For the uninitiated, an early morning sojourn to Marina Beach in Chennai would be a gentle way to capture its magnificence; and as a photographer I prefer to indulge in the sensory overload that the Marina offers. Despite having shot here about twenty times, it never ceases to inspire me – and I come back with a camera full of interesting moments.
On some days I head to the beach just before the crack of dawn. The myriad hues of daybreak, the dance of the first golden rays against the waters, they are all a photographers dream come true.
When the sun peeks into the horizon, as if on cue, clusters of fishermen emerge that makes an enthralling sight. They function like clockwork and there are no wasted movements. They load the boats with bundled nets, set up the motor, and take position to launch the boat seaward. Before long, the motor shudders to life, the vessel is afloat and the last of the fishermen jumps on board lithely. As they become specks against the Eastern horizon, I wish for them a bountiful haul and a safe return home.
In contrast, the beachfront is abuzz with activity. There are couples walking, young athletes warming up and senior citizens practising sun salutations.
A clutch of kids whiz past in skating gear. There are fisher boys playing cricket on the beach. Further down, a group of pugilist’s fine tune their reflexes and a bunch of break dancers practice head stands. I amble along, my camera hungrily capturing the sights.
On other days, I head out in the evenings, to soak in the carnival atmosphere that sets in. There are makeshift carousels for children, horseback rides and my favourite – shooting at a board full of balloons. On occasions, I try my hand, fail miserably and remind myself that pictures are what I shoot best.
I don’t know if it’s the walk on the beach or the tantalising aroma of roasted corn wafting in the air, but it whets my appetite. There’s a choice between tangy Sundal, fresh roasted groundnuts and piping hot chilli bajjis. All three are more or less rites of passage to the Marina beach, to be washed down with a cup of hot chai.
Text & Photos By Sriraam Kalingarayar