A trip to Guruvayoor is usually filled with temples. Given that our trips are one/two days, there is only enough time to go to the main Krishna temple, followed by the Mamiyoor temple, the Parthasarathy temple and the Sri Venkatachalapathi temple. Many a time, the second day is for the Nallambalam visit - the Sri Rama temple at Tripprayar, the Koodalmanikyam Temple to Bharata at Irinjalakkuda, the Lakshmana Temple at Moozhikkulam and the Shatrugna Temple at Payammal. On one of our visits to Guruvayoor we decided to make a change and drove one evening to the Chavakkad beach.
As with beaches in Kerala, there were a lot of people. The sea had boats lined up and there was crowd congregation in one place. Usually, we stay away from crowds both for safety and disinterest in unruly elements as well as the search for quiet. This time around, we decided to explore.
When we went closer, we found that fish was being brought from the boats and auction was happening. That picked our interest.
One boat at a time from the ones lined up was called, to what order we had no idea. The motor was revved and the boat came full speed to the shore.
Once near the shore, people pushed it and parked it on the sand. Then out came the fishes in baskets.
The process of offloading from boats and the excitement of people around who saw a good catch coming up was infectious. We decided to get into the crowd and watch it. Just as we got interested in the goings on, people got interested in us and wanted to know who we were. Once we said we were visitors to Guruvayoor and were professors in computer science, they left us to ourselves. Maybe we should have told them we were journalists or book writers - dependent on people we might have been given more information or a thrashing.... we joked.
'Aagoli' (name of fish in Malayalam), was the priciest of the lot. Have not seen such big ones since my childhood, when I accompanied my dad to the fish market. I was told the people around that the best catch is often exported. The moment someone won a bid, his people took the catch in boxes out immediately.
There were a lot of other fish like ayla, mathi and other small ones but the one that was surprising was the one below. One of the people around told me it is 'kanava'. I did not understand what it was till someone translated it to 'squid'. Another fish we saw was the 'thirandi' or the stingray.
The auction continued. We moved a little away from the hustle and bustle, to find some quiet time. Time to watch the waves lash the shore as the sun set in the horizon, time to listen to the roar of the sea and realize that this world we live in is magical. The sea holds so much power and is at the same time is a source of livelihood for people, no wonder she is called 'Kadalamma'(Mother Sea).