TAMIL NADU

Off to the Marina, for a good night’s sleep

sleep by Seaside: Poorna Shekhar enjoys his summer nights at the Marina.

sleep by Seaside: Poorna Shekhar enjoys his summer nights at the Marina.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: Vrinda Sharma

Vrinda Sharma

But for a few, sleeping on the sand is not a matter of choice

CHENNAI: Every night, over two hundred families, with sleeping mats tucked under their arms, head towards the Marina beach to beat the heat.

All through the summer months, Poorna Shekhar and his family, comprising his wife, mother and three children, walk to the beach after having dinner at their home in Triplicane. “It’s too hot to sleep in the house, the sand is cool and the sea breeze acts like our airconditioner. That’s why we have been coming here for the last five years,” he explains.

People from across the country enjoy the night life at Marina and according to the police constable on guard, except rare cases of missing articles, there is never a fight. “At this time, people are tired and this is like their bedroom, no one troubles anyone.”

Kalaiwani, wife of a driver, who joins his family late at night due to job constraints, says this is their escape from the rising temperature.

“Almost our entire neighbourhood comes to the beach. It is safe for families, though not if you bring your stuff along. It is also not safe for single women. But otherwise it is very safe.”

As she speaks, her eight-year-old daughter runs around the beach playing with her elder brother.

But for children like Ravi (12) and Subhash (14), sleeping on the sand is not a matter of choice. The young boys, instead of going to school, sell water packets on the beach and earn up to Rs.100 a day to make ends meet for themselves and their widowed mother.

They have found ways to overcome their dreariness. They shape the sand into a king size oval bed and enjoy the spectacle of flickering lights, coming from ships in the sea, for hours before sleep dawns on them.

Senthil, who works as a cleaner in a Triplicane hotel, started to come to the beach when his family joined him in the city two months ago. “Before they came, I slept in the hotel, now with three more people where do we sleep? Beach is for free and it’s cool. Initially, I felt awkward but now we can’t sleep under the fan. We have been spoiled,” he explains.

The only problem with this sleeping oasis is, as Ravi puts it, “the heartless sand cleaning tractor” that wakes everyone up at dawn.

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