Saturday, Sep 23, 2023 22:00 [IST]
Last Update: Saturday, Sep 23, 2023 16:25 [IST]
Sept. 27 – World Tourism Day
Marina Beach and Madras City are inseparable! (Sorry, it is Chennai City, but I used it for rhyming). Perhaps Chennai is less pollutant because of the easterly sea breeze that pushes the polluted air westwards. There is a concern that the Marina Beach is slowly turning into a graveyard at its northern end, what with four graves of four political leaders encroaching on the sands – all four of them chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, two each of DMK and AIADMK parties. Marina beach has become a prestigious place to Rest in Peace for the political leaders. They would even die to get a place there. Oh, well, after all one has to die to get a place there, no?
For the ordinary citizens, Marina Beach is the heaven on earth, especially during the scorching summer months and at virtually no cost. Unfortunately, the horrible summer is getting longer and longer with climate change – almost 7-8 months. The 12 kms that separate my house from Marina seems a tedious distance at my age; more so if I have to use the public transport. At last I ventured out after nearly four years to enjoy Marina by Night. The Covid-19 epidemic is also to be blamed for this long gap. It was 7 in the evening when we reached Marina, which is usually the time we leave Marina for home. So this was a different experience ... Marina by Night!
Marina will see much change with the Lighthouse Metro Station coming up abutting the sands. I look forward to it when I can straightaway travel to the Marina comfortably and quickly, without any hassle. Hectic work for the metro line is going on with tin sheets blocking the view of the sea from the Beach Road. The triangle-shaped lighthouse (which design is not to my liking as I prefer the traditional cylindrical shape) stands like a one-eyed giant splashing its light now and then. Chennai is the only Indian city to have a lighthouse within the city limits; not just one but four. The other three are not in use these days. A few ships with twinkling lights were dangling in the sea, waiting to enter Chennai Port. I wondered if Marina Beach attracted the planes also. Very frequently planes were flying low above the sands either for landing or after takeoff.
Fish and buji were being fried and sold like hot cakes in the eateries that lined the way to the waters. Though lip-smacking, I controlled myself. I am generally very cautious eating outside for health & hygiene issues. Shops selling trinkets, including shell items, competed for attraction. And then there was entertainment – merry-go-rounds, horse ride, balloon shooting, ring throwing, etc. Marina is a foodie’s place too; sweet corns are roasted in front of your eyes and applied with tingling masala; boiled & spiced grams are sold as ‘sundal’. Murukku, peanut, mango slices, cotton candy, ice cream and what not! We safely settled for a roasted sweet corn and ice cream. Many of these petty trades are run by women; and equally astonishing was that almost all of them had the QR code facility for phone payment! Thanks to ‘Digital India’!
Needless to say, Marina Beach is a Lovers’ Paradise. I had to pretend that I did not notice them. Well, do they care! Children living in high-rise apartments who have never held sand in their hands were joyfully having a feel of the beach sand and the surf, and refusing to leave for home. Some families were enjoying their home-made dinner on the sands. This made us vow to return to the Marina Beach for a moonlit dinner on full moon night. How romantic! But who will prepare the dinner – YOU or I? And thereby hangs our proposed trip to Marina by Night!
United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) aims at promoting “Responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism”. World Tourism Day has been held on 27 September each year since 1980. The date marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Statutes of the Organization in 1970, paving the way for the establishment of UNWTO five years later.
(email@example.com / 9840917608 Whatsapp)