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It was day 2 in Gokarna for us. After having been slow moving objects on day 1, we decided to be active on day 2. We consumed a yummy breakfast for starters for which we had to walk a decent amount. Mine was mostly unhealthy and delicious; sister’s was healthy and light.

We set out with our smart phones in hand, dressed to walk a lot. Running a little ahead of us was a dog. He seemed to know the way but we humoured him and stared into our smart phone that showed the direction. After getting lost once while following the phone, we decided to follow the dog. The dog was light on his feet and slightly impatient as two slow moving souls trudged behind him. Often halting along the bushes filled path to catch their breaths. He waited for us to catch up. He turned back to check if we were keeping pace. We trusted the dog knew where to take us and eventually abandoned our smart phone for our new guide. The path was dodgy and mostly through the mountains. Often, we felt we had lost our way. But the dog was far from misleading us. Taking us through the bushes, he sauntered on. Up, down, near the edge with killer view, up, down, through narrow paths, hardly space for one human path, up, down and finally the beach.

He led the way from Om Beach till Half Moon Beach (almost mid way to our preferred destination). Surprisingly, he didn’t join us after this. He didn’t even come to us for a treat or a few pets. He just got busy kicking some sand up. We waved to him and thanked him before continuing on our way. The road ahead looked steep and full of mountains. On this long path, we both learnt to trust our instincts and march along slowly. We stopped to inhale the breathtaking scenery, the beauty of the clear waters and sound of just the waves; photographed what we could as we went along. It was untouched by man and his destructive ways, I noticed. When we reached Paradise beach, it was worth our long and tiring trek. We sat on the rocks in silence, letting the water wash our feet. I played in the water for a while. Taking in the serenity and beauty of the quiet land. What a lovely space and place to be.

Travelling for me is not just about seeing other places and being in awe, which frankly Gokarna has done repeatedly since my arrival. But it is about seeing my reactions and learning about pieces of my self. The morning taught me to trust my instincts and let go of always wanting control. I allowed these thoughts to marinate in my head as we took a boat back.

So much to see, learn and feel. I hope to carry back some of these lessons. But mostly the positivity and freedom I feel flowing through me.

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She had needed to get away for long. Yet, work had kept her occupied. Finally, she managed to leave all her responsibilities behind and give herself a break.

She was sure she needed an ocean; the sound of the waves, vast expanses, quiet spaces, stars, sky, close to nature, it all seemed to allure her.

When she arrived, it was just what she needed. She sat in a restaurant by the beach, ordered a bottle of beer and some prawns, pulled out her feminist book and a box of cigarettes. The words made sense to her; the beer lowered her inhibitions; the cigarette smoke calmed her. All was right with her life.

She was busy reading when a Lady, clearly not Indian, asked if she could share the table. She nodded and got back to her book. The Lady, dressed in a cotton flowery dress, now introduced herself. She smiled in response but only to be polite. The Lady ordered herself a beer and pulled out her book. It wasn’t an English one. She couldn’t make out the title, though. They let the other be as they merely shared physical space.

Men in groups, several couples, both Indian and foreign, were in the restaurant with them. All engrossed in conversation and laughter. Eventually they paid their bills separately and headed out. She felt a tingle down her spine as they silently walked down the star lit beach. It was peaceful. The silent presence of a stranger, too, felt relaxing. She waved to the Lady as she decided to stare out into the ocean for a while. The Lady waved and walked on. There was something magical about sharing space without pressure of conversation.

She sat down in the almost dark corner and smoked her cigarette. The stars made for the best company. With a little buzz and a full stomach, she felt relaxed and inspired. The waves crashed on the rocks nearby. It was all going to be okay.