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.
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|