“If you push my car towards the Pune-Mumbai expressway, it would reach Kashid !” I would say to my friends often. I have been a very regular visitor to Kashid beach, ever since I discovered it somewhere in September 2011. Blue water and light color sand(not exactly white) amidst lush green forest, high and playful waves, nice shacks all over the beach, tasty local food, changing rooms nearby and many people playing all over the beach, what more one could want? I have been there over 10 times since and each time, I enjoyed the beach. I have been there with my family, friends and almost anybody I could find, and every time the fun is guaranteed.
Kashid beach has great waves. Strong waves up to 5-6 feet is common in 3-4 feet deep water. Unlike most of the beaches, like beaches in Goa, Kashid beaches always feel much safe to swim in. I would often play for many hours in the waves. It always felt like the best place to unwind and relax. There are great lodging arrangements near the beach. It was great to watch television and sleep in a nice bed after the fun in sea.
I was expecting the same level of joy and fun when I went there day before yesterday. All was as planned. I called up my favourite resort there in Kashid and booked a room for the night. After leaving, on the halfway, I called the resort again and asked them to prepare fish fry for us. The road after the bridge at Nagaon was unusually quiet and deserted. Given that it was a Saturday night, I expected a lot many vehicles there on the road. Those last 15 kilo meters of the journey was somewhat uncomfortable. Not too late at night, yet the roads were deserted. I did not gave it much of a thought, and went on driving. We reached the resort at about 9:30, had food and slept.
The morning was usual. We got up and geared for the fun in the sea. The beach had some people already enjoying the waves. We too started to have a bath in the sea. Not too deep in the shore, I felt that the water currents were strong. My friend also told me that she feels the waves to be stronger this time. I went a little deeper in the shore and I felt a sudden depth in the seabed. I immediately came forward and told about the depth to people near me. It was not very comfortable for us to play. I could hardly swim even on the shore. I could feel that something was not right. I continued to play but was very cautious. I warned 2-3 people also to be careful and that there is a deep spot there. After some time a man on the shore started shouting to come out of water as its low tide and water is pulling. He was shouting repeatedly. Then a few minutes later another man started to shout. So, we moved out of water. Suddenly a strong wave came and pulled us. I do not know what happened, but water level rose and we could not move forward. I realized that I am being pulled backward. My feet were slipping and water was now as high as my chin. I lifted my friend in front of me as she was short in height and it was overhead water for her. We were being pulled into the sea. It is scary to even recall it. I thought I would throw her forward and then I would push myself out. I could see the beach a few meters from me but I could not move towards it. Then a wave pushed me forward a few feet and now I was on my feet and I could push myself. Some people in the water saw us and they helped us out. After we came out we find 2 dead fish lying on the beach and a local man brought a dead snake out of water and threw on the sand!
I did not like the beach as much now and wanted to go home. So, we went to hotel room and had lunch.
A few hours later we head home. The beach is on the way back from the hotel, so we stayed there to have a cup of tea. My friend suddenly exclaimed “why is everyone out of water?”
She was right. There were a lot people on the beach, but everyone was out of water!
We heard a few people talking beside us “we saw his hand there and then he was gone.” Someone said “he was drunk.” Then I went to them and asked “did something happen here?”
The man was shocked to see me asking. He wanted to conceal the matter. That is why he was whispering. The man along with 2-3 other people suddenly went away without answering my question.
Then I went to tea shop and asked. She said “a man drowned in the sea some time ago. He was 24 years or so. He is from near Panvel”
I felt a chill in my spine. I realized that the water pull that I felt an hour ago killed someone. The fear crept in me, and I felt that it could have been us as well. The man was missing and body was not yet recovered, but police came and the search of the body was going on. My friend said “dead fish, dead snake.. was the sea trying to indicate something?” Very thoughtful of her. Maybe, the sea was trying to tell something that we could not understand ! I noticed that shopkeepers of the shacks and tea-stalls were all too casual to the incident. It seemed that they are quite used to such accidents. They were trying to cover up the matter. They might have felt that no one will come to Kashid if they know that someone has died on the beach !
We head home with a heavy heart and bitter memory of what happened there. On the way back, I knew that Kashid was never going to be the same again. I would probably never go there again. My heart feels heavy to realize that my paradise on earth, Kashid is lost forever in my memory.
When I reached home, I searched online about deaths on the Kashid beach, and to my surprise, some of the articles online call it Killer-Beach. Many people have died there in past. Kashid is notorious for its sudden tidal waves that has killed many. Online article says that there were 4 lifeguards deployed on the beach, but till date I have not seen any lifeguard there. There is no warning board about the tidal waved of the beach. The local stall owners try to conceal the matter, but they do not realize that it is the life of people they are risking. People will always come to Kashid to see its beauty. They will always take a dip in its pristine waters, and the business of local stall owners will always prosper, however if the locals, specially the stall owners warn people of the risks in the water, many innocent lives could be saved. Putting self interest above everything else is human nature, but losing compassion for our fellow men makes us a lot less of a human.