Two Plaques

By Devdatt P. Dubhashi

Between 1882 and 1883, Rabindranath Tagore visited Karwar.. He was a tender 22 years of age. A plaque stands at the head of the seashore commemorating his visit. It bears the following words from his book My Reminiscences written on his return to Kolkotta:

Its crescent shaped beach throws out its arms to the shoreless open sea like the very image of an eagle striving to embrace the infinite.

Up on the beach stands another plaque: “Cascade Fountain, Inaugurated 1996”. The cascade showers no water. Its surface is shabby and peeling away. It stands in the middle of what was intended to be a park. Ringing the fountain are crumbling benches. The visitor sits on these with his back to the sea beholding the miraculous cascade fountain. The plaque proudly announces: money spent Rs. 2 lakh.

It grows dark. A man is spraying water on the sand – soft golden sand now turned into a shapeless brown slush.

Why are you doing this?”

Saheb ordered sand to be firmed up.”

An official government board explains: this is part of a 2 crore seashore development scheme.

The stars twinkle over Deoghad. At least they will escape the development scheme.