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We make a quick visit to Gopalpur-On -Sea in the Ganjam District, south of the state of Orissa. Arriving by sleeper train from Kolkata, I wake to realise the temperature has vastly increased and peel off the layers of clothing needed in the North.

We are back in this faded ex British seaside resort after at least 20 years. Gopalpur was a place we spent many months in whilst working with a local folk troupe specialising in the Prahlad Natak.

We pass through the main road, and notice the deterioration of the shops and the streets, littered with rubbish. It feels sad, and throughout the day we bump into people who remember us, and tell of men who have died since we’ve been gone.

However, as soon as we get to the end of the road and check into The Mermaid Hotel, we can feel the life and soul of Gopalpur – the sea, and the working beach. The beach, which stretches infinitely in either direction, is home to a large and healthy fishing community.

Nothings changed here for as long as I’ve been visiting.

The landscape comes alive with with the brightly decorated wooden fishing boats constantly coming in and going out to reap the catch. It is a 24/7 occupation for all members of the community. Plenty of fish to catch, then nets to haul in, baskets to fill and money to be made.

Whilst then women take the fish to market, the men continue, sitting in the sun in the afternoons, making and repairing their intricately woven nets.

As the sun goes down, and the little fish are left out to dry, prayers and offerings are made to the gods to bless the next day.

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