Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kodi Bengre: A Solitary Beauty

It was the second day of our Bangalore-Mangalore-Udupi trip. Next thing in our list was Saint Mary’s Island. With excitement we started from Udupi to Malpe beach (from where ferry takes us to the Island). But a km before the beach, all the excitement went down when we heard that Saint Mary’s Island is closed from our auto driver. Further he told that it was because of monsoon and visitors to the island would be allowed from October. Remaining auto travel was without any conversation. We reached Malpe beach and dispirited got down from the auto. On this trip to Mangalore and Udupi, my colleague Anoop was with me. Anoop is a very decent Kannadiga guy and a good company to have.


Time was around 2:00PM and even sun didn’t seem to be in our favor. Under scorching sun we walked toward the coconut trees to get some relief from sun burn. With Saint Mary’s island out of scope, we were without any option. After some time we walked towards sea and saw people confronting the waves and enjoying the fun. I looked at Anoop with a question. Before I utter a word he replied, “No No! I do not want to get into water”. With a smile I said, “Then let’s have a walk along the shore”. While walking he told me about a place named Delta Beach, not so far from Malpe, which is less popular but a beautiful place to be at. Walking and gossiping we walked quite some distance. Suddenly we heard Police announcing something in Kannada over a handheld loudspeaker. Anoop translated it for me and it was an instruction not to go beyond and get back to the main beach area.


I asked Anoop to get more information about the Delta Beach. He called up her cousin who few hours back told him about this place. With the information he got from her, we sat under a coconut tree and searched more about Delta Beach. There was not much information about how to reach to the place but Google Map showed that it is around 10 kilometers from our current location. Now the time was around 2:40PM and I thought to get some shots before we leave for the Delta Beach.
Malpe Beach

Around 3:00PM, we left Malpe beach and went to get an auto for our further travel to Delta beach. The auto driver was relaxing with newspaper in his hand. We asked for the Delta beach; without moving his eyes from the newspaper he replied, “250 rupees”. We felt like he is the least bothered auto driver to get passengers. We tried to bargain as the amount he told for 10kms of the travel was much, but no proper response. Eventually we decide to take public transport. We asked in some of the nearby shops and got that there are buses to Delta beach but the time is not very formal. Few people suggested a bus may come around 3:30PM. Destination of this bus was Kodi Bengre, a small village and also the dead end, beyond which Arabian Sea spreads.


Walking briskly we reached to the Balarama circle from where we were supposed to get the bus. We gossiped and waited standing and sitting at various places around the circle. Time crossed 3:30PM and now wait was getting irritating. Meanwhile 3 buses passed through the circle but none of them were to Kodi Bengre. With each bus passing, hope for bus to Kodi Bengre was getting lesser. “We will wait for 10 more minutes and after 3:40PM we will go back to Maple beach itself”, Anoop told me. We waited for few more minutes and then Anoop asked me, “What’s the time now?” I looked into my phone. Though the time was already 3:40, I told him, “It’s 3:38, let’s wait for few more minutes”. Next minute a lady holding a plastic bag walked towards us and stood nearby. I asked Anoop to speak to the lady and get some information from her. After the conversation he turned to me with a smile and I understood what that smile meant. The lady also had to go to the same place and told that Kodi Bengre bus may come in few minutes.


Within five minute bus was there, we confirmed with conductor once more and got into it. Amidst the noise from the body of the running bus I heard one of my recent favorite Bollywood number- "mai tenu samjhawan ki". With a smile I turned to conductor and said, "Bhaiya! bahut badhiya song baja rahe ho". "Pen drive me saara naya song bhar ke rakha hai", a very enthusiastic reply came from the young conductor. On the back seat two fisherwomen were sitting with their empty baskets. I asked them for a photo and with a big grin they allowed me. All the passengers interestingly watched their photo shoot and once finished I could see a smile on everyone’s faces in the bus. At next stop fisherwomen got down and warmly I bid them good bye swaying my hands. I also took few shots of a cute little girl. Sitting on the window seat with mom she was struggling to open Haldirams chips packet. When I looked at her with a smile, a blush of shyness on her face and she tried to hide below her mom's shoulder. Indicting politely to the gal I asked her mom whether I can click her smile. Granting the permission she asked the gal not to get shy and give a smile to me. Readily she acted accordingly and I clicked that.


Anoop went up to the conductor to get more information about our destination. Conductor along with few school boys gave proper information about the place. Though Delta beach was few stops earlier from the final destination but the place of the real interest for us was the estuary, the ultimate stop of the bus.


Around 4:15PM we reached our destination. It was a sparsely populated and quite a peaceful place. Shaped almost like a walking stick, Kodi Bengre keeps river Swarna separated from Arabian Sea for 4-5 kilometers. River Swarna meets Arabian Sea to the north of this place and make a beautiful estuary, Bengre Estuary. With lots of coconut trees and bushes around, this place reminded me of my 4 years of stay at small places in Kerala. We moved to the tip of the place and saw river meeting sea. The meet was so quiet and beautiful.
Kodi Bengre on Google Map
After spending some time at the estuary we walked towards the beach.  We saw a gang of boys playing cricket on the beach as we entered the beach area. “Let’s play beach cricket”, I asked Anoop with excitement. He nodded in affirmation. We walked up to the boys and asked whether we can join them in the game. We got an enthusiastic consent from them. I joined a team and Anoop the other. The rules with which they were playing were different and scoring runs was pretty difficult. According to the rule, when balling to the batsman, ball should not touch the ground and reach directly to the batsman. But it was more difficult for the batsman, as he can score runs by hitting the ball only in specific area. And this area was narrow. We enjoyed the game for quite some time and took many snaps of the game. 


"Let’s have a walk along the shore", Anoop asked me. Even I was interested for the same. We came closer to the sea and started walking. Sea waves touching the feet were making the heart wet. I stopped for few moments to capture the lonely beach. Anoop kept walking ahead lost in some thoughts until a sudden strong wave tried to touch his knees. He moved away fast in try to escape from it but waste. Anoop is a guy who likes to spend lots of time with himself and the lonely shore was quite a right place for him.


Moving further we met Abdulla, a fisherman who was putting the bait into the fishing hook. While Anoop was having chatter with him in Kannada, I tried to understand their talk. To understand a sentence spoken by Abdulla, I asked Anoop, "Kya kaha inhone?" The fisherman heard my words and promptly replied, "Mujhe hindi aati hai!". While talking to him we came to know that he was from a nearing village and came to fish on the shore of Kodi Bengre. Standing aside I saw him in action while throwing the fishing hook tied with a stone piece and after getting the indication pulling the hook back. He tried for few time but not successful.


We continued our walk and after few minutes we decide to get back. While walking back we saw Abdulla grinning. Finally his hook attracted a fish and he was pulling the thread back. He happily showed us his today’s collection which was around 10 fishes. 


With few more minutes of walk we reached to the playing boys. Now they were playing Kabaddi. They were inspired by the first season of  Pro Kabaddi League. Playing boys reminded me of my childhood. We had a small ground on the banks of river Budhi Gandak and we used to play the game there. Sometimes we used to play at moonlit night on the road. While raiding we used to utter different Kabaddi rhymes. We used to search and ask our elders about the new Kabaddi rhymes and while using the rhyme first time all opponent defenders used to get surprised. Finally I too decided to join them in the game. I asked Anoop but he refused to join. But with my entry, there was a huge imbalance in the teams. I left on them how to form the team. They come up with the solution that the team, of which I will be a part, will have few members less than the other team. Also there was a huge change in the raiding rule. Here You can raid the opponents for any amount of time as opposed to old rule where you can raid only till you hold your breath.


Game restarted and comfortably our team first two games. In second game there was an interesting twist. Till now there was never a situation when they tried to grab my legs. I was the raider and everyone of the opponent team was as far back as possible. Suddenly someone ran from my left and grabbed my legs. I tried to jump over unsuccessfully and fell on the ground. Seeing me on the ground all other team members got hope and one after the other rammed over me. But my hands were still free and inch by inch I dragging everyone I touched the mid-line. All of them were out in one raid. We played one more game that our team lost. 


Sun already set in the horizon it started getting dark. We asked for a group photo with the boys and we accomplished it cheerfully. One of them told that Yasin (a boy from the gang) can do somersault. Everyone cheered him to perform it. He performed and it was mind blowing. One of them performed walking on hands. The end was even more fantastic when Yasin with assistance of his friend did the back flip. This performance gave me probably the best shot of this trip. 

Boys got close to us with the few hours of introduction and play. One of them asked whether we will come back next weekend and play with them again. It left us smiling. Now the time was 7:15PM and we walked with the boys back to the bus stop to get the 7:30PM bus. We got bus on time and returned safely to Udupi.


During the travel back to Udupi various moments of the day flashed back. Started on a very dispirited note the day turned out to be very eventful, interesting and inspiring.
        

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for this info. Need to know how to reach kodi bengre groom udipi by bus? And how much time is sufficient to explore this place.

    Anupamdatta2000@yahoo.co.in
    9930959962

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi An up am,
    You can get bus to kodi bengre from Udupi private bus stand. I am not sure about the frequency of the bus. I think there should be bus every 30mins or 1 hr.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Anupama,
    You can get but to kodi bengre in two way one coming via malpe another(it takes one hour) one is through santhekatte (it takes 45 minutes). You can catch bus in City bus Stand frequently

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  4. Wow.. really inspiring and very detail knowledge explored about kodibengre. Mr. Abdulla is the native of Kodibengre.
    There is bus to Hoode every 10 minutes from udupi. From Hoode Kodibengre is just 4 kms and you can take auto to kodibengre with nominal fare of Irs60.00.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Placed your experience wonderfully!

    ReplyDelete