I’m not a big fan of crowds. Actually, strike that.
I effing hate crowds!!
You can’t navigate from point A to point B in peace without having to shout your lungs out at the person in front of you to pace himself faster than a snail, who in turn shouts at the person in front of him, thus eliciting a chain reaction of anger and high decibels.
Or the person in front of you would turn back and give you the stink eye for being an impatient twat, at which you will shut up and fume inside.
You could try to slither your way through the dense crowd, but unless you have the ability to become Reed Richards or a very long sheet of paper, navigating through the crowd without any degree of skill is nigh impossible.
At this point, you just give up and pray to God that the crowd would move faster.
Until then, you will remain at the mercy of the mob.
I hadn’t taken a trip to Velankanni, my usual pilgrimage place, in a long time. Work, being lazy, just plain old tired….I can push any number of excuses.
My dad had got a minor shoulder surgery and he was recovering well. So I decided now was as good a time as any. I booked the bus tickets for Velankanni and I departed for the place at Friday night.
I wasn’t prepared for what awaited me.
You see, I usually went on a weekday during a holiday when it wasn’t the season. There would be no crowd, the rooms would be much cheaper (I’m something of a penny pincher), I could pray in peace and loiter in peace.
April and May brought the summer holidays for the school brats and with it, parents eager to go to places that kids are never eager to go to. Saturday and Sunday would usually be crowded, but coupled with April and May, it was a bloody nightmare.
I got off the bus and the sight of people sleeping at the bus stand greeted me. A shortage of cheap rooms prompted this public sleepover. Not a good sign.
The lodgings that I usually inhabit were full, with most rooms being vacated only at night. So, I stumbled onto a lodge that had 3 rooms left. But the rent for one room was ₹1500.
It was clearly a ₹700 room when I entered it, but it was either that or rest under the blazing sun. (It’s summer in India, you see)
There are two chapels, a new church and the main church. My usual routine would involve praying in the two chapels, sit for some time in the new church, (It’s called the Morningstar Church, for some reason.) and then attend mass at 12:00 clock at the main church.
My usual routine also included something that was lost that day.
Peace and Solitude.
Each chapel was filled to the brim with devotees and their kids, who didn’t want to be there in the first place. Who can blame the kids?
The Morningstar Church was newly constructed and while I would have loved that golden construction found in the middle of the church to be spread throughout the entire church, I don’t mind this either. I could test out my iPhone’s panoramic shot on this church.
Big, expansive church that makes you forget that there’s a lot of people today.
Anyways, the clock struck 12:00 and I rushed off to the main church where the mass takes place. My heart sank.
It was so crowded that I had no place to rest from the sweltering heat. I did find a place eventually. But after some time, some people started trickling in and there went my space.
I was an atom densely packed among other atoms, the concept of personal space scattered to the wind.
After lunch, I decided to sit in my room and finish the entire second season of Peaky Blinders . (Great show. Watch it, if you’re interested in gangster flicks). I could have wandered around the beach and all, but then the sun gave me a reminder of how it can be a sadistic bastard in the months of April and May.
Once I finished binging on Peaky Blinders, I checked the time. It was 6:40. Seemed like a good time for a stroll to the beach.
I should eat my words more often.
The crowds must have had the same thought as I had and descended in droves to the beach, after the sun had buggered off. It was chaos for a kilometer or so to the beach. I couldn’t even walk leisurely without having to bump into a kid or a guy who has his eyes to the sky.
I did reach the beach, but whereas the beach would be nearly empty or have a sparse crowd, it was now filled with kids, cousins, nephews, couples, parents, grandparents and every bloody family relation possible.
Peace & Solitude.
Lord, I don’t ask for much and you know that. But why can’t I have peace and solitude in this place at least?
That train of thought was disturbed by a kid splashing water in my face by accident.
“Sorry anna (brother in Tamil).“, he went and buggered off .