The Sea

Sitting on the veranda of the dhow house trying to write, lose myself in words, but their rhythm is not mine…rather the sound below of cloth being smacked again and again against chairs, chasing away the dust, always chasing the dust. Futile really as its ever present in the air, has nowhere else to go but down. Dust thrown up by winds on the mountain, and even down here beside the jewel-like sea where we spend our days.

Days, long and languorous where the sticky heat slows everything down, even the time, and gives way to absurd thoughts like is dust continent-bound, or could it be that the fine layer of dust and sand that covers us, has blown in from afar on the winds and was born instead on the beaches of Kerala. The only cure for the mid-day heat is to run wild and shrieking down to the waters edge, stir it up from its afternoon’s inertia and plunge into the cold spray, then temporarily renewed find solace inside the thick walls of the kitchen, leaning back against the cool cool stone; the Cook, shelling prawns for supper, shakes his head ‘mad dogs and Englishwomen’. His eyebrows raise slightly, he shells another prawn.

It had become a matter of life and death, the mountain with its almost 24-hour blackouts had to be left behind. There is no power, the lack of rains has meant the daily slowing down of the country’s power grid; we expect an almost-total blackout in under 60 days. Candlelit evenings have long since lost their romance, instead the annoyance at all the things you now cannot do crowd your mind. Fridges that don’t freeze, phones that won’t charge.

Leaving that all far behind, as it matters less to have lights when you’re living in a house made of old boats that sits encircled by palms and overlooks the Indian ocean. Long days spent walking with sandy toes along the crescent beach; one evening you see a white Arabian horse being ridden in the waves by a black-haired girl. Your mind, just coming out of its heat haze, sees only the movement and the slip of turquoise that streams around the girl. You never catch them, walk along the shore the next night and the next, but they never reappear.

Everything slows down and at times you feel all the layers falling away, stripped down and naked you stand in the wind, sucking in breathful’s like a newborn.