When I was going to college in Madras, we avoided Marina Beach ("second longest beach in the world") because it was a notorious tourist trap. Instead, we preferred to go to the beach in Besant Nagar in the evenings or to one of the small towns on the road to Mahabalipuram if we wanted to swim.
But the kids wanted to go to the beach, and my parents thought of Marina Beach first. "Elliots Beach?," my father asked sceptically when I suggested an alternative, and so it was to Marina Beach that we went.
The place had a carnival atmosphere as ever, with horses, carousels and all the works. But the vendors who used to simply pick a spot on the beach and do business had now become more permanent. Most had stalls. A couple of bicycle vendors, though, brought back memories.
The visiting crowds were also not very different from what I remembered. It was mostly villagers visiting the big city for the first time. So, they gravitated to the familiar. The three lads in the picture below are sitting around a fortune teller soothsaying with his parrot. And the little girl in her daddy's arms has a string of jasmine flowers in her hair.