A lesson in gratitude

It was the winter of 2014. We had not been on a family trip for almost two years. After a lot of hemming and hawing, we decided to go to a little fishing village on the fringes of Maharashtra, called Harihareshwar. This place is surrounded by three hills overlooking the Arabian Sea. It also has a river flowing through it. It is considered to be a very scenic and beautiful place, with a stately temple as one of the attractions. We had our Christmas vacations for a month, and that was when we decided to travel.

The day of our departure dawned bright and sunny, with a clear, cold winter’s sun shining down upon us, to see us off. We took our car and set off. It was a few hours’ drive to the village, and we started around 7 AM. As we drove through the country roads, we could see serene fields passing by, with the odd farmer tilling faithfully. There were tranquil cows and frisky calves peacefully grazing in the fields. High on a hill we came upon a lonely goatherd with his herd and yodelled at him from the windows. The road took many a twist and a turn, and finally, we reached the little village.

It remains to date one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. We were staying in a family-run inn right by the beach. It was nestled amid some foliage at the bottom of the hill and overlooked the sea. We spent the day wandering among the shops full of curios and handmade jewellery and bought some pretty knick-knacks.

At night, we had dinner at a local restaurant which cooked the day’s catch of fish. It was all very peaceful. We turned in early, as we were tired out by the day’s travel, and snuggled down amid fluffy blankets and pillows. The next morning, I awoke early to a shimmering sunrise of pale pink and purple. The sky was a blur of pastels and gold, with the early birds singing, and on the lookout for unfortunate worms. The sea was full of froth with little playful waves running up and down the shore. There were frolicking dolphins, leaping and somersaulting over each other. It was scenery out of a Disney movie. I half expected an enchanted princess to waltz down the shore, singing her love out to a brave prince. It was just that kind of a morning.

I took out the camera and took some pictures of the world in general, and went down to the beach to enjoy the morning. I wished I had got my art supplies, for there was nothing I would have liked more than to put down on canvas the beauty in front of me. That was a time when my heart was full of gratitude and wonder at the universe all around me. It is not often, in our humdrum existence, that we take some time out to feel the world around us, and spare it a thought. It was a day that had a very calming effect on my soul, yet filled it with effervescence. I was, and shall always remember to be grateful to be alive after that.