When Camels followed Che Guevara to Malpe beach

Homeland Diptych 02

When I saw Che Guevara( or Jesus?) at Malpe, I also saw the ship of the desert. – A Diptych from my ongoing project, “Homeland”

Things change rapidly. And we adopt what most people seem to be doing. Would all places in the world eventually look the same?

Malpe beach. May, 2012

A tourist with a shirt having the image of Che Guevara… or Che Jesus? Unclear.

Camel, originally the ship of the desert, is pressed to the service of giving joy rides to many tourists on this coastline. Some of its cousins are also engaged in the same service at Kaup beach some miles away. If not for the lighthouse at Kaup beach, it would be hard to distinguish between the two beaches. I also see some horses. But, the camel is an outright winner when it comes to popularity and demand among the visitors.

She said, “This looks like Juhu beach.”


I also see Speed Boats, Water Bikes, Banana Boats and lot of water-sport activities.

She said, “This also looks like Goa.”


” So, what’s different here?”

“The Charmuri! This is not the same as your Mumbai Bhel Puri. It is different!”

A beach in Udupi, Sometime during the 90s decade

Tiny groups of visitors composed of mainly the locals & people who are visiting their hometown on a short vacation.

No camels. Just the Ice Candy sellers & Charmuri vendors. A beach with life & sights that are different from that of Juhu or Baga beach.


Tourism gives livelihood to many people. In a rapidly changing world, there are constant innovations in the tourism sector to cater to the needs and entertainment of tourists. Some are real big money-makers. Who wouldn’t want to emulate the “best practices” everywhere? Every entrepreneur worth the salt will want to have either a sustainable or a growing business.

How I wish that there were no side-effects to this success story. In keeping up with the demand, sometimes the very character of a place is lost. Isn’t the character at the core of the very identity of any place? Is the trade-off worth it? Is there a way for growth without spoiling or changing the character of a place?

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts about it.

This post is part of the project, “My Homeland“. I have created a Facebook page for this project to connect & collaborate with people for this project on Social media. Do like the page “MyHomeland.Project” and stay updated on the project.

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Nishant Ratnakar
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