“We must learn to sail in high winds”- Henry Island | Milaap

“We must learn to sail in high winds”- Henry Island

After doing a number of beach cleanups it was time to visit one and not having to clean it. The reason being that it was almost an isolated beach secured by an island. Henry’s Island is the next-door neighbour of a very famous beach in West Bengal called Bakkhali. The journey starts right after you cross heads at the Sealdah station, hit the famous platform 12 and board inside the calm and quiet train. Might you travel post 9 AM and your image of this scene would be completely contradictory and sweaty. At morning 4.20 AM the first train leaves and I boarded in and found barely three to four people all sleeping comfortably.

( As the dawn breaks)
Watching the sunrise along with the hums of a few local women making flower garlands sitting at the door of the compartment is a perfect amalgamation of human and nature. To add to this, the misty morning with the cool breeze fresh out of the lush green paddy fields, slowly close your eyes shut while you are still swinging to the rhythm of the train. A journey of 3 hours passed in good talks and gazing. The newly opened bridge has connected the nearest railway station, Namkhana to the nearest tourist bus stand, Bakkhali directly, without having to take a mini boat ride to cross the river. The bus ride is shockingly always breezy even though the weather outside is hardly any cold.

( The charm of local bus, sweat and breeze)
Stepping down at Bakkhali, the first thing I had to do is visit Lila Mashi(Aunty). The first time I visited this beach was about 8 years back and she has been the one to feed me ever since. For many more times, I have visited Bakkhali and like the vastness of the sea, my bonding became never-ending with this family. Although Mashi now has a small Gift store she did not lose her mother’s recipe of bread and butter. I could not meet her husband as he was off for fishing. Eight years, the fear and dilemma of this woman still remain if she will get to see her husband in a week or will he be taken away by the magnet of the water.

( A mother to me for 9 years now)
( Mashi's (Aunt's) cubicle of survival)

After a chat, I decided to push off to Henry’s Island, a 20-minute Auto-Rickshaw ride. All along the two sides, you see mangroves, a treat for anyone loving biodiversity. Numerous birds in flock take their flight above you while the tiny mud houses make you recollect the rustic images in old history books.

( Way to the Island)

The Island is located and preserved by the Government so only once a while one gets the chance to stay that close to the beach through online booking and some convincing. Breakfast, lunch or dinner one should never miss the fish fries that the chefs of this resort make. Fresh pieces from the fish breeding centre encircling the place; the turmeric and salt just do their magic, every single time. Although I could not see the sunrise, being a cloudy day the next morning, the wind and the light drizzle was a beauty in itself. Walking through the tiny bridges and lanes, out of nowhere your eyes meet two vast barren marshy lands on either side. A peculiar combination of green and maroon shrubs with mangroves all around surly made me sit right there for a while just breathing in the fresh air.

( Swamp Thing)
This beach has the most dramatic entry door. A huge collection of shrubs and climbers make a perfect canopy and grand door from where you can only witness the bright light that literally calls you towards it. As you hopelessly walk towards it the tides touch your skin yards away while the sand dust exfoliating through. This beach hardly has humans so its tranquillity often pulls audiences to their death. I realized why the statutory warning is giving at the breakfast hour.

( Grand opening to the beach)
( Just three locals and I, a known stranger)

 I sat and meditated for a few hours. The rain started getting heavy and two cute fur buddies (dog) joined in while we all sat in awe blankly starting at the magnitude of water.  A little current gave me Goosebumps on the thought that after a long long time I was ordained to simply sit and not sulk in the waste around.

( Power of meditation)
Aristotle Onassis very correctly pictured, “We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds”.

( The high winds)