Early morning on Kappad beach. After a trek to Banasura the earlier day in the windy, rainy empire of leeches, everyone was super tired. No one ready to get out.
So only two of us left. The beach was just across the tiny road in front of our homestay. As we had packed only for the trek, we didn’t have a change of clothes. So getting into the water was out of question.
But the beach was beautiful. The shore is very small. Along the shore there were thousands of seashells of possibly all shapes and all colours. The boundary between the beach and the town is lined with rocks of various shapes and distinct textures on them. Many had a bunch of tiny sea-shells stuck together on them like a family.
We took a walk along the shore in the cool morning breeze, watching the fisherman throwing and pulling their fishing nets. A hundred Brahminy kites (or red backed sea eagles) were gliding overhead to find a catch, suddenly swooping on the water surface if they spot something. We argued whether they should be called kites or eagles. Then I got busy trying to click pictures of these kites or eagles or whatever they should be called. No luck..shouldn’t they stop for a couple of seconds and pose!!
When I gave up and started walking again, I found my friend with a bunch of seashells in his hands, staring at them and amused like a kid. I ran up to him to see what it was… and now it was my turn to be amused! All these shells were alive!! Little tiny limpets were moving inside. Now when we looked around, we could see so many of them moving. Some of them walking, crawling, some of them rolling with their conical shells, some rolling even up to the water… how did we not see this earlier?
We kept walking. While looking at one of the fishing nets, we realised how all these shell-fish landed here. They were caught in the nets. Being so tiny, they held little value for the fishermen. So they took the bigger fish and threw all these shells on the shore…NOT IN THE WATER! And then they had to struggle to roll back home, to the sea. We tried dropping as many as them in the water. But there were masses of them! So we left them to roll on their own.
Tired, we spotted another flock of small birds walking on the beach. We started following them quietly to have a better look. But somehow they seemed to know. They kept running away. Then we met a drunk fisherman who started telling us how awesome his fish were and wanted us to hold a big lobster, a crab and take pictures with him. We never knew how the time went by and when the sun was over our heads.
We remembered that we had no phones and our friends were back home (homestay). So we turned back. The fishermen were still on their job – catching the sea creatures, filtering out the shells and filling the baskets with fish with actual value to humans.
When we came back to show this wonder to our friends who missed it, we saw the saddest sight. All the shells who couldn’t roll and reach the sea, now were dead, dry under the sun.
So why am I telling this sad story? That too of these tiny limpets?
But even if one person starts caring after reading my story, starts leaving the dying shell-fish into the sea if they find any, or start being more careful not to step on a snail while on a trekking trail and so on, I think it will be an accomplishment.
Where: Kappad (Kalikat, Kerala)
When: August 2016
Let me know your thoughts in comments!
Thanks for reading 🙂