Friday, March 11, 2011

Fiddling, skipping life

Maybe a couple of decades ago, my sis, my mum and I had gone to Goa for the day. Not an unusual holiday for us- a day of lounging on a beach, a little shopping at the Mapusa Market, and some excellent seafood. At that time, as it still is in several areas, the only way to cross the various creeks that section Goa was by ferry.
It was when our car was waiting for a ferry that I wandered off to investigate some trees growing by the shore. Remember that this was when I fancied myself a naturalist and went on ALL trips wearing khaki shorts and brown tee-shirts- because all naturalists are always dressed in camouflage, aren't they?

The tide was just going out and the trees stood ankle-deep in water, with their green saris hitched up out of the way as it were. There were pointy sticks looming out of the soil, and as I looked on, the whole place came alive.
There were darting bits of shiny brown that I could not quite make out. 'lizards' I called them.
When I saw the first crab that scurried out, I felt sorry for him- he seemed to have been in a terrible accident that left him with only one claw. When the others came out though, I saw that it seemed to be a universal trait in that little community.
They were funny, as they busily fed themselves with that onee bright orange hand- very much the way I ate too. The crabs, the glistening little 'lizards' and my search for other animals kept me so happily engaged that I was sorry when the ferry came in.

It was later that month when I received my copy of Target (which I still consider the most excellent children/tween magazine to ever have been published) that I could put a name to those creatures- fiddler crabs and mudskippers they were, residents of mangrove forests breathe through those 'pointy sticks' and which are possibly the most biodiverse ecosystem type in the world. That full-page spread with cheeky illustrations by the inimitable Ajit Ninan enthralled me, and made me a mangrove fan. That experience, of watching these fantastic creatures on a sunlit shore with the people I love, of hearing the "splot! snap! Chitter-chitter" that is the background score of a mangrove forest, of wonder, is one of my most cherished memories.

And one that I wanted to relive with Mian by my side.

And so it is that in January, Mian and I hired a scooter and putt-putt-puttered off to Divar Island.

(All photos in this and the next post? Mian, who has the eye to see wonderful photos and the presence of mind to take them)


Unmana said...

Oh oh oh, I loved Target too!

Have nothing more coherent to say except that I loved this post of yours as well. I'm not sure if I envy your life or just the way you write about it!

nadi said...

trees with green saris hitched up....

lovely lovely lovely

Mabel said...

i love how you blend the past and the present so effortlessly with your love story :)

kavita said...

Me too:loved Target..trees with green saris hitched up.. and the past and the present..