Thursday, 30 December 2010

Festive fallout!

As the years roll by, wherever we are, our world changes. Our immediate world, not the world at large! Will the change be of benefit or to the detriment of us all, will it help or will it hinder. What effect will we have upon the environs we exist in? Many believe the knack is to pass through the world without upsetting the balance, others are intent on leaving their mark, something to be remembered by. Whether individuals roam the face of our planet or exist in the tiniest corner, we all have an effect. Few are stirred to greatness, yet most wish to be remembered. The ends do not justify the means, take John Lennon’s assassin for example, a warped individual who’s sole aim seems to be the fame his murderous act earned him. I like to think I leave a ripple in my wake, enough to maybe lift people’s heads above the surface, but nothing to cause alarm. When amongst crowds I prefer to go unnoticed altogether. (Photo: Huge moth - Namaste guesthouse, Ohm Beach, Karnataka)

Rajastan may receive more tourists per annum than other Indian states, but over the festive season it’s southern states which get the huge influxes. Miles of glorious sandy beaches, most with no infrastructure at all, no hotels no cafes, no shops, and few chances to reach them, if there’s any access at all. The places are often seen across enormous bays, where there is nothing marked on the map, not even a village. Ask a local what’s there and the answer is simple, nothing! Maybe the occasional fishing family have a hut somewhere, a bamboo shelter, probably not accessible by road. I get the feeling those are the real havens to chill out on, while away a few days without being disturbed by a constant stream of tourists, whether Indian or foreign. And those are the places you’ll never reach, unless you’re independent transport wise. Without, you’re stuck with utilising the same places everyone else has access to, just one of the hoards.(Photo: White breasted kingfisher - Namaste Guesthouse, Ohm beach, Karnataka)

Ohm beach is supposed to be a quiet getaway, well on the tourist trail but laid back and low key. Unfortunately there is also a road in from Gokarna, so the city folk come in their droves. Young, modern Indians, come to drink and make merry, strut their stuff, cigarettes and beer in hand.A guesthouse owner sits smiling, watching two young Indian women smoking and drinking. He wasn’t exactly disapproving, but made the point that you wouldn’t see local girls/women smoking or drinking, in public or private. Someone claimed to have actually seen Mumbai girls on the beaches of Goa in bikinis, whatever next, I’m all for this cultural equality. So ironically, the next day, as I lay basking in the sun, hey presto I saw my first group of Indian women in bikinis. It was a pleasant surprise to see a mixed group of western guys and Indian girls arrive and settle next to me, you don’t really such groups, though I’ve never hung out in the big cities. India is changing very fast, and the change is coming from within. No longer is it the foreign tourist who flaunts what the locals can’t have, it’s their own countrymen, which makes it more accessible, more desirable. There appears no end of affluent visitors from Mumbai and Mangalore, youngsters flashing their cash, They’re not sleeping in shitty little huts with toilets shared between twenty, if they do stay it’s an a/c room, as many as they can fit in. Seeing that show of affluence from fellow Indians has to bring it closer to home. Let’s be honest, a good proportion of the beach crowd around Goa, and many other Indian beach resorts, have got bugger all worth having anyway. How could young local guys envy that, most of them live in better conditions than the tourist beach huts? (Photo: It's a long tale - Namaste guesthouse, Ohm beach, Karnataka)

(Photo: Space race - Ohm beach, Karnataka)

So it’s much busier than I imagined here over Christmas and New Year, I thought I was going to find a very quiet place, perhaps I’m too spoilt, had too many exotic paradises. I’d have thought I could have found a place more suitable to relax and write, India is so huge that if you want to move on it takes days to get anywhere else. And that can be very draining as well. As in any situation, you should try and make the most of it. I’m content with being here, my book is grinding inexorably on, the creative juices aren’t at their best, but are getting the job done. I’m very reluctant to rush it, or is that lethargy? The days are being counted and I know who much is left to write, when I sit down bits dribble out. I know what I want to say, but can’t find the exact words, I spend as much time pacing that typing. But it is coming, and I’m still committed to finishing it competently, I don’t want to screw up so much effort with a sloppy finale. With ten days left before turning home, I’d better get my finger out. (Photo: Romance in paradise - Ohm beach, Karnataka)

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