That’s The Beach. Or as its more officially known, Marina Beach. Although there are other contenders for the title of The Beach, Marina beats all of them by a mile. Although Elliot’s Beach, and the private ones littering the East Coast each have their own USPs, there is something about the uique mix of factors in Marina that none of the others can hope to emulate.
First is its geographical extent. 12 kilometres from one end to the other. That would probably make it the longest urban beach on the third rock from the sun.
Next is its location. Having Fort St. George at one end, there isn’t one politician of note this beach hasn’t seen or heard. They even had a stand of sorts erected to hold political meetings on the beach!! Thankfully, that was razed overnight by another politician. Its sort of ideally located, with bus services from just about anywhere and an MRTS line running parallel to the beach.
Then there’s the patronage. Everybody has something they like at the beach. Once the ideal family beach, with the removal of the stalls from the sand and the corresponding reduction in illumination, its been seeing a steady rise in the number of lovesick couples. Families still visit the place but they tend to stick close to the lights. Lovers used to come here even before the stalls disappeared, but the prospect of running into ones parents and siblings at the beach when you’re supposed to be in class or something deterred the majority of them. It provides an inexpensive evening out for the perennially broke and a home for the homeless loitering near the beach. It’s a place where dogs come to walk their masters and meet their friends and bark about the freedom of the strays. It’s a place where the old come to remember what it was like when they were young and a place where the young come and hope it doesn’t change when they get old. Its all that and a lot more.
But the most important factor that makes it The Beach is the intangible one. Character. I know it sounds weird. A beach having character and all. But visit it and the other beaches around Madras and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
PS: That dopey looking chap staring off into the distance in a nostalgic sort of way is my is my brother, another lover of The Beach.
More pictures here.
More pictures here.