Sorry, but the title is a bit misleading for us city folk. We think of night life as decking ourselves up; driving through the weekend traffic and heading out to a dingy room with discourteous barkeepers and waiters and dancing through smoke and sweat; seeing some shiny disco balls and perhaps getting felt up as the highlight of the night!
But @ Kaup; its always something else. This is one of the more famous beaches close to udupi/manipal on the south western coast of India (state of Karnataka). For decades, students from manipal colleges have been visiting this beach for freaking and having some open air fun. And I must admit I have been no exception.
Kaup (pronounced ka-pu); is a clean stretch with no tourist nonsense (until the time I was there), couple of shops which keep the usual eatables and drinkables (toddy from close by village is a must!) for the student population. And oh I forgot to mention the beautiful scenic lighthouse which exists (now over 100 years old!). The lighthouse is a sight to see at night (not too tall, but the perfect structure for the place).. the single light pouring through darkness; a beam cutting into the night (so it always seems to me). It also divides the beach into almost two equal halves. The best thing is, that you can climb it up with a ticket till evening to see the awesome view 360 degrees abound. There is the mighty blue ocean on one side, and the endless green on the other. Its a beautiful sight to see from the elevation! (I have had the good fortune of seeing the rain clouds approaching and almost blowing me off the lighthouse, its extremely soul quenching!)
Well, I will tell you about the very first time I went to kaup with my friends (I guess they were- Alap, Sandeep Patel, Roop, Joy, Arvind Patravali). We took a bus from udupi and within half and hour reached to the town kaup, from there its a 20 odd minute walk into the village area. We cut through just in time while keeping our sights on the beautiful sunset, This was our first time, and we did not know our exact bearings.. and took casual time to explore the countryside (it was the first time for all of us looking at the real clean beautiful Indian countryside).
By the time we could hear waves close by, it had become dark and fast. The night was clear (and no moon in sight), and LO! within a period of minutes the entire scenery became dimly illuminated- No; not from any artificial lamp/light or the moon. It were the STARS! above us, around us. enveloping us.. I had never had the pleasure of seeing such a skyline of space ever before (and I have seen clear skies outside cities).
This was one of the very rare instances which I got to see (this being the very first) the beautiful akasha ganga- our own galaxy- milky way! It was too much, we all could see the thick necklace- the beautiful band of stars which formed the part of our own galaxy! We all must have heard about it, cause we concluded it to be this, but wow; I cant remember anything as precious ever which my eyes had witnessed. I remember all of us walking looking up and not in front to the beautiful empty virgin beach (most students retreat this place too by evening- especially couples lol). We spent umpteen time over there, idling and gazing at the stars- jewels adorning the neck of the infinite sky and space. It was imprinted in my brain. It was something which I could never forget (being the city bum that I am).
The place is magical in its own right; for at kaup (and many other places in and around manipal itself)- where there were at that time no neon lights to spoil the night sky- were the perfect sights to lay down on the grass or sand, look up without any concentration to see the most and i do mean MOST amount of varied colourful and out of the world (literally) shooting stars/meteors. It is truly a sight to see, almost every other second a brilliant streak through the night sky… and all through the night! I tell you, I have never been so bored of making magical wishes one after the other!
The roaring beaches at night, the beautiful un matched pristine night sky with stars and starlight, the shooting stars interspersed between these eternal twinkles of the night and you feel thoroughly blessed to be a part of nature; Yea this is when a decently smart person can understand (like I did), that to be part of nature is this life’s work enough; I don’t have to go and be gung-ho and change nothing, Everything is perfect the way it is! The way it should and must be.