The last time I visited Goa was as a ten year old girl, whose memory of Goa was limited to spending time at beaches with family et al. I particularly remember wearing a burgundy summer dress and splashing about at the sea shore, giggling with my sister about something and playing a prank on a relative.
After precisely xyz years (yeah…this is a deliberate attempt of concealing my age), I got the chance to visit India’s smallest and happening state once again!
And…O boy, what joy!!
Reaching Goa was a daunting task in itself what with the Cauvery issue playing spoil sport between T&K. Since tickets of P and me were booked in advance, there was little we could do in terms of changing travel plans.
Our initial itinerary was to take an overnight bus to Bangalore, head straight to the airport the next morning and to fly to Goa. But alas, the Great Cauvery Controversy happened and we were forced to think about other alternatives just to reach Namma Bengaluru.
And the only other option left was to take a train from Coimbatore to Bangalore. I have always disliked the route from Ooty to Coimbatore; this road has the nerve to actually make me feel unnerving, leaving me with queasiness and a strong sensation of nausea.
The irony of life is that what you fear has an uncanny way of confronting you on the face..like woosh *facepalm*(Self-fulfilling prophesy anyone?). I can say with confidence that I have almost got accustomed to it and yet it doesn’t fail to leave me dumbfounded. Every.single.time.
Anyhow, on reaching the Coimbatore railway station, we came to know that our train was delayed by two hours or so. P and I used this time to eat some rolls that were made by Ma while chattering away, oblivious that someone was actually listening to our conversation. A passive listener who was keenly listening to our jokes and comments until P remarked something about the Trump-Hillary presidential run and she emerged suddenly and exclaimed, ‘Yes, the US elections will be having an impact on the entire world and if Trump does get elected, then jobs in India will be hit severely as well.’
P and me looked at each other. For a moment, we were taken aback and yet amused by this silent intruder to our conversation. She was a Mallu lady (Disclaimer: No offense to Mallus..I absolutely love them) who felt it was her right to express her point of view even if that meant speaking to complete strangers and giving her expert gyan. P and me struggled to squash our chuckles while trying to give her a serious look, pretending to listen while she rattled on and on for the next few minutes until it was almost time for the train to arrive.
The next morning the train reached Bangalore at around 7:30 am. I was finally in Bangalore (yaaay) and it felt like an accomplishment travelling from Tamilnadu, almost like how it feels when you can touch your nose by the tip of your tongue after several unsuccessful attempts.
On reaching B’lore, we made our way towards a friend’s house (one of P’s close friends to be more precise) to freshen up before we could make our way to the airport.
This is the view taken from S&J’s house.
It is heart warming to see how people who you hardly know can make you feel at home. As if this was not enough, breakfast was waiting for us at their table with S’s mother waiting for us so that we could eat together.
S’s mother was a strong lady who knew how to take care of herself even at the fragile age of 85. She felt thrilled sharing her perception of the world with us and I was delighted to just listen to her.
Ah…The things one can learn when we just step out!
The air in Goa was filled with anticipation and thrill simply because we were in Goa..who wouldn’t be excited?
Goa: where the seas and the skies gaze at each other
I must say that Travel does strange things to me. There is something magical about getting pushed out of the monotonous routine and to step out of one’s comfort zones; to throw yourself willingly at random, new situations and discover facets of yourself that you never even knew existed, or those that were hidden somewhere in the deep, dark walls of your soul.
On reaching Goa, we checked into a hotel where we were treated as VIP guests and given a warm welcome again thanks to P’s contacts (So this is what a slice of royalty feels like?). We had come to Goa to attend a workshop (Yes..I can see you rolling your eyes) but primarily chose Goa for the refreshing getaway that we so desperately needed.
We had an entire free day to ourselves before the workshop began.
The plan was to visit to the usual touristy places that day although the highlight of that trip was the insights I got from Antony- our cab driver. He was a blabbermouth waiting to open his mouth if only passengers in his cab would venture to strike a conversation with him. Obviously, we were the daring type!
It was interesting to view Goa from the raw perspective of a localite who was straightforward in his approach and yet didn’t fail to make us laugh with his wit and humour. Antony was impressive what with having a view about everything under the sun: Be it the economy of Goa or the contrast between North and South Goa; the scope of job opportunities in Goa or the best type of fish to eat; the casino of Goa which he referred to as the ‘Money laundering machine’ or even random things like his experiences of being a driver in Ooty several years ago where he almost met with an accident and then decided to flee to Goa!!
Besides this, he also took on the role of a guide as we visited the conventional, historical places of Goa.
Fort Aguada: remembered fondly as the place where the 3 buoys of ‘Dil Chahata Hai’ sat and introspected about Life with a capital L!
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Basilica of Bom Jesus
The Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa
The Mangueshi Temple: Apparently Lata Mangeshkar
derived her surname from here.
Dolphin spotting in Goa: We spotted everything apart from the Dolphins!! 😉
Do you see a black blob beyond the anchor? It was not a usual boat or a ship which left P curious and she innocently pointed her finger at it and asked our boat buoy, ‘Woh kya hai?’
To which came the prompt reply, ‘Woh anchor hai!’
She looked at him bewildered for a brief moment and nodded her head slightly until realization struck her and there were peals of laughter.
From the sophisticated luxuries of the resort, we made our way toward Anjuna in North Goa where arrangements for our accommodation were already made close to the area of the workshop.
As we entered the room, memories of my PG days in Bangalore flashed in my mind and I looked at P and gave her a grin. She smiled back and rolled her eyes. We had landed from the lap of magnificence to a mediocre room that claimed to be ‘a luxury hotel.’
The view from the balcony
Sunil was the caretaker of this place who had sharp, green eyes that reminded me of a cunning cat everytime I looked at him. He was the usual Goan chap who spent a lot of time daydreaming while he was sitting at the ‘reception’ area. If he was not there, then he was at some beach party at Anjuna that didn’t require entry fee. (Hint: These were rave parties..cos there’s nothing like a free lunch…ha ha).
With his flowery shirts and causal demeanour, he represented some of the traits of the typical Goan people: the extremely laid back life, gold chain on the neck with a combination of wearing shorts and bathroom slippers, driving at 20 kms per hour, and the oh-so-famous Goan accent: this one cannot be missed neither ignored! It screams for attention and even the minimalistic observer cannot overlook the Goan accent.
The road that leads to the ‘luxury’ room
The workshop began with the usual round of introductions and us being at our best behaviour considering it was our first day. I have always cherished being a student-student (if you know what I mean) and sitting on the other side as a student felt exhilarating! Some things of student life hardly change, like the fact that I used to never like sitting in the front of a class back then and I made sure that I was sitting in the back row through the five days of this workshop as well.
There is a sharp contrast in the dynamics of any group with the behaviour of a group on the first day and the rest of the days. Nevertheless, there were some enthu cutlets in this group who made sure that we had our share of entertainment from day 1 itself.
What I absolutely loved about this trip was that there was no fixed agenda of what needed to be done each evening once we were done for the day in terms of the workshop. Random ideas used to be discussed in detail, with each participant expressing their plans and attempting to convince the rest to join them..ofcourse, not all would agree and there would be a chaos of sorts which I had begun to look forward to.
P and me being very accommodating used to be open to all ideas (we are very cooperative like that.. 😉 ) and it did land us in a lot of last minute plans which eventually led to having some of the most bizarre, wonderful and unusual experiences.
Few participants of the workshop
At the workshop with my huge mug of coffee ❤
Selfie time with the drama queens
Random plans on random evenings
Captured in front of the shacks at Baga beach area
Selfie in front of the statue of Titos at the famous Titos Lane, Goa
The entire bunch of mad people at the workshop
Finally, let’s talk about food before I end my blog!
I was absolutely thrilled to try out something new in terms of sea food (which was in my long pending bucket list). So, when in Goa, isn’t it the perfect place to try some seafood?
I tried squids (Calamari) and shrimps and was ecstatic on trying something new. I later realised that I was allergic to them as few red, itchy sores made their way on my arms. Never mind: it was worth every sore! 😉
Also, fried ice cream which was divine!
Have you ever thought about how your behaviour tends to change when you are in a place where no one recognises you? It’s liberating, captivating and cathartic. And I guess, this is what the true meaning of a getaway is: to actually get away from the usual routine of life, and the sea of familiar faces, places and counselling cases!!
And as I attempt to come back to my normal life, the skin allergy and the itching sensation make sure that I invariably end up thinking about Goa all over again! 🙂