A norm on every form, what’s your address?
If someone asks me this question, my answer will always be, the sea. As a child, hopping cities at the whim of my Dad’s job transfers kept us from setting our roots in one place. I say this as if I’ve suffered through them, but yes, it wasn’t a merry transition most of the times.
I was born in a small town of Mahad in Maharashtra, India. After Mom was in a state to travel post me, we moved to Goa. Little did I know that this journey of me being in the company of oceans/seas was going to be a constant throughout the rest of my life. We shifted from Bicholim to Margao to Panaji in 5 years and eventually we took a leap to the city of dreams, Mumbai.
Mumbai, this city is really more of a feeling than a place on the map. A city that taught me to be brave and depend heavily on public transport from the time I was a little child. I was using BEST buses at the age of six to get from Santacruz to Citylight. Of course, those days were much safer and less crowded. Or maybe I was just too brave to explore it on my own and my parents would have even faced the flak for being irresponsible, but these bus rides made me conquer any place on earth with pride. I talk of those simple days in 1996 where finishing up homework and heading out to play with friends until Mom sent out a search party was a daily norm. These were much simpler times when summer vacations were spent making Gits kulfis or having invariable amount of ice cream or gulping down Rasna which was always stocked in the fridge.
It was time to move on to the next destination. This time too it was going to be a location which was surrounded by water all around. I had barely understood the concept of an island when I first came to know that we’re moving. Again. In the monsoon of 1998, we took a plunge to the Southern Pacific region of the world. My parents, my year old sister and I moved to Suva, Fiji. Fiji, doted as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world is collectively made up of more than 300 islands. The multicoloured oceanic views and white sand pristine beaches are what make Fiji famous. The whole country thrives on year around tourism and probably that is one reason why Fijians are the most generous and hospitable people I’ve ever met. My growing years leading to teenage were spent being a carefree kid on Viti Levu of Fiji. The mesmerizing sight of the blue shades of the South Pacific Ocean are like putting out a shade card for hues of blue and green.
Untouched beaches and shallow reefs allowed me to explore the ocean and I took to snorkeling, scuba diving and canoeing all when I was 10 years old. I miss the fear and the adrenaline rush of going into the sea, conquering my fright and coming back a little more stronger. A swim in the ocean always left me incomplete and looking forward to more oceanic adventures.
Four years is not a short period of time and when my parents thought of moving to either Australia or New Zealand, it seemed like fate had other plans. We moved back to Mumbai, India in 2002 and so yet again, I was back in the city of dreams, next to the Arabian Sea. Not as alluring as the Pacific Ocean, but a trip to Worli Seaface or Marine Drive has always been my share of vitamin sea fixture when in Mumbai. As the years went by, and I would make more trips to watch the sunset, somewhere along these times I found someone with whom I’ll be sharing most of my sunsets for the rest of my life.
After marriage, I moved to USA. And of all the places in this vast country, I landed in the sublime Pacific Northwest, also the upper left corner of USA and for me it was the state of Washington. So at the age of 26, I was going to experience the Pacific Ocean again. This time it was the North Pacific Ocean. How is it different from the South Pacific Ocean? Well, firstly the water is cold all year around. There is a bleak chance of going swimming in the Puget Sound even in summer. And definitely, South Pacific has many more shades of blue.
What seemed like finally settling down in one place only meant it was time to make a move again and we crossed the Atlantic Ocean to finally land in Dublin, Ireland. I think it’s worth mentioning the direct ferries to France from Dublin. Hell yeah!
There is no end to my love for the sea and in the words of Jacques Yves Cousteau-
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.