Surathkal During Dasera

A trip to Mangalore after a long time is no less than an overdose of nostalgia. Events and memories that were hidden for a longtime in remote regions of subconscious mind bounce back. This time it had been more than 6 months since my previous visit. I had four days in hand and that seemed perfect to make up for all the loses. I had no agenda, like I never do when I visit home. Because home itself is the destination I long for. The farm, the beaches and the Yakshagana performances in the neighbouring temples during Dasara keep me engaged.  And of course those regular visitors to my house. 

On Thursday (22nd October), the day I arrived, I visited a neighbour/relative for a get-together lunch. I got to meet a few relatives after long time. In the evening, I watched a Yakshagana at one of the Mariguddis (Temple of goddess Mariamma) near my house. It was not very impressive, so I left midway.  

On Friday (23rd October), I mostly relaxed at home. I went shopping in Surathkal. Not much has changed here, I noticed. In the night, I decided to watch the visarjan of Sharada idol; something I have never done before. I walked to the beach at around 11:00 PM and waited for the procession to arrive. A few boys were busy making an idol of the goddess with sand. 

The procession finally arrived at 2:30 AM. A Tiger dance troop came tired and sat next to me. Their body paint had almost left their skin. Due to the itching the rest of the paint slowly began to come-off. They had filled some local liquor in a water bottle, which they passed it to one another for a sip as they discussed their issues. They discussed about their payment and how some of their friends had denied participating out of ego and things like.

After the Sharada idol was worshiped one last time, the jewellery and flowers were removed and the idol was taken to the sea. The tiger dance troupe danced for one last time. With her, she is believed to have taken all the bad omen that might affect the city. At around 3AM I returned home, satisfied of having witnessed something new.

On Saturday (24th October), I took a morning walk by the beach and met my colleagues Sandeep and Pavitra who were in our friend Sadiq’s taxi. It was a mere coincidence. I invited them home for lunch. Later that evening I took another walk by the beach and returned home, enriched by the empowering sound of waves that always fill me with zeal for life.

On Sunday (25th October), I attending my colleague Arun’s wedding and met Pradyumn, Rohit, Gautam and Anvesh there. After lunch, we had some ice-cream for desserts at Pabbas and then we headed to my house. We went to the  lighthouse, had maggie oh sorry Yippee at the shack near by and then the boys enjoyed playing in the beach. They left by 7PM and I took my bus back to Bangalore by 9:30 PM. 

A trip to Mangalore is filled with experiences and stories. I learnt about the three tiger dancers who refused to participate in the event as they were not paid enough. I got to know about Daniel who is happy if the family members of the dead live abroad as he makes money out of refrigerating the deceased until their family arrives. Three boys from Bangalore had recently walked to the rock in the sea and when one of them got washed away, the other two had unable to return, called for help. Such interesting stories can happen only in Mangalore. 

Every trip to Surathkal is one closer to nature, culture and tradition. Modernisation is definitely influencing the entire country but here, in Surathkal, the pace of change is slower than elsewhere. For now it has reached the animals, who have to find shelter in the towns.