Monday, April 20, 2015

Wish Baskets

Velas, a tiny village, in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, about 200 kilometres from Mumbai, is the epicentre of the conservation effort to protect the Olive Ridley Turtles that hatch on its beaches. Years ago, the Turtle eggs were often eaten up and destroyed by humans, dogs and other predators, till NGO's stepped in, and today, Velas is one of the cleanest villages in the area, where the locals now have a great livelihood, catering to tourists that arrive in hordes, during the turtle hatching season.

Unlike most touristy places, there are rules you follow here. Local customs and standards are respected, you ensure that trash goes into trashcans, the only places to stay are home stays, where locals offer simple home style food and living arrangements. No hotels, no bars, and no bhelwallas on the beach.

This has opened up many avenues of earning for the locals, who still also continue their original work. One such lady, a weaver of leaf baskets,  clicked by Deepak Amembal, who recently went , along with 2 friends, on a Motorcycle trip to Velas.

Mother Earth,
in Velas,
leading you down

well trodden proven paths,
inviting you,
to jump into
the wish basket ,
and watch the world go by;
the tree mangoes
the berries,
the kokams
and the fish,
as the waves lap slowly
on the beach.

The Mausi Earth
in Mumbai,
loaded with
baskets of concrete,
that you jump into,
heaves under
destructed paths,
invisible trees,
and junk studded waves,
throwing up
on the beach.

Two daughters
of the same old Grandma Nature,
who shakes her head
looks up at the Sahyadris
and asks,
"Hey asa kasa jhala ?...." *****

***** Marathi for "How did this happen ?"


  1. Loved the Grandma Nature reference, Suranga! Indeed 'Hey asa ka jhala?'