Who are the people at Juhu beach on a Thursday noon?
1. Couples. Mostly young. Young couples find the time to go everywhere.
2. Still photographers. Holding up open albums with big photos of smiling people. I feel sorry for them. There are too many of them, and too little work. Who asks to have a photo taken in this day of smart phones? Every now and then they gravitate towards each other, and stand in a huddle, looking here and there, for prospective models. Paying ones.
3. A few Muslim families. The women in black burkhas, or with dupattas over their heads.
4. Lots of young men, boys. In couples, in groups. One group has a football, and they are going to begin their game.
5. Some municipal workers who stand around shuffling their feet in the wet sand. They look defeated by the array of plastic thrown up by the high tide. They seem happier once the garbage disposal van comes in with its open metal jaws.
6. A man with a big, really big bag of chippy snacks, locally made cheetos, and bhungris, and other fried snacks. He is doing good business.
7. A stray dog.
8. Some crows.
9. A young woman who does not want to wet her shoes. The man with her points to his own cerulean blue sneakers and indicates he is ready to wet them.
10. A woman with a tokri of stuff, maybe ber and imli, sitting under a little patch of shade under a small tree, dozing off, facing away from the beach, given up the battle with wind and sand and sun.
The sea is glaring, roaring, giving hul. The wind is an able combat partner.
11. I cannot stand on the beach for more than 15 minutes.
It takes a 30 minute walk and lots of car horns to take away the sound of the sea from my ears.
*vella – idle, jobless
*giving hul – thrusting, attacking, provoking.
*ber – a red berry
*imli – tamarind