A feeling of home away from home. The bush bash to get to the small bay, the sounds of the waves the same. The yelps in a different language remind me I’m elsewhere once again. Diving under with eyes closed I could be anywhere. I emerge to three people around me, paddling fully clothed. Most people are standing around on the beach near long wooden fishing boats, walking in full-length drapes, no g-string bikini, glowing fluoro green with flower pattern. There are no oiled-up bodies stretched out soaking in rays. No one posing by their boyfriend on a towel. No surfers with zinc smeared into the bridge of their nose, leaning against their vans.
Instead, people eat puri bhaji in the little shacks set into the sand, their plastic chairs half sinking in. Puffed-up rounds of bread fried in oil aside potato and onion cooked in spices. We use the puri to scoop up the potato, dipping it into the spicy sambhar. We wash it down with small stainless steel cups of masala chai or room temperature mango lassis made with fresh curd. There’s no brand names on anything, nor picnics unfolding, instead there’s men wearing cotton skirts and pieces of colourful plastic in the sand. People selling malas and the bottom of saffron robes trailing in the salt water. Fresh coconuts and whole pineapples offered on the way to the shore.