Look just past that trio of people on the beach, and you will make out some people kneeling before the shore. A group of people are sat around a body wrapped in a white cloth, with just a pair of lifeless feet uncovered.
We had walked down to the beach for a couple of beers, but instead of watching the sunset, those around the body joined hands, lighting candles. I laughed awkwardly, hoping the large hole to the right of us (pictured) wasn’t to be the grave.
As if the scenario wasn’t strange enough, an Indian man appeared on his knees, swinging a golden necklace right out in front of me like a pendulum. I didn’t even get chance to blink before he wrote in the sand, ‘100’. He wanted 100 rupees for it.
I shook my head and told him to go away, freaked out by his sudden appearance and action in my face. Frantically, he wrote 50 – and having seen his desperation, I gave in – exchanging 50 rupees for an old golden chain with a pendant hanging from it. I put it in my satchel and forgot about it, wishing i had given him more from the look on his face. He ran off.
Despite a dead body on the beach, every one reacted as though they were just watching the tide come in. We were in Aarambol, traditionally a fisherman village which was largely inhabited by a ‘new age’ hippie community.
The hippies made it apparent they didn’t want to socialize, not having acknowledged us at all in the few days we had spent staying in a beach shack there. It was because of this atmosphere, we hadn’t gone round asking what had happened, despite our curiosity.
As the sun set, we could barely make out the figure, and as the tide continued to draw in we understood the body would be swept out to sea. Confused we hadn’t seen any type of authority we wondered if the ‘man’ had even been identified, if ‘his’ family even knew or if ‘he’ would just be regarded as a mysterious disappearance. I still don’t know the answers to these questions.
The next day, we got talking to some french backpackers. Supposedly, three local fishermen had gone out to sea in their boat drunk, and a few hours later their bodies had washed up on different beaches. This was the only version of the story that we heard.
It wasn’t for a couple of weeks that i found the golden necklace, zipped inside a pocket in my satchel. The chain was fairly thick but old, a brassy yellowing color. The weight of it passed as real, unlike the pendent which was very much fake. The circular pendent had a Hindu marking on it, which could imply it belonged to a local.
Now that i think back to the man who madly sold me this necklace, i wonder if i had mistaken his desperation as poverty instead of fear. Was he a thief, and could this necklace have belonged to the fisherman? Thinking back to his actions, it seemed more likely that it had been stolen. 50 rupees was less than a penny, why was he so reluctant to recieve so little so urgently?
Again more unanswered questions and speculation, but i still have the necklace. A bad omen perhaps, a reminder of the mystery..
Should i keep it, or drop it in the ocean?