Kudla Holiday

For my Tulu speaking friends, our native town is 'Kudla', short for 'Kudala', meaning confluence, Mangalore being on the confluence of two rivers, the Netravati and Gurpur, where they together flow into the Arabian Sea. And to this confluence Mangaloreans from all over periodically converge, each for their own reason. We ourselves had gone down some time ago, for a wedding in the family. The children as intrigued as ever, that I still had cousins who are nearer in age to them, and yet to be married. But thank God for that! It is their romantic perambulations that provide us an excuse to zero in on our childhood home town, occasionally.

As I always said, one easily remembers going down to Mangalore, but rarely of leaving it. It is only when you have returned to present base wherever that be, that realisation dawns with a tinge of regret of having left behind that glorious paradise holiday town. For as my memory goes, the place had a way of keeping you inebriated in every sense of the term, merriment or whatever, not necessarily with bachelors from the moment you crossed into its portals to the time you've seen the last of it; what with all the party-shartying, the wining, dining and dancing, and the singing, till you were quite hoarse. This happened especially if you coincided your visit during the festive post Christmas and post Easter seasons, when the whole town went berserk with the weddings, the anniversaries and something more important, when Mangaloreans from all over the world breezed in with marriageable daughters and eligible sons, to probe the scene for life partners on home soil.

However short the visit, for me there always used to be a set routine. Attend the functions for which you've travelled all the way, and the night long celebrations thereafter that lasted every night till break of dawn; then the drive to the beach which every one seemed to partake in, especially the youngsters with boundless energy and no mood to call it a day; the few winks to shut-eye that you managed right there on the sands or may be in the beach house if you were sober enough to make it. And then to wake up to the glorious sun beating down on the shimmering waters beckoning you to ride the roaring waves as they broke surf on the sloping shores; The couple of hours spent swimming or sea-bathing; and then the delightful sips of 'fenni' - - no, not from a glass, but from a tender coconut through a straw, -- with fried fish freshly cooked, there on the beach from the day's new catch, straight from the nets of the obliging fishermen who delighted in your delight. And by the time you had a couple of them under your belt. It was high noon and time to back track to town for a late lunch, invariably somebody's bash, celebrating something. Before you realised, the lunch extended into the twilight zone, barely giving you time to get spruced up and ready for a repeat performance for the next 24 hours -- with a snooze thrown in between tea and dusk, if you were lucky.

What better way to let one's hair down and enjoy not a quiet, but a 'real' holiday! The otherwise serious and conservative town, yet often qualifying to be called a Peyton place, made no bones about shedding its inhibitions come festive season, when the always chaperoned and locked in your folk got ample opportunity - nay, freedom, to mix and mingle and possibly net what could be caught in the season. At least, that's how it is used to be in the days of my courtship. What with the quantum of advancement the place has seen in the last two decades, the influx of big money, industry, and commercialisation of everything, I wonder if things are same, the beaches as inviting, and most of all, the joy de vivre of the place and the people as lasting, to make 'Kudla' as endearing and attracting as ever, even today.

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Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http:// www.maxwellperira.com and maxpk@vsnl.com

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