The board near the ferry counter says the ride to Thiruvalluvar is suspended due to low tides but on the way back from Vivekananda’s rock, I find our ferry bump to a stop near the statue. And again, before I can realize what’s come to pass, I’m being herded up a ramp, that opens out to a square platform. We hang by the sides looking at the slimy crabs crawling on the gothic rocks below. The water foams around madly.
Then we go inside and up a narrow, dingy and sticky floored structure. I regret being there without my slippers (because everyone’s supposed to leave it at the entrance). Is it water? Has someone swept puke all over the floor?
The square openings in the stone wall at the bend of the staircase on each floor pull everyone to an involuntary stop. For a few seconds of looking out into the endless ocean and feel the salty air in your face. This is when you feel assured that it’s salt deposits on the floor. That’s not so bad. Just mist from the ocean. And then it makes sense why each floor has a resident sweeper with orange gloves and a stick mop.
And then we’re up on a platform right on the top by Thiruvalluvar’s feet. Ginantic feet. If you look up you see his crotch but almost none of his face. You must look at tall structures from far away.
This is the best place to just look and look at the ocean’s unrest all around you. Like endless stretches of jelly bobbing up and down. It puts you in a trance. So you just pick a spot and sit to enjoy the silence. But no one else wants peace. There’s constant chatter, clicking of photos, screaming out of names, laughter and people who are ready to walk into you.
The entire place is grey and the ferry’s load is just too much for this narrow memorial. But the wind is cool and it puts you in a happy mood. Then you want to scream with the others and pose for grinning selfies too. And of course, you can hang around, wait for the crowds to disperse and enjoy the quiet till the next ferry arrives (which is not too long after).
Later you can come down to where you started from and have coffee or ice cream but not coffee and ice cream. Being amidst the sea and near such larger than life effigies of great legends, this is one of those places where you can start a philosophical adda before you are again waiting for the ferry to fill up from the other rock and reach this one.
Also, here’s an audio clip from the Triveni Sangam (which you can see in the pic above. The beach on the right protected by that rock is where all the pilgrims take a dip.) The Indian Ocean, Bay Of Bengal and Arabic Sea come together here. And here’s what it sounds like.