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Scandal Point

Short story By: Juggernaut
Memoir



Scandal Point beach acquired its infamous name for its remote location and sightings of single men and women during odd hours. Unlike the other beaches in town close to the build-up areas that provided the dual purpose of public latrine in the morning hours and recreation in the evening, Scandal Point beach with its fine sandy beach and calm waters was far away from town attracted only those who owned private vehicles and others desperately in need of privacy, lovers away from their home. The nearby town was a fishing village with only fishermen and poor people lived in thatched huts built on Badlands on the oceanfront.


Submitted:Aug 4, 2009    Reads: 426    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Scandal Point

Subba Rao

Scandal Point beach acquired its infamous name for its remote location and sightings of single men and women during odd hours. Unlike the other beaches in town close to the build-up areas that provided the dual purpose of public latrine in the morning hours and recreation in the evening, Scandal Point beach with its fine sandy beach and calm waters was far away from town attracted only those who owned private vehicles and others desperately in need of privacy, lovers away from their home. The nearby town was a fishing village with only fishermen and poor people lived in thatched huts built on Badlands on the oceanfront.

In contrast to the Badlands in South Dakota, the Badlands at Scandal Point beach were made up of reddish peaks and valleys of lateritic soils that were created over million years ago from severe weathering of plateau rich in minerals. Tall palm trees and thatched huts interrupted the topography of the badlands.

As a youngster, Juggernaut visited Scandal Point beach on many occasions; his father took driving lessons at the Scandal Point in "Hillman," an old British auto make. The road separating the beach and the badlands was narrow but safe since there was hardly any traffic then. While Juggernaut with his older sister and brother sat in the back, the driving instructor in front gave the directions to his father how to simultaneously press the clutch and shift the gear to drive slowly on the narrow beachfront road. Though Juggernaut's father was good in arts and science, he was not good in handling mechanical equipment or driving vehicles. He couldn't change the gears in a timely fashion and the car jumped forward in short intervals as if it suffered from hiccups. He held the steering wheel with an iron grip like a stunt driver and drove only in one direction, towards the pavement. The car would either hit the pavement or telephone poles on the ocean side as if there was some natural affinity towards the ocean. One day, he steered the car right into a telephone pole that brought the car to a sudden violent stop. Sitting at the rear, the children ended up with bumps on their foreheads from the sudden impact. That was the last time Juggernaut's father took any driving lesson. He declared that he was not born to be a driver. Since then, the driving instructor became the permanent driver.

Huge boulders and rock formations in shallow waters reduced the strong currents and high waves reaching the shoreline at Scandal Point beach, making it a calm and safe beach.

Watching movies was perhaps the only pastime for many Indians and movie theaters were always packed with patrons. Minerva, a movie theater was on Scandal Point beach front. During the intermission at Minerva, the vast beachfront served the purpose of latrine for the patrons. After several years of operation, Minerva was closed for good not due to lack of patronage or public toilets but because the movie projector and other equipment broke down from severe rusting as a result of salty wind currents from the ocean. The big signboard "Minerva" on the front of the theater was never dismantled and left to rust like a shipwreck in shallow waters. The theater owner later started a salt distribution business and used the theater as warehouse to store salt bags.

At home, Juggernaut's father kept domestic animals, beyond dogs and cats; parrots, peacocks, guinea fowls, turkeys, water and land turtles, rabbits, guinea pigs and pigeons of all kinds and colors. The backyard was like a petting zoo. One of the reasons Juggernaut was allowed to visit Scandal Point beach with the driver was to collect small succulent plants that grew on the beach. The rabbits were fed with these plants along with beans soaked in water. Uprooting the plants with shallow roots growing on sand was easy. While Juggernaut's father was happy for the bag full of succulent plants brought home for the rabbits, his mother wanted black fine sand accumulated in some areas on the beach. Juggernaut using his palm carefully scrapped the top layer of black sand to collect in a paper bag. On weekends, his mother used the black fine sand to polish sterling silverware. Years later, during a college course, he understood that the black fine sand generally washed out from the weathering of lava rock that somehow accumulates as a fine layer on some beaches during certain time of the year. Though Juggernaut's father could not learn driving at beachfront road, the succulent plants and black sand supplies were good reason to visit Scandal Point beach often.

Over four decades, Scandal point beach and Badlands have changed forever. None of the current local cab drivers or rickshaw pullers could relate to or identify the name Scandal Point. Juggernaut identified the location of the Scandal Point beach and badlands after traveling up and down along the coastline for some time. The city grew beyond the Scandal Point and the areas aroundbadlands wasnot remote any more. The badlands were gone, now replaced by high-rise pricey sea-side apartment buildings. The Minervatheater was gone, now replaced by a park (no toilet facilities). The Scandal Point beach was officially named after a politician whose name was synonymous with scandals through out his political career. At last, few decades later, the original name "Scandal Point" was justified with a human touch albeit - a name known for scandals.





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