Cycling Along the Arabian Sea

Everyone loves the sea for its vastness and the waves that have a way of talking just by the way they touch and go. Ask anyone what it feels being by the sea and there are bound to me many unique responses to iImaget.  While it is one water body, it has a way of eliciting a different emotion from every person. That is the sea, one for all and yet only yours.

For me the most fascinating experience with the sea is through the ferries, where you drive your vehicle through the sea. One such trip was a cycling trip to Gorai, a village in Dharavi Bhet, near Mumbai which is accessed by a ferry crossing the Manori Creek. Unlike Mumbai, Gorai enjoys the old world charm of a small costal town where life almost borders rural India.

The trip began on a pleasant Saturday morning from Malad, a Western suburb of Mumbai, to Marve Beach. The trip also commemorates Nikhil’s first long distance cycle trip and my first cycle trip by the Arabian Sea.  We waited with a sea of people to board the ferry for a quick crossover to Manori. There were fisherwomen, young boys on bikes, little kids chirping around their parents, young couples yearning for some solace and men going around their business in a very matter of fact and diligent manner.

The 10 minutes were spent on still waters, with the ferry engine overpowering human conversations. We sat excitedly looking at our cycles basking in the sun that filtered through the ferry. This had to be the shortest ferry ride for me, the sea’s way of telling us that today we must revel with our cycles on the hilly terrain of Gorai. And it turned out to be more as I discovered an experience. I call this the “traveller’s discovery”, when you stumble upon a feeling, an experience that become part of your Bucket List only after you have lived it. Travelling 24kms on a steam engine of a passenger train from Kotdwar to Najibabad in Uttaranchal was one such experience. After nearly four years the “traveller’s discovery” came knocking again with a five minute downhill stretch along Gorai. The incline was just enough to send our cycles zooming down at a speed where you could feel the wind in your ears and hear the cycle tires rub against the road. Our faces were comically distorted with the wind slapping our cheeks and pulling our hair back.

After a well deserved breakfast by the Gorai beach, we headed not back but further ahead towards the Velankanni Mary Church in Uttan Bhayandar. The church is surrounded by green hills on one end and flanked by the Arabian Sea on the other end. The 30 year old church was built by Monsieur Francis Correa and now is a Pilgrimage Centre with very modern and spacious interiors. The beautifully landscaped lawns became our resting beds. The shade of the palm trees and the lovely sea breeze reminded us how lovely life is and will be.

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