We were at Tranquebar for our honeymoon. It’s a sea-side village a few hours from Pondicherry. We sojourned at a bungalow on the beach (helpfully called ‘Bungalow on the Beach’). Our room had a verandah with wicker chaises, white cane settees and tables, clay ash trays, and choice views of the landscape and the sky.
Sometimes, we’d have coffee there. Sleepy, slightly disheveled, scruffy in glorious holiday indolence. Our morning brew would come in bright, navy blue ceramicas with a glint of teal. On the round, white table-tops, the cups looked Mediteranean. Opposite the verandah was a Danish fortress that seemed, at once, blanched, bright, and faded. In the Hemingway sunshine, it conjugated through shades of yellow – corn, butter, chartreuse, beige, maize, Navajo white….
Sometimes we would walk on the beach, just the two of us. The sea and the horizon would be rimmed in a green that looked like the iris of a fairy’s eye. There were deep gorges and fissures where crustaceans lay and planktons grew. And the strip of sand stretched like a grainy, ecru carpet. The water licked our toes and the sides of our feet, until I could stand it no longer and splashed my way inside. The swell of waves almost lifting me until I was wet to my waist was incredible. A watched indulgently and took a few snaps.
One day, we found an abandoned canoe. An abandoned canoe on an isolated beach with swaying palms in a raspberry sunset is the stuff movie dreams are made of. But we were there for real. We sat inside and looked around. A surveyed the vastness of the ocean quietly. He turned to me and said, ‘Don’t you think this is perfect?’
‘For what?’, I asked, knowing fully well how sublime twilight on sand can be.
‘Smuggling’, he replied.
I do look forward to growing old with him. The poet.