At the Seaside Written by Swapna Dutta Illustrated by Amitava Sen Gupta
I am at the seaside for the first time. We are here on a holiday. Papa says, “Let us go to the beach”. “What is the beach?” I ask. “The beach is the sandy place along the water” explains amma.
I am a little afraid of the sea. It is so big! There is so much water! The waves are so huge! And they make so much noise as they break on the shore! I can hardly hear myself speak!
I feel afraid to step into the water. But I soon get used to the noise. The waves are beautiful.I try to decide what colour it is.The water looks green sometimes. It also looks blue. “It is called sea-green ” says amma.
I love the soft, wet sand. “Let us build a house” says Rohit, my brother. We make the floor first. Then the walls. Last of all, the roof.But the roof keeps falling down every time!Papa shows us how to make it stand. Amma also helps. We build a lovely castle.Rohit and I write our names in front of the gate.It is easy to write on the sand.
Suddenly a wave breaks at our feet. Rohit screams. “The sand is slipping under my feet! I shall fall.” “No, you won’t” says papa holding him tight, “it’s the water that pulls the sand as it flows back to the sea.” “You’ll soon get used to it” says amma, “This only happen at the sea side!”
Another wave breaks right over my face. The water is SALTY! “Ugh!” I cry spitting out the water. “Sea water is always salty” says papa. “But why?” asks Rohit.
“ There are many reasons. One of them is because many rivers flow into the sea. They carry a lot of salty matter. Then there are rocks and other things within the sea. All of them help make the water salty” says papa. “Did you know that we get most of our salt from the sea?” says amma, “Remember that when you eat your potato chips and pakodas next time!”
I look at the white shells the waves have brought in. They are so pretty! I try to gather them all. There is a pink lump near the shells. Papa says it is a jellyfish.Rohit asks if it is made of jelly. “Oh no. It just looks like jelly” says amma, “So it is called that.”“Don’t touch it” warns papa, “It may sting.”
“ Something just pinched my toes” shouts Rohit. “It is only a crab” says papa, laughing. “They live in the sand.” We see it running away along the sand. We move over to the other side. “That’s only a little one” says papa, “There are huge big crabs too. Some people like to eat them.”“Ugh!” says Rohit turning up his nose.
There are many small boats.Big nets are spread across the sands. They belong to the fishermen.They have spread out the nets to dry. We see some of the fishermen coming in towards the shore.Their boats are bobbing up and down with the waves.
One of the fishermen jumps down and drags his boat on the dry sand. His fishing net is full of shiny silver fish. And we also see some big crabs. Some of them are jumping within the net! “What are they going to do with so much fish?” I ask. “Sell them in the market” says papa, “Sea food is good for the health, you know.”
“ Amma, look, there is a man making images with sand” shouts Rohit. We walk up to him. He is making an image of Lord Ganapati. Lots of people are watching him.“He makes a fresh one every day” one of them tells us, “Sometimes people take photographs and write about him in the papers.” He is very clever.
The sea can be dangerous too, papa tells us. Sometimes there are terrible storms, such as the hurricane, tornado or tsunami. When they come a lot of things are destroyed.
But the sea is lovely and calm now. “Come, take my hand. Let us go closer to the water” papa tells me. Rohit holds amma’s hand. A big wave comes and splashes us from head to foot. “The sand is slipping under my feet again” shouts Rohit
“ Hold on tight” says papa. I am not afraid any more! It is great fun to feel the silky water wash my ankles! I love the seaside!