Soma Basu leaves her footprints on Khushi Beach and returns with a sackful of shells
It was the name that attracted me to this narrow muddy tract off the national highway from Madurai to Rameswaram, just before the Pamban bridge. It read ‘Khushi’ beach in bold. As I went closer, I found another name written below it in smaller letters — ‘Adhiyaman beach’.
The driver was uncertain of what lay ahead. The travel writer in me said history (Adhiyaman is the name of a king) and emotion (Khushi is happiness in Hindi) would surely turn out to be an interesting combination. With no soul in sight we drove on for three km. Some stray cattle crossed our path and the car wobbled and slowed down when we came to an unmanned railway crossing.
On the other side of the crossing, there were signs of habitation with fishermen’s huts crowding my line of vision. The timing of Mohd. Rafi’s song from An Evening in Paris on an FM channel was just apt. I also wondered as I hummed “akele akele kahan ja rahe ho…”
Finally we encountered the first human on the stretch. A tall moustachioed man resting inside a small cemented structure, thrust two paper thin receipts in our hands. It was the ticket to the beach priced at Rs. two! The man raised the log of wood to allow the vehicle to cross over.
A lone woman sat with her spread of roasted peanuts, biscuit packets and cool drinks in the parking bay. The sight of the white sandy beach and the transparent waters made my jaw drop. A white beach is a bit of an anomaly around these parts as most of the beaches along this coastline have brown sand. The colour of the water here is a magical deep turquoise and you can see the coral float. The beach is littered with sea shells of all shapes and sizes.
What do you do when you are in a place like this? Follow the crab trails. For, that’s what I did for almost a mile leaving my footprints on the sand.
There were some boats resting on the beach. A solitary one bobbing on the waters. The sand was soft and warm. The casuarina trees stood unwavering in the mild breeze. Somebody had erected a temporary shed for shade and a man sat there alone gazing at the waters. The air was pure and the scenery uplifting. I ventured into the shallow waters to augment my collection of coral, pebbles and small conches.
In short, it is a perfect beach with silent and waveless waters. The serene stretch of solitude made the hot afternoon bearable.
If I missed anything it was a hammock to sink in and read a book! A kid to build a sand castle with. An iPod to listen to some good music. But wait, this ain’t a tourist spot yet. And I wish it remains like this where you can do as much you like or do nothing at all. I am yet to find out the history behind the name, but what I can vouch for is that happiness kingsize is guaranteed here.