One day in the beach
It had been a really long time since I last visited Mangalore (probably five years ago in 2009) so I decided to get back to my hometown. This time, for a change, instead of visiting the temples in the region, I decided to go on a beach picnic. It was, after all, beaches that Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada are really famous for, among tourists to the region.
I started off on day one from Tannir bavi beach, close to the city. It was amazing early in the morning. There were hardly a few people around, so it was the perfect place for an early morning walk. The serene atmosphere there provided the perfect opportunity for me to relax and reflect upon. An hour passed by and I did not even realize.
From there, I took a bus to Suratkal and then hopped on to a rickshaw. Few minutes later, I was in Suratkal beach. Each beach here seems like a new one. The rocks on the coast, the temple nearby, the kids playing in the water and trying to collect shells. Picture perfect. I also visited the Sadashiva temple which is very close to the beach.
After lunch, I hopped on to another bus and got down near Malpe. Malpe is one of the oldest ports in the region and is a center of fishing activity. It is also the place where Sri Madhvacharya obtained the idol of Sri Krishna and installed it at the Udupi temple. So much history, so much relevance. I also visited the St Mary’s Island.
In the evening, I visited the Maravanthe beach. I consider this as the most beautiful amongst the beaches of Dakshina Kannada. What picture perfect scenery! The sunset was just superb.
Next day, I headed up north and reached Murudeshwara. Murudeshwara has this really famous Shiva temple very close to the beach. Locals explained to me the history of the place, dating back to the Ramayana. The temple also has a huge Shiva statue. The scenery, the statue, the temple atmosphere and of course the beach provided the perfect setup.
I couldn’t help but think how all the beaches I visited in the last two days had this perfect atmosphere. It was nature’s painting, and it was just too good.
Just then, one of the tourists asked me to visit this beach near Gokarna and mentioned that a modern marvel had come up at the beach. Curious, I decided to make that the last hop in my journey. After visiting Gokarna and the famous temple there, I rented an auto and got to this beach. Locals had named it the “Vidushaka” beach. The beach and the water was very good. But the heat was a little too much. So I decided to rest under the shade of this really huge statue that had been erected there. I recalled the the controversy that had happened about 5 years ago regarding this statue. Just then, a man and his young son came close to where I was sitting. They were tourists just like me, and the curious young boy, probably around 7-8 years or so, was posing a lot of questions to his dad. I overheard that interesting conversation.
“Dad, whose statue is this?”
“Its Charlie Chaplin dear”.
“Who is Charlie Chaplin?”.
“He was a comedian, who made people laugh”
“You mean, like the cartoons that I watch on TV?”
“Yes, yes, I mean, no, not like them. He made English movies full of humor”.
“Did he himself get this statue done?”
“No son, he died a long time ago – about 35 years ago. This came up just about 5 years ago.”
“Who got this done?”
“Some people wanted it put up here and so…”
“Was Charlie Chaplin from Mangalore”
“No no no….he was from the UK, and lived in America and then in Switzerland”
“Did Charlie Chaplin love beaches”
“No, I mean yes, I mean not really…maybe…I don’t know”
“Do the people of Mangalore really adore Charlie Chaplin that much”
“Yes son…I guess so”
“How come there is no one here in that case?”
“Well…I guess they must gone for a tea break”
“I think you lying Papa. Tell me who put this up”
“Ok ok. There were some people who made a movie. They wanted the statue here”
“Which movie is that. Is it about Charlie Chaplin?”
“No no, the movie was not about him.”
“Then why did they put this up?”
“Because they wanted to show it in a song”
“Was the song about Charlie Chaplin?”
“Don’t know son. You are asking too many questions”
“Why did they not remove it after the song was done?”
“Because they wanted to create a record”
“What record papa?”
“Its called the Guinness Record”
“Basically, you should do something, anything actually, that no one else has done before and they will mention it in a book and give you a certificate”
“Wow, so no one else has put up a statue”
“No no, they have”
“Then what record was this”
“The record is for the ‘Tallest Statue of a Comedian in a Beach’ ”
“That’s so cool. I am sure no one can ever beat that”
“Not really son. Two years ago, someone erected a statue of Jim Carrey at another beach 2kms from here. It is 20 cms taller than this one”
“So this statue doesn’t hold the record?”
“No it doesn’t. Now lets go home”
“Wait a minute. Why is this statue so dirty? It is so full of dirt”
“There is no one to clean it son. This statue does not belong to anyone”
“What about the film people. Can’t they clean it?”
“See, this Charlie Chaplin is not from the Kannada or Hindi movie industry. So they cannot clean it”
“Ok ok….papa….why is Charlie Chaplin wearing a white hat?”
“Its a black hat son. Come on son”
“No papa. Its a white hat. See properly”
“No son, the color of the hat is actually black. There are too many birds around here. You know….you won’t understand…chalo lets go”
“Papa, tell me why Charlie Chaplin is holding a knife in his hand”
“That’s not a knife. Its his walking stick”
“No papa, that’s a knife. Look it is so sharp”
“It was a stick son. Some one broke it a few months ago”
“Who broke it?”
“Some bad people, drunken people who occupy this place at night, they did it just to have some fun”
“Why can’t someone repair this Papa?”
“You won’t understand it son..come on…lets go”
And the still curious boy and his relieved father left from there. My trip surely came to an interesting end.