Whenever one hears that I had spent eight straight days at St. Martin Island in the Bay of Bengal, most quizzically ask, "What did you do for so many days?"
"Nothing" I reply, always. "Absolutely nothing."
Well that was the purpose of the whole visit to the island anyway. To just relax, enjoy the breeze that moves a hammock twined between two coconut trees, sipping water from green coconuts, and going through the menu, ordering barbequed fresh sea food for dinner.
This would be my third visit to the island, but the first with my wife. She has learned to appreciate the lazy side of me that always takes her to scenic places, that brings out the photographer in her. But she does have some chaos and sounds in her bucket list. Always!
So, to strike a balance we had cut a deal. The days were for relaxing and in the evening, we headed towards the jetty, which is north of where we were stationed, the southernmost tip of the island, just a minute's walk, when the tides subside, from the famed 'chchera dwip.'
On the evening of the second day, we ventured into the main bazaar of St Martin's, the hub of the remote island. This serves as a stark contrast to the serenity of the setting we got accustomed to in the last two days, but it certainly added spark to the St Martin's experience.
At the bazaar, we met chefs frying fish for you. Here, you will hear valiant sagas of how the island came into existence; how men enchanted genies, and how the unseen creatures were subdued into making the patch of land far away from mainland.
Returning to the resort in the evening is an experience in itself. The whole place is lit with kerosene lamps creating an ambiance right out of a novel on buccaneers. Sitting on the chairs on the sandy courtyard, with no sounds other than that of waves crashing on the rocky beach nearby, we relaxed, and like it had become a bad habit, sipped on coconut water.
The nights end early at the resort, dining provisions being over by 10 PM. This is when you can truly experience the soul of the island; the sound of the waves, the starry night, and if you are the truly adventurous sort, forgo the comforts of the resort and camp right there on the beach, at one with nature's wonders.
St. Martin's is quite unique, in more ways than one. To many, this remains the only place in our country where you go to recharge and purify your tired soul. To others, it would seem that the charm may have faded with the passage of time. The only way to truly find out if the place resonates with you is to actually experience it yourself, because peace is what one makes out of a situation after all, and St. Martin offers that opportunity aplenty.
Photo courtesy: Karnafuly Ship Builders Limited