Yesterday I went to Marina Beach, just by coincidence. I wanted to see- see where nature had decided to step over man kind. The road that I drove on to access the main beach road at one time had been covered with water. Along the beach road, there was proof of broken down cement walls. Few vendors had stalls up in the sand. I was not afraid, in someway, I wanted to greet the waves.
As I stepped in the sands, I took my shoes off – there was to be no barrier between me and what was to be. Slowly as I walked in the sand, I was competely aware of each step, trying to feel each grain. Sometimes I felt the dead were at my feet. But I kept going, I wanted to see.
There were few boats in the sand, destructed by the tsunami. At one time this was “lover’s beach” where couples would ditch class or skip work, and sit and talk all day long. Today there were few people, mostly it was just the sand and the ocean.
I walked up to the shore on sort of a small mount that headed downward towards the shoreline. I stood for a slight second, and thought ” I want to see… I want to see. I want to feel.”
I stepped closer to the waves, carefully trying not to get my capri pants wet. The water was chilly. Not cold – chilly. I stood and I stood, slowly getting closer as the waves would not come near enough and then one hit. A wave – hit the bottom of my capris and got them wet. At first I was surprised as I was not paying attention, and then I thought ” darn it, my pants are wet.” The next second, I realized – Karuna – you just got your pants wet, you didn’t drown, you didn’t die.
So I stood right there. Staring the waves down. The best way to get rid of your fear is to face fear itself. At times, when a wave came too strong my heart would skip. I imagined in the middle of the ocean, waves high up in the sky coming at me faster than a plane. And I realized by the time I turned around and took a step I would be dead.
I took a breath – a deep breath – and stared and imagined over and over again. Then I saw something floating in the water. Was it a dead body? It was small. Was it a child? The worse thoughts ran in my mind. I squinted trying to sort out the image. No it was something else.
I waited at the feet of the waves, as it slowly floated wave after wave closer to me. It appeared to be a shirt. Chills jolted my soul. Who’s shirt? From where? They are probably dead? I visualized more clothes, people, objects floating in the ocean. It must have been devastating.
I took a deep breath, turned around and began walking back. iIsaw what I was suppose to see. But as I turned around, I was greeted by smiles. There were boys playing cricket in the sand. Lives continued to move forward.
That nite I cried. I cried so much. I could feel people’s pain, hear their cries. It was extremly painful. That night, I decided …..forget all the corruption, forget all the middleman that eat the supplies, forget that out of 100,000 Rupees only 25,000Rupees trickles down to the people who need it. If… if I just do one action that will help someone – even in my entire month in Chennai, it will make all the difference. It will change that one shirt.
Right now, it feels that each moment is a heart beat. It is occuring now, but do not focus on the last one or the next one – just listen for one.
Keeping all my friends of service in my heart.