher bottle of beer. I was awed by the sacred smells of the Om beach, and I fell asleep surrounded by mantras of the Ganesha fairies.

My beach had the shape of the Om symbol. Legend says that Shiva, deeply impressed by the beauty of this place, depressed two fingers over the beach and blessed it forever. Pilgrims from all over India descend upon these hills to see the wonder; two and a half hours of walking over small canyons and rocks lead you to the holy city of Gokarna.

The night I had spent under the protection net of the bed had been somewhat stirred. It seemed as the sea waves only broke beneath my bed; on the rooftop one family of squirrels was renovating their little house after the monsoon.

Thus, I woke up at seven in the morning. It was raining. A salamander was resting on my clothes. In the bathroom, clouds were dripping right upon the floor. My heart was thrilling, somehow articulate, in trembling whispers.

From the edge of the rocks, the place where my cabin was set, if you`d like to drink your coffee, you have to eschew the plantains; once you reach the stairs, don`t take the right side; a noisy peacock hidden under hanged clothes will attack you. Then go past the Indians with cast-iron kettles – they will say hi to you, but if you dwell on answering them, the fumes that come out of the kettles will intensely narcotise you. Further on, you get past the little cabin with the reception room and, just as you enter from the back of the bar, there is the terrace on the beach. Do not sit at the table at the end! That `s the cats` spot and, as dogs will surely follow you, you will very much want to avoid all conflicts.

That morning my heart decided to follow the pilgrims` path to the most sacred city of Ganesh.

 

written by ruah

translated by laylah