Long thin wall to the sea.
It had only been 4 days since Bobby’s injury had brought the walk to a temporary but abrupt stop.
It felt strange. We had walked for so long already, especially in the last 10 days that I felt lost not doing it. Minutes felt like hours and we were not driving long enough in the day to soak any of that time. Most of our time was spent at elongated stops either during the day or overnight. During the walk we had cherished these stops yet now we prayed for this rest time to be over.
I thought I could get busy with work but due my self-imposed mobile data rationing, there was a limit to what I could do online each day.
As we had been driving on our right side, we had noticed a glimpse of the sea every now and then through brief flashes between the trees lining the road. Today Rahim found a spot for us to stop at lunchtime and I was excited. I could spot the sea past a large field to our right. It couldn’t be more than half a km away.
Rahim cooked lunch and I noticed Satinder staring at the sea. It transpired that he had never seen the sea before so I decided that today he would get a chance.
Satinder and I crossed the road and scaled a the wall at the side of the field. We walked a short distance before realising ahead the ground was much more marsh like. To our right there was a long thin wall that went off towards the sea. I decided we should get on top of the wall and use it as an elevated path to our destination. It was a long walk and quite a balancing act in some places where overgrow bushes tried to bar our way forward. On both sides there were carpets of lily-like flowers floating on watery pools.
I am always glad to be on the beach but it was priceless to be there with someone who had never felt the sand between their toes next to the crashing of the mighty waves. Satinder was first in awe then he tentatively moved closer to the sea but was too apprehensive to get closer to the water. I understood his hesitation. Seeing the majestic sea rise and crash into the sand could be quite intimidating.
Satinder took a few pictures and my ghost-white legs revealed the fact they had been hidden away from the sun under my trekking pants since we arrived in India.
Satinder then said something I never expected. He commented on how load the noise was. Not the noise of the traffic or people. We were too far from the road and we were the only ones there. He was talking about the sea. I took a moment and listened for a while to the roar he was talking about. He never thought there would be this noise. I walked up to the surf and let the water wash over my feet. Satinder shouted out to me to be careful and although he was a beach virgin, I heeded his warning. You should always respect the might of nature and never underestimate the power of the sea. This was a golden moment in a troubling few days. Being there with Satinder felt like I was seeing this through his eyes … seeing it for the first time.
I walked back along the top of the long thin wall feeling somewhat lighter.
When we got back to the Walkmobile, a traffic police jeep had pulled up and Rahim was being questioned. I intervened after which they suggested that our parking spot was not the safest of places and mentioned a petrol station which was a few km further along. We said goodbye to the sea and made our way to less inspiring surroundings.
Sleep came easier that night and I drifted off remembering the hot sand between my toes and warm sea washing over my skin.