There are too many places on earth that don’t exist on a map.

A black pebble beach you can see from the top of the cliff, but cannot spot the ladder to descend to. A shop selling home-cooked lunch that moves from one corner of the station to another every day. In the monsoon, a puddle that sits in the middle of the street that you must manoeuvre around if you’re on a bike, and holds rainbow-like colours if you look at it at the right time. A small cramped space below the bridge where skateboarders meet to smoke, where a lost baseball waits.

A path in the woods that will lead you to a freshwater pond, built only by repeated bootprints and patches of uprooted grass. A village with no addresses where people eat on banana leaves right below a red dot with a name.

Google maps does not recognise the two steps before the door where you have passed timeless evenings talking to your sister about spring and moving to the city to find a job as a separate place, even though that is what you think of each time you say home. The just-befores, the in-betweens and the places you must walk to after the last bus stop. The yellow cottage you passed by on a pre-planned train journey to Scotland? Nobody will give you directions to if you drive by the tracks on another Sunday and stop someone to ask.

But if you’re lucky you might still find these places, or they’ll find you, especially if you aren’t following a blue arrow on a map that doesn’t look anything like earth, that has no awareness of makeshift swings hanging from trees, the roads that could be, a route with no pitstops to pause and stare at the cows grazing in full meadows before mango sunsets.






I often sit at the beach fidgeting with my wedding band, fidgeting with my fingers. I miss your hands in mine.

I often sit at the beach and wonder that the sea knows too much, don’t you think?

It is so old and aged and wise, I wonder what all it has seen.

It knows of the darkest love and the secrets of the ships that sunk in it. It knows of deaths and the whispers that join the stars.

I wonder if that is what makes it so ravenous for skin.

I often sit at the beach and think if that is why he ate you up? To share the stories it held?

I wonder how you are Louis. Are you still down there? Are you sitting down there looking above at the lovely blue sky?

Are you looking at me? I think yes.

Do your hands miss mine?

In Search of Absentia


“What are you doing here?” Saiza asked Eric, who had comfortably taken the seat next to her on the beach’s sandy bed. The sun sparkled in his sea coloured eyes. His blonde hair had grown and now fell in a slick on his face – you could call him somewhat handsome. He grinned a clever amused smile, his eyes shining with the sparkle of the childish glee which comes with observing something unusual. His demeanour is just the way it was seven years ago; he seems most casual about this chance encounter at practically the other end of the world.

He furrowed through the sand near her feet, and picked the prettiest curve of a hazel tinted sea shell, embedding it carefully at the mouth of the sand castle’s gate. The young agent looked almost bemusedly at Eric, who had come and sat nonchalantly next to her, almost without welcome.

“I am happy.” He said. In a scuffled undertone which tightened her stomach.

“That’s not what I asked.”

“For a grown successful media tycoon sitting in this lonely beach building a sand castle,” he says the last two words with a certain theatrical pause peculiar of him, giving all her distant memories with him fresh life, “it is not the right question to ask.” He smirks and laughs like a teenage boy.

She takes a deep breath, almost assiduously shrugging her shoulders, and feels truly relieved. She stares at the sun set high in the pale sky, and turns back at Eric with loving, friendly, pleased eyes.

“How are you?” he asks.

“Not the right question. How have you been?” She tries to hide the pain which is sinking inside of her.

He takes a long pause. “You know we live in this bubble. All of us chasing something. A new car. A new promotion. Better love – something or the other. And as long as these wakeful accomplishments remain new – for this brief moment – we feel happy, satisfied. But then, snap, soon we are chasing after something different. I am happy with life, for right now there is this absentia. An absentia of desire…I have stopped looking for things I do not have.” He shrugs.

In his voice she senses fresh remembrance of their listless fights and baseless arguments which had put to end their unbreakable bond of friendship.

Her hands unconsciously rummaged the soil for shells. From below the file of sand that her fingers had dug, he fetched her delicate hand. “It’s time you stop the search.”

He stood up and walked away to the shore, like a fleeting stranger, a closure you can never have enough of.

The Beach At The Sea


E.E Cummings once wrote,

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

It’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”

 I, in today’s piece, explore as I wonder, why the beach at the sea sheds away our sadness like magic, and ultimately helps us to find the happiness we desire.

Watch the horizon there, filled with water to the brim. Look at the tempest yet calm sea, hitting shore with playful waves in timely fashion. Look at what these waves give and take away each time, when they roll and oscillate like an indecisive ship. Feel the sun falling in your eyes, glittering upon the specks of sand in its path. Reflecting the happy moments you’ve had, turning to vapour each flame of regret, erasing predicaments and troubling dreams from your mind’s eye, perking you with enriching confidence. Feel the wind, running by you, teasing your hair, fueling the power of each passing second, each blessed breath, every moment like never before; feel it pinching your skin, as it flutters like a butterfly carrying the scent of love, telling you that you are free, free like never before. The warmth of the prickly hot sand. An imperfect paradise offering escape from endless self-introspection.  The corner of the earth, offering you the world and the worlds beyond it; accustomed for you, a safe kind of high that you can dwell on without keeping count; all of it is at the beach at the sea.

Our definitions of happiness, peace, contentment are patchy, like ideas under work. But at the beach, near the salty flavour of water, near a personification of endless time, we happen to find all of it: our desired happiness, real peace and priced satisfaction. The sea beach is a time portal for many, one which not only offers escape from one’s troubled monotonous and broken life, but offers a chance to forget it and move ahead. It is the quietness in the sound of the loud, witting, and never waiting water, and silence within the bells of laughter, where we can actualise our pursuit of happiness and not think of the challenges we face. The beach at the sea, laid before you, naked and bare, beautiful and ageless, drinks your secrets and sorrow with the salt. It locks in sea shells your dark memories and lost hope and revives eventually the wick of courage.

The beach is like the lap of an old father, who would hear with compassion how you have sunk, but tell you likewise how to swim and surface again. When I look at the vast spread of water spread before me, flowing into the vastness of the unknown, the sea doesn’t show even a hint of vulnerability. It is proud to hold within it, all its pains, all its stories, all its mistakes, its history; never afraid to reveal it. When I look at its water dance and wobble freely, I sense freedom and opportunity, and luck blended with harmony, I hear the perfect music of life, and see the endless days ahead of me, and eventually I swim again.

How solved, how uncomplicated, is everything, when we are there, standing tall, with emptiness giving us comfort. Cummings was right in saying what he said about self-discovery. The joyous warmth of the beach, that helps us find our aleatory glow, is nothing but a craft in that same art. The beach is our comforter, it works some magic, I know it does, but I also believe that it only helps us discover what has always been within us.

If humans were vessels then they are empty of all baggage at the sea. The sea, the uncouth daughter of nature, beautiful and candid just the same, who takes sorrow and gives vicarious happiness. Happiness that will not make you dance or sing, or change a single sad thing in you, but it will, for the moments you choose to spend with it, help you see the grass where it’s greener and fuller.

It is unfaithful in that way, you may say. Strengthening you with false hopes, showing you a future made of dust. You may call it bogus and a cheat, for deceiving you and leaving you in the end.

I say otherwise, dear. The sand will leave you, and so would the wind. With passing time, the horizon will fade into the far as well. But the beach, oh the beach at sea, will never leave you, not if you carry it in your heart, like I do.