Driving through the dingy night-roads of Ratnagiri might not have been the best decision we’ve ever made. In hindsight, a bit of planning and foresight wouldn’t have hurt. But, adrenaline is known to trump common sense in most cases. We were no exception.
During the day, Ratnagiri is a sunny paradise with pristine white-sand beaches, groves of mango trees and vibrant temples. However, at night, as the small hamlets in the district drift off to sleep, the chilly air sends shivers down the spine.
We entered the town of Ganpatipule at around 04:00 AM. Scarcely lit, the narrow roads would take us to the other end of the town, to our beachside abode. Horror-centric banter is a dominant trait of such road trips, especially one with friends. As we continue picking at our designated scapegoat, almost abruptly, the car stops. The laughter ceases.
A few meters ahead, the spectral outline of a woman is clearly visible through the dark. Unperturbed, the woman glides along the road towards us. Her features – silver hair, a wrinkled white saari and even crinklier skin – have already scared us into silence. As we wait with bated breath, she takes a detour into the community loo, and peals of laughter follow.
Before you call us scaredy-cats, let me tell you, no one expects an old woman from a small village to attend nature’s call at half past four in the night!
Moving on, nervously joking about the creepy apparition, we realize that we have strayed off the route. The omnipresent grassy fields did not help in navigation. As we try to find our way, the keeper of the house-keys declares that they are missing. Faced with no other choice, we reluctantly get out of the safety of the car and trudge along the path. Flanked by dense vegetation on either side, we remain soft targets for lurking animals, or maybe an occasional apparition (considering the current trend).
Squinting for a hint of silver in the darkness, we move along the trees and stumble upon an astonishing sight. Countless fireflies blink through the rows of trees in a synchronized fashion. Accustomed to the blinding glare of the city, the delicate twinkle of the fireflies soothes and literally takes my breath away (Remember Owl City’s “Fireflies”?). And you know what? I wouldn’t trade this sight, or this night, for the world!
Be Well 🙂
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