It’s the crack of dawn.
Goubert Avenue and the fabled French Quarters of Pondicherry still hide behind a veil of shadows deep in their slumber.
I look at my watch.
Not long before the seductress of night shall silently slip away. The twinkling stars, fatigued from having stood guard all night, shall retire. And the first vestiges of light shall shine through the shroud of darkness.
I rest atop a boulder.
Staring listlessly at the infinite expanse of the Bay of Bengal.
Listening to the soothing lullaby of waves. As they lash the rocks.
Punctuated by the raucous shrill of odd early-riser gulls.
And then he appears.
A vermilion orb arising from the depths of the ageless Bay.
An invisible surreal painter gets to work, furiously splashing crimsons, scarlets and vermilions on the canvas of the heavens with gay abandon.
Enraptured by the theatrics of the infant sun. And the fast-morphing silhouettes. As Light smothers the Dark.
Beside me, mischievous crabs chase themselves silly on the wet sands. Disappearing into their pin-hole burrows, only to reappear moments later.
Garrulous sandpipers wait patiently for that opportune moment before swooping down on an unsuspecting crab.
The games of survival.
The first signs of life begin to appear on Goubert Avenue.
The odd early morning jogger.
A solitary yoga aficionado.
The newspaper boy cycling in anger to the hub. To pick up the morning dailies.
A drift of young fishermen. An indistinct chatter. The odour of cheap smoke. And that faint whiff of country liquor. Bastille Day celebrations last evening, I chuckle.
And then I see Him.
A solitary fisherman sitting on the pier.
A gnarled face. Lined with creases.
A bare sun-speckled you-can-count-the-ribs chest.
A cigarette aglow in his right hand.
Olive green shorts.
A pair of threadbare sandals, well past their prime, the left one held in place by an enterprising rubber band.
A creel by his side.
I watch his adept fingers fix a bait to the rusted hook of his worn fishing rod. And with a swift thrust of his arm, hurl it into the sea.
Take a deep puff off his cigarette.
If I were Hemingway, I ruminate, He would have been my muse.
I glance at my watch. And panic.
A close friends aunt has offered to teach me some Pondi delicacies and I don’t want to be late for my appointment.
More on my Pondi culinary adventures later.
I cross the road, walk over to a quaint cafe for a delectable coffee, croissant and crepes breakfast.
That’s when the inspiration of a crepe cake hits me, a French inspired Mille Feuille Mango Crepe Cake. With a divine Alphonso Mango and Cream Cheese filling.
Healthy yet finger-licking delicious !!!
Try my Mango Crepe Cake before the mango season runs out !! Enjoy !!