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Winging it “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” - Martin Buber, Philosopher

Night market

INDIA | Friday, 25 January 2008 | Views [1629]

Fortune teller - Chennai Marina Beach

Fortune teller - Chennai Marina Beach

The marina at Chennai is THE place for locals to go in the evening. During the day, the scorching expanse of sands are suitable only for fishermen, clothes drying in the sun and perhaps the most hardy beach goers. In the evening, the place comes alive. Stalls line the promenade and stretch the 800m to the beach along the boardwalk before turning and continuing along the shore line. Bodies mill and pool against stalls draped with strands of cowrie shells, or filled with plastic toys or marinating fish before breaking free to rejoin the flow. Families clasp hands to prevent losing each other, young men strut tall, making whistling noises to attract the eye of tourists and occasionally young couples allow their fingers to link as they shift towards the water. In the midst of this, a man lies prostrate in the sand, legs shortened to stumps, arms frozen by his side terminating in gnarled claw like fingers. His progress is painfully slow, moving only by the contraction of his body. He pushes a tin bowl in front of him with his chin, we wash past while we reach for the coins we all have stashed in our pockets.

At the waterside, the cooling water refreshes polite ankles and there is a distinct change in the feeling of all nearby. Now is very much the time for relaxing and finding relief from the heat and noise of the day. As dusk is smothered by darkness, lights appear at evenly spaced intervals on the beach back towards the road. At one hissing gas lantern, an elderly bearded man sits with a bird in a small cage and a handful of stones on a woven red mat. Another light bathes the face of a saffron sari-clad woman with carved cowrie shells and stumpy sticks. She indicates that she reads palms and I am disappointed that my lack of knowledge of the language prevents me from sitting with her and having my fortune told.

I wonder what she would say?

Tags: markets

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