28th December, 2015
I had breakfast with aai and baba and left for Chivala beach. Shree had insisted me to come for breakfast but I could not say no to baba and aai when they insisted me to have breakfast with them. Baba suggested that I wear sweater while riding to Chivala beach as it was cold outside, but I refused saying, “No it’s not that cold. I’ll be fine”.
It was a terrible mistake. There’s section of the road just outside the village, that goes through a small forest which was freezing cold. My hand and feet had gone numb. I rode at very slow speed and was struggling to turn around the corners. My habit of always wearing a helmet while riding, helped me that day, otherwise I would have entered Malvan town with teary eyes.
I reached the beautiful Malvan town. I was all too familiar with the daily hustle and bustle of the Malvan town. I knew the roads quite well too. Just as I was riding through the narrow streets of the market I realized that I had been in Malvan in my Christmas vacation for past three years in a row. Two years ago i.e. in the year 2013, me, my friend Avinash and his wife Maithili had had an amazingly adventurous 500 kms long cycling trip from Mumbai to Malvan. Which we had covered in 9 days. Then a year after that i.e. in 2014 I had come again with both of them in their car. And here I was again on my awesome motor-bike riding through Malvan streets on the way to Chivala beach in year 2015. I felt a strong connection with the place. I wondered where I would be in the Christmas vacation of 2016.
I took a left turn from a huge fig tree standing in the center of crossroads. Shreepad had asked me to ask for ‘Dattai Niwas’, the home-stay he was staying in. I found it, Shree saw me from the balcony. I rode into the open ground of the property. As I got down from my bike a cute little puppy came running towards my feet wagging its tail. I bent down, and as I was about to touch the puppy a loud bark startled me. I looked up, a female dog was looking at me angrily. The creases on her nose and the way she showed her front canines gave me goosebumps. Then my eyes fell on the chain the dog was tied with. I bent down and patted the puppy on the back. The puppy liked it and started jumping at my feet. It kept following me till the stairs and was still looking at me as I climbed up. I met Shree his son Vivan and his wife Anusha in the balcony. Anusha asked me how my trip was unfolding. I was introduced to two young boys and their mother. They were Shree’s neighbors and had accompanied Shree’s family on the trip. I spent next 15-20 minutes narrating all the good experiences I had in the trip.
While sipping a cup of hot tea we discussed the plan for the day. As it was their first visit to Malvan they wanted to go for Scuba diving near Sindhudurg fort. After having lunch we were to roam around the town and later in the afternoon we would either go for para sailing or visit the Sindhudurg fort. I had already experienced Scuba diving many times in my last visits, therefore this time I wanted to get a new thrill with new adventure sport.
We found our way to the Malvan jetty through crowded streets. Anusha had already booked for the scuba diving. We found the guy who was going to take us for the diving expedition. We bought separate tickets for those who were going to go for scuba diving and the remaining who were going to accompany them in the boat. Shree, Anusha and the two kids were all setup for the diving. We got into the boat. The water was not as clear as it was when I had been here the last time. The beach was full of anchored boats. Scuba diving cost was 1500 Rs. Recently all the adventure sport activity owners had formed a union to provide equal business opportunity for all vendors, therefore there was no scope for bargaining.
Our boat was full when we left the coast. I was filming the journey on my action camera. One of the passenger in the boat who was with his family thought I’m one of the boat owner and was shooting the trip for business advertisement. He started the conversation and found out that I’m just another tourist like him. We happened to be from the same city, Mumbai. As our conversation progressed, we were both awestruck to find out that we both had graduated from the same school. And as if that wasn’t enough, Anusha told us that her school was adjascent to our school premises. What were the odds of coming across a stranger who had graduated from your school 10 years before you. This trip indeed was full of surprises. Our conversation now was not between two strangers but between two alumni. The guy’s name was Keshav Kale. He introduced me to his wife and daughter. When they learnt that I was on a solo trip of South India they enthusiastically asked about my trip and all the places I visited. I showed the photographs and videos while narrating my travel story. They thoroughly enjoyed it. So did I.
Our boat slowly cruised through the open waters around the Sindhudurg fort. The beautiful fort stood strong amidst the ocean waters, singing the brave history of the great Maratha warrior, Chatrapati Shivaji. The boat was anchored very close to the fort. As the engine shut off, colorful fishes started emerging below the water surface. The volunteers in the boat started helping the divers put on their diving gears. One by one divers jumped into the water. I was having fun seeing the expressions and hearing stories of everyone coming back from diving. They were explaining their experience to their friends and families with great enthusiasm. Shree, Anusha and kids had great time too. The time went by so fast that we forgot it was way too long past our usual lunch time. We returned on the coast by 2:30 pm.
We went to a small restaurant which was famous in the locality for its delicious food. We ordered our sea food dishes and munched on it. It was already too late which meant I had to drop my idea of para-sailing. I had planned to leave for Mumbai the next day. Shree and Anusha forced me stay another day. They already were making plans for the next day. I suggested a visit to Devbaug. It’s a beautiful little town where a river meets the sea and is a great spot to experience water sports and sunset. There was a Tsunami Island which was said to be formed when mild tsunami waves had hit Malvan town. There are lot of adventure water sports available on the island. Shree and Anusha wanted me to accompany them tomorrow. I thought about and couldn’t resist. I love Konkan, especially Malvan and never miss a chance to visit it whenever I have one.
So with next day’s plans decided, we all went back to the ‘Dattai Niwas Homestay’. Other’s got freshened up and then we left for having an evening snack with tea. We then spent the evening at Chivala beach. It’s one of many beautiful beaches along Konkan coast.
I had decided to come back to Katta, at Pravin’s place before 6 pm. But was feeling so chilled out at Chivala beach that I stayed long and watched a beautiful sunset. When it was dark I left for Katta and repeated the mistake I had committed in the morning. I was frozen stiff when I reached Katta.