This long forgotten post is what I started off writing & editing when I was just a newbie in the world of travel detailing and relatively a fresher in terms of writing about anything with a happy vibe all along. Though I have been thinking of penning my experience of this Place which has a vibe of its own, I have struggled for the past 3 years at finally concluding this piece. Now with a fresh visit 7 days back, it is only logical that I finally kill the hiatus and let go of the most useless roadblock hissing our generation: quest for perfection.
3 years later, I figure it doesn’t really matter what I write and how imperfect the piece is. Unless I’m not letting go the best of my feelings to the rust of the memory maze, the written record will justify itself. What better start can I pick up than attempting a description of the township which is capable of bringing out both the devil and philosopher in any individual out and around to visit? – Goa
Till the time I finally managed to land on Goan sand the last Saturday afternoon in December 2016, I used to claim my morning in Mandarmani (one of the beaches in West Bengal) as the best one in my quarter life on earth. But this was just the beginning of revision of many ‘bests’ in my life. The best morning, afternoon, night and evening ever can hardly begin to describe the pleasure my soul was soaked in for merely 60 hours and yet, it felt like a lifetime back then. I’m yet to decipher what is about this place which locks every traveller into its mesmerising charm: the countless photographs, the cheap liquor, picturesque beaches or just the very consciousness of being there?
Well now that I have made my love for this charming largely Portuguese vibe settlement clear, let’s see how the latest trip of mine herein panned out .Well , I would have really loved to complete my version of Goa 1.0 and Goa 2.0. But the very cognizance of the fact that these 3 different versions will bore any living soul to sleep in this Twiterrati driven- world, I am back to the non-whimsical reality.
So this trip begins with a rude nudge by me but a largely positive acknowledgement by Mr. ‘usually cynical’. As a result of a mutually-agreed upon pact, for the first time I did the heavy-lifting (if you can call it so: P) in terms of deciding the stay location, travel and well largely places to visit. The third part of the to-do list being the easiest because of the clear familiar-elimination method: D
Since North goa in standard-best and oven-hot- sunny had been explored, it was time to try out the rustic charm of south goa and Monsoons that all of these travel stories popularised by Insta- wave keep talking about.
The obvious next step was planning of stay which was made much easier by the usual place & site of choice: Air BnB. We chose a place at Colva thinking that it will be a good mix of old and new, also commercial & laid-back as Colva is relatively crowded when compared to the otherwise silent- south of Goa. The booking for August 10-13 was done a month prior along with the return via flight and travel to by road just a week prior to the journey. We were all set. Well, at least we thought so back then.
Weather gods were playing all kind of devil with large parts of Maharashtra and Goa submerged in water. In fact if I heard correctly, apart from one bridge collapse in Goa and closing of Goa- Mumbai highway, Floods’ alert was issued in first week of August. That one plan which was earlier a reminder of a fun and calm filled vacation suddenly turned awry & troublesome. Needless to say, we cancelled out bus trip and relied out TO travel mode on that one mode & booking model that keeps almost 50% of our 1.3 trillion population so anxious & full of excitement at some point of time- Tatkal Train.
After a race with time (well I’m just making it seem a little too dramatic, I agree: P), we finally sorted the travel mode issue. But whoever said ‘all troubles can vanish by relaxing & thinking about all good things in life’ probably missed adding ‘after you tackle them all’ part in there. So yes, the warnings never receded and Mr. cynical was especially sceptical because:
A) I had been insisting heavily from day 1, hence it was MY plan
B) I had made the bookings and
C) How can your wife ever be right in any left-brained decision?
But I wasn’t one to take that scepticism as any sort of hindrance and convinced him with the fact that we had spent a considerable amount in booking of stay and flight back so we better use the time-off anyways.So with the very phrase: ‘Screw it all’ playing loud in our head we finally made into Goa on 10thAugust and got down at Margao at around 2 pm (2 hours late, which wasn’t too off, considering the disruption which had brought Goa to a standstill)
Colva was an easy 10-15 minute ride from the station. After settling into the BnB and getting basic stuff & our travel within goa (the famous bike ride) was sorted back at the place, we finally realised how hunger pangs were nearly killing us. It was 4 pm and Cadbury shots – emergency food was all we had had to eat so far. This and the fact that half the food places were closed due to off-season reasons , searching for best of food wasn’t an option and we took the tried & tested route by riding up to a Udupi restaurant right across the Colva beach .
Upon reaching, we realised it was the exact same place where we had our lunch on day of departure from Goa during Goa 1.0. The very recall inspired some not so infrequent ponderings about life having changed so much in 3 years & a quick skip-through of our Goa’s old memory-book. Food was great just like our mood after that. After all it Ghee roasted Masala dosa( with dollops of ghee , oil whatever) and Aloo paratha at the table that inspired our lunch menu.
While we were indulging the sinfully tasty food, Rain started playing all its cards to deter us from any trip to beaches. While we skipped Colva and kept it for the very end , we also made sure we give no heed to whatever these breezy heavy rains were trying to tell us. The Mumbaikar – inspired life brought our raincoats into play and we were confident of making a quick trip to the Cavelossim beach.
Of course, we forgot how Mumbai rains also characterised by heavy traffic and not so heavy swaying air currents. It was the exact opposite here in Goa- the roads were scantily covered with 1/ 2 people in a range of 6 km ( as if laughing at our poor choice of visit timing) and the heavy downpour compounded with heavy air currents made it impossible to ride the 2-wheeler. After a few stops on the way , lots of detours and some misguided beach route pointing of fingers for the beach, we finally made it the nearest possible beach by virtue of all factors listed earlier- Varca( not cavelossim :P)
Needless to say beach in rains is not such a great idea. Also the only thing which would have made it worthwhile (the photographs) also wasn’t working very well with the camera tainted by transparent cover. Spending some 15 odd minutes walking along the shore of the rough sea in our capes (raincoats: P), we realised it would be wise to head back while there still some daylight. Around 6 pm we headed back and did manage to make it back in 30 odd minutes. The day ended with some BnB experience and a flicker of hope of having some good travel the next day.
Thankfully, the rains receded and for the next 12 hours, apart from a light drizzle now and then, it was largely dry. Hence, when we finally set sail for the journey around 11 the next day, it was a bright and sunny day.
The Goan land had transformed itself overnight showing us what it is known for – suntan, bike rides and magnificent beaches. We travelled for around 1.5 hours and finally reached Agonda beach. This largely felt like a private beach given the off-season showing its effects but the vast shoreline and our madman – the sea gave us enough smiling stills.
Since there were no shops/ shacks/ restaurants open around, we decided to travel further off to Cabo de Rama- our unfulfilled wish from the Goa 2.0. On our last trip, lazing around made us miss the sunset at this beauty. Another 30-45 minutes ride transported us to Cabo De Rama fort while the sun was still shining bright. The beauty of the sea from the small peep holes herein was larger than life and made it all seem worth it. A light drizzle made a light scare but sun came out mightily in a few minutes.
We then moved to the tableland right above the Cabo De Rama beach and had a quick recap of how last time we had a heart full of regret at reach here in the pitch of the dark.
Once the regrets were washed out by the happiness of living this moment, the very considerate sun nudged us to travel back while it was still holding the torch for us. So much so that it also gave the tan and sun burn which Goa promises all its travellers. Though sunburn in monsoon must be a rarity: P
We made our way back around 3:30-4 pm and again the quest of some good food and had it end only 1.25 hours later in Margao . After some dilly-dallying here and there, we were back to our great BnB at around 6:30-7 pm and had a perfect lazy end to the day. With a quick note from my Arnav( my brother), we decided the next day was to be dedicated to North goa to have some civilisation & chatter( if not noise ) felt in the largely silent Goa monsoons.
The next morning we woke up with a resolve: one of keeping our spirits untainted and backs straight: P while travelling to the north side of Goa on our largely supportive Activa. If you have been reading this so far, you know there were disruptions (of course: P). The heavy rains on the way made the 2 hours and 50 km seem like a lifetime but we managed okay.
Around 2.30 pm, we were at the predestined destination- Purple Martini at the rocky side of Anjuna. The final left towards the restaurant was almost a trip down the memory lane as we traced the Goan dhaba where we had had our lunch during Goa 1.0 visit to Anjuna . The final spotting of Purple martini & the interiors immediately made us wild with shock on having missed something so extraordinary on our previous visits. Although it was a toned down version of the restro-bar cum sunset point, it was only a bit short of magic. The location stands out just the same as the view of the sea from here. Due to heavy rains, it was clad with translucent covers but we were told and saw in some pictures how on a typical sunny Goan day, it would also have sunbathing beds out in open with sea making waves beneath.
This day however, we saw a rough powerful sea at the bay. It was almost as if it was reaching for newer heights and the roaring sounds made the view worthwhile. Though we couldn’t stay back for the sunset moment as riding in dark and rains could have compounded matters. And we certainly didn’t want our last day of vacation to throw out any new surprises. Tracing back our steps to south goa (our abode), we had a blueberry cheesecake from Cotinga café ( another gem we found in our Goa 2.0 visit) and made it back in time & daylight.
Having had enough to eat, we just wanted to end the day with Maggi and that’s exactly what we did.
Now that it was around 10 pm (already late night as we had an early flight back home), it was time for quick review of how Goa 3.0 had fared against the other 2 versions. We realised how this one trip had been all about just one word: Revisiting. Revisiting the memories we made along the way, the calm we keep losing in the din of everyday life, the places we had traced through with different people in different phases of our life and lastly about revisiting what really matters in life above all. The very next day with an uneventful airport drop-off by one of the BnB neighbours we entered the airport and waited another 2 hours for the flight to take off. During the waiting time, it almost felt like going back to the loud sea waves calming us all this while. But then the duty calls came in and we were back to usual reality in another 2 hours.
I’m not saying this trip changed us over the course of 3 days or did anything drastically magical to us. But I guess I want to believe the very quote which says you don’t return back the same person after a trip, might have some truth in it.
For instance, Cabo de Rama’s grand view will probably be an integral part of my outlook when I talk to you next or maybe the view of rocky Anjuna from the windy sunset point will change the way I look at the worli seaface now on. And well, in the end a little perspective is all that matters J