Sunrise on the eastern coast is a special event. I stood at Dolphin’s Nose, a spur jutting out into the Bay of Bengal, to behold the breaking of the sun’s upper limb over the horizon of the sea. As the eastern sky started unfolding like the crimson petals of a gigantic flower, I was overcome by a wave of romantic feelings and nostalgia—vivid memorie not diminished by the fact that almost ten years had passed.
I was a young bachelor then, and Visakhapatnam did not have much to offer. Every Sunday morning, I used to rise before dawn and head for Dolphin’s Nose, to enjoy the dazzling spectacle of the sun majestically rising out of the sea. The fresh, salty sea breeze was a panacea for all the effects of hangovers caused by Saturday night excesses.
After viewing the metamorphosis at sunrise, I would walk downhill along the steep mountain-path, towards the rocky beach, for a brief swim. Each time, I noticed a flurry of activity in a distant compound with a single decrepit building. I used to ignore it, but curiously, one day I decided to take a closer look. It was a fish market. Most customers were housewives from the nearby residential complexes. They were at their “Sunday-worst”—sans make-up, slovenly dressed, faces unwashed, and unkempt hair—in stark contrast with their carefully made-up appearances at the club the previous evening.
I had began to walk away, quite dejected, when I saw her for the first time. I stopped, dead in my tracks. She was a real beauty—tall, fair and freshly bathed, her long lustrous hair dancing on her shoulders. She had large, expressive brown eye and her sharp features were accentuated by the rays of the morning Sun. I can’t begin to describe the sensation she evoked in me; it was the first time in my life that I felt my heart ache with such intense yearning. I knew this was love. Yet, in my heart, I knew that Istood no chance—she had a mangalsutra around her neck. She was married—maybe happily, too. Nevertheles I drew closer to her and made the pretence of buying some fish. Smiling guardedly at me, she selected a couple of pomfrets and held them out to me. I managed to briefly touch her soft hands—the feeling was electric and a shiver of thrill passed through me. She communicated an unspoken “good-bye” with her teasing, dancing eyes and briskly walked away. Too dazed to follow her, I returned to my room and had fried pomfret for breakfast. Needless to say, they tasted delicious.