As the nesting season begins, the beach between Podampeta village in Ganjam district of Odisha, India, and the Bay of Bengal gets thickly dotted with thousands of olive ridley marine turtles. Female sea turtles visit the beach en masse for the annual nesting activity called arribada, which is a synchronised, large-scale nesting of sea turtles on any single beach.
Uncertain till about three years ago about her career and the kind of life she was destined to lead, Rulina Begum, now 21, from Mankachar village of South Salmara Mankachar district in Assam, now works as a sales promoter with a multinational mobile handset company. Based in Guwahati, she earns over Rs 12,000 a month and supports the family that lives in the village, while taking care of her own.
The southern coast of Odisha, with the small port town of Gopalpur at its centre, seems to have become a favoured destination for tropical cyclones occurring in the months of October-November in the Bay of Bengal. This year, coastal districts of Odisha and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on the east coast around Gopalpur faced two intense tropical cyclones — Daye in September and Titli in October.