Friday, June 17, 2011

Goa trance~~

This time I start writing much in time… when the sand of Goan beaches is still in my clothes… and the cool breeze in my mind.

                Goa! Arguably the most popular tourist destination in India. I mean Who hasn’t been there? Well… I hadn’t! And this was shamefully my first time there. Usually I run away from any touristy setups. But I knew Goa would be different. The vibrance of the place was placed in a perfect proportion with the tranquilly. How often do you get to see that? 
                In some bizarre dramatic ways, all my plans leading to Goa over the past several years failed without exceptions. All of them!  But the most impulsive, unplanned plan worked with perfection. May be that’s the only way to experience this land… On impulse.

The journey began with some college kids chirping in the bus all night, not sparing a minute of sleep to anyone.   The book I had gotten along remained in my hand unread while my mind kept wondering into nothingness. The timing of this particular trip was crucial. When I am on the verge of a transition. When I am supposed to make decisions in terms of my work, moving cities and a general prioritization in life. All this without any tangible thread to hold it all together. I assumed Goa would be a way to desaturate. And indeed it was!
The rikshaw ride from Mapusa to Baga reminded me of a bizarre blend of Pondicherry and Kokan. The Marathi speaking driver, palm trees and a general small town vibe was pleasantly surprising. We reached the hotel in time and unpacked. The sea visible from the terrace was inviting with a crooked finger pointed at us. After quickly having breakfast, we ventured out and got hold of a bike rental guy. Our desperate attempts to bargain failed miserably and we finally gave into his 200 Rs. Per day rate with a shattered confidence.
The sun was beaming right in our faces. All the opposition we faced for deciding to visit goa in the month of May made a lot of sense. But fortunately that didn’t stop us. Oodles of sunscreen later,  the sea looked equally stunning.
Ok! I accept my obsession for maps and making lists! I have picked it up along the past few years but now I am hooked! There is no letting go of it. The only option is to accept it with a happy smile. As I opened my orange diary and the shiny map, ideas were umpteen. We decided to visit few places and do full justice to it. Really be in that place and try to remember the smells, feel the wind and soak the essence as much as we can. And trust me, it was indeed that poetic! 
                I remember sitting next to my friend in the Basilica of Bom Jesus church for two hours. Saying almost nothing to each other, just astound by the magnitude of that structure. Each person walking in with a distinct drive. The stillness I felt was so effortless and easy that I could physically see it. The history of that place in words is of course fascinating but the vibe that time has left behind made so much more sense to me.
The best part about having a ride with two wheels is you can feel the salty breeze in your hair (even if it screws it up), smell the grass and hear the noises. Travelling can never be just visually pleasing. Never!  We drove around all day taking turns anywhere the heart wished, passing palm trees, pretty houses, colourful markets, humongous churches and so much more… It was like a flip book.  The vibe differed with every fraction.  And like halting at a random page, we would wind up at a place, clueless yet extremely happy!
                Evenings were spent on the beach. There can be no two way about it.  Sitting on one of those beach chairs with a relaxed sense and an uncurled mind. Simply looking at the sun diving into the sea as the darkness seeps in. Only to be followed by the twinkling manmade lights everywhere which for some reason always gives me a sense of wellbeing. Novelty is certainly not a virtue of this experience. It’s beautiful because it’s basic and real! The forts, the roads, throwing everything from rocks to random things you can find around at the mango tree till something falls down. (Hopefully a mango), the tiny lanes, the smelly sea, the warm smiles, the overpriced markets, the cheap stuff, the sinners, the saints it all comes together as if diligently choreographed to let you experience pure bliss.
There are certain journeys that present you with experiences that are non dramatic, non life changing yet so subtly stirring and exceptionally gentle to catch in words~ this was one of those times. The only thing bad about Goa is that almost always comes a day when you need to pack you stuff and start your journey back home.


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