Our picnic to Baliharchandi in Std 6 was a special one for me, for more than one reason. Firstly, I had missed the picnic to Konark in Std 5. Secondly, this was my first picnic out of Bhubaneswar (where otherwise till Std 4, our two fixed destinations used to be Nandankanan & the Museum). The walk from the bus to beach was a kind of revelation. The air suddenly turned cool and the tall trees around gave the impression of darkness during the day. As we walked along, we came across a dilapidated building that seemed like an old temple. As we crossed the courtyard of the building I saw a tall ‘thing’ kept slantingly against the wall. It was strategically placed in a corner, aloof, as if to attract the attention of off beat wanderers like me. The lower part was broad and the upper part was narrow and kind of pointed, resembling a tooth. Meanwhile the over enthusiastic DMS class gang marched ahead towards the ‘jhaun baana’ (casuarina forest). But I took a pause, gave a thorough look and concluded that it was a “Whale’s tooth”.
All sorts of stories of how the tooth landed there were rushing into my mind. But who put it there? Who brought it? After several attempts to answer myself, I gave up and went to play with my friends. Fast forward to the future… Me in Kerala among the wilderness, overtly enthusiastic about an elephant ride which stood beside a wall patiently waiting for its passengers.The mossy wall was very similar to the one etched into my memory from that Baliharchandi picnic trip. And what do I see there, ‘a Whale’s tooth????’ This time I examined it more carefully. My husband came from behind and asked, ’what are you looking at?’ It’s a dried coconut branch. It has many uses. I nodded agreeably pretending to know more than what he wanted to say…. After all I was in Std 6 🙂