It was a big dark stone like thing. The diameter must have been more that two feet. The sea-waves had brought it to the shore. It rested on the sandy beach, moving occasionally when the waves hit it and splashed over it. Soon, everyone in the vicinity was drawn by this huge stone. It of course wasn’t a stone or how else could it be floating?
Men surrounded it. Children got hyper-excited. You could listen to the sound of excitement in the otherwise dark and calm and windy beach. It was a huge dead tortoise. It’s shell was as hard as rock. In fact it was difficult to make out any difference between a regular rock and the animal’s shell, if you were blindfolded and asked to knock on the two surfaces.
Everyone who had a camera with a flash, was bringing it to good use. Everyone who had a camera but not a flash, was trying to click some shots too, I guess for the sheer lack of anything better to do. The animal was being treated like a celebrity, with everyone dying to get a picture of himself/herself with the sea-creature (read the irony here). Suddenly during the photo-shoots, as the waves would come rushing and hit the hard body of the tortoise, and it would move almost as if it were alive, everyone would run away for a second because even a slight movement was scary. Soon, when the waves would retreat and the body would go still again, the drama would ensue.
The frenzy died in sometime. The interest was lost. All went back to what they had been doing before the waves had offered the shelled animal. The waves took the body back with them only to throw it off at some other point in the beach, only to offer it as an object of admiration and fun to another bunch of folks, who all this while, sitting some distance away, had missed their share of excitement.
PS: I was at Marina Beach day before yesterday, spending a late evening with my parents.