We left for the wedding by the car..the wedding was at the hometown of the bride, Shekadi, about 10 kms from Shrivardhan...we passed by several locals rushing to their daily routines, school children not so much rushing to their school and a few tourist cars coming in for the year end..soon we left the town and started climbing the hilly winding road...a few farm lands on the left side and hills on the right...as we continued on northwards, a turn revealed beautiful, deserted beach..continuing on the beach-side road, we reached a small village, heard a wedding band playing some music, saw a crowd moving in a lane and realised that we had reached the wedding place...
There was no marriage hall booked, but rather, whole village was converted into a marriage hall by putting overhanging "mandap" with the houses providing the support...my friends met the groom, their school friend, who looked quite relaxed for such a big day, surrounded by many a people, his relatives, friends and some wedding-crashers, like me... as the tradition dictates, a bullock cart was kept ready for groom to ride his way to the bride's house..which wasn't a long way and we fell behind him as a procession moved towards the bride..entering the village-cum-mandap, it could be seen that entire village was present for the wedding..all houses were open, no doors locked...you could literally walk in the house, take a nap and come back out and no one would say anything..such is the simplicity of life there...
Once again, i felt being a part of the ceremony..i wasn't an outsider, at least i wasn't being treated as one...except for may be curious glances towards my bad dressing sense..main ceremony got over sooner than I expected and there were smiles all around..through the crowd, i caught a glimpse of an older man who carried an expression of satisfaction, relief and happiness and guessed that it was the bride's father...as the couple sat on the makeshift dais, friends and relatives started crowding the area to give their wishes and the gifts for the newly-wed couple..
Having a nice lunch of dal-rice at the wedding, we left the town to drop Dhananjay to the Shrivardhan bus stand and pick up another friend from there..
We reached back home to be greeted by Abhijit's family who had decided to spend the weekend there too...afternoon was spent in a different bigger wadi, trying to keep a dog at bay and then at the main Shrivardhan beach and its surrounding area, dotted by huge trees, farm-houses and farm-lands..
|Abhijit, relaxing in Varandah of his home|
|A perfect house|
|Ancient Banyan standing tall|
|Agent and bidders|
|Small boats and bigger ships in the background|
|A sole sting ray|
|Thats something weird|
Next morning, we left for the secret beach these guys had found as kids..on the way, passing through a small locality, we stopped to ask for Madi..madi is a country liquor, naturally produced from coconut tree..it tastes a bit like mixture of butter milk, coconut and salt..after a few inquiries, we were directed to a person who invited us to his house to taste it before purchasing..his was a small hut, just enough to give protection from sun and light rain and i could not help but imagine the heavy storms that are so common in these parts...he and his wife were happy nonetheless and their family also included many cats and kittens who were feeding from the milk and bread kept in the bowl outside..he filled us two bottles of fresh Madi for a reasonable Rs. 60..
The secret beach, as expected, was deserted...due to low tide, the sea had retreated back a little and that opened up a large expanse of the beach front...the sand was smooth but firm and walking on it bare feet felt like walking on silk...we walked till the edge of the water and coming back a little sat in the middle...no one was talking then..each in his own thoughts..passing madi from one hand to another...it was noon, but the wind was cool and persistent and never allowed the strong rays of the sun affect our mood..which was vaguely nostalgic and mostly relaxed...the drink help relax it further...and soon, we started imagining a few more luxuries to go with such an amazing beach...an umbrella, lounge chairs and a crate of beer! Well, maybe some other time...