Stars on shore

Born in a small south Indian beach town, evening sea breeze has always been close to my heart. The shoreline has seen me in all colors and moods. Back during school days, walking along the Pondicherry beach road was almost an everyday routine in the evenings.

Times change and this simple routine of mine took a turnover once I joined Ph.D in Kerala, another state known for its beaches. Long hours in lab followed by erratic sleep schedules and the deceptive joy of high-speed internet access easily stonewalled the once quotidian custom.

Sometime last week, a couple of friends suggested visiting a nearby beach for a little stroll. It was late in the evening and I had to tune up an experiment but I could not resist the idea of enjoying the waves. I soon grabbed myself out of the lab and jumped onto one of the bikes.

We reached St Andrews beach in less than thirty minutes. The beach derives its name from Saint Andrews church, right on its shore amidst huge coconut groves. The sun had already pulled the curtains down and it was quite dark with nothing more than the stars to look to for light.

We started walking along the shore, not very close to the waves. The roasted peanuts that we had bought served the taste buds with a delicate banquet. We amused ourselves spotting the constellations and running from the big waves every so often. I was completely indulged in the joy of breathing the fresh air when a friend spotted to some tiny little things sparkling on the shore.

They were like the reflection of the heavenly stars but they were not. In cheer, we shoveled the wet sand with our shoes and found more of those sparkles. I have never seen something like that before though I have heard of bioluminescent beaches around the world. The visual treat springs from phytoplanktons, small marine creatures, that emit light through chemical reactions just like fire flies.

The stars of the sky had extended into earth, I felt. We spent a happy evening shoveling the sand in a race to find more and more of those tiny sea shore stars in childlike wonderment.

There is a joy in being with Nature. No matter who we are, Nature will make us feel insignificant and will keep surprising us in myriad ways.

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