The incessant waves lapped at my feet, sending a shiver up my spine and making my feet wet and cold. I looked away to avoid the giddy feeling of being “pulled” into the sea by the retreating waves that clashed with the oncoming ones every now and then. The breeze was pleasant and complemented the lovely beach of Guhagar. Pristine, virgin, clean are some of the words that came to mind. Four colours dominated: The blue of the sea, the white of the waves, the green of the coconut and “supari” trees, and the brown of the sand.
Much as I would have loved to stay like this forever, I moved on. I walked towards land, my seventy five kilograms making themselves felt by leaving footprints on the wet sand, soon to be filled with water and obliterated by the retreating waves. A further fifteen feet towards land, I found a spot reasonably “dry” but wet enough to write on, and wrote my name on the sand. There, I have left my mark, I thought to myself.
My mind wandered down memory lane. I thought of the long procession of great souls that walked the Earth before me, and some that still do. I saw images of Gandhiji, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Paul Harris, Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Jagjit Singh, JRD Tata, Bill Gates et al through my mind’s eye. They surely left their mark on my mind!
My thoughts were interrupted by the sudden realization that my feet were wet. I looked down to see the culprit: a wave, triumphant even in retreat, which seemed to tell me in a stern voice, “If you wish to leave a mark, try someplace else”. I turned to look at my name on the sand, to be greeted by the shining sand that now looked like it was neatly leveled for the next game of beach volleyball! Gone with the wave!!
Well, I thought to myself, maybe I cannot leave my footprints on the sands of the beach. But, surely, my visit to Guhagar with my Rotary Club for a Haemoglobin checkup camp for young girls would leave a footprint on the sands of time?
Well, if the girls, now aware of the importance of haemoglobin in their blood, took good care of themselves and grew up to be healthy and happy future citizens of the country, I am sure these footprints would be there for a long time to come, seen in their smiles and yet unseen by the untrained eye.
Whatever may happen to that “if”, I realize, there is at least one footprint permanently etched in the sands of time: The impression that Guhagar left in my mind, with it’s beautiful and unspoiled beaches, green and solid hills, simple and tasty food, and happy and friendly people. I must make a special mention here of Ajaya and Ravi Khare, our hosts at the Durga Pearl Hotel. The way they have built the hotel, the affection with which they take of their guests, their kindness and generosity, and their smooth facilitation of the Haemoglobin checkup camp in the school and in the college, all have left an indelible impression. Even if I do not return to Guhagar again, my mind will revisit this beautiful place time and again. For a long time!