Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Goa Diaries - II

A big sorry to y'all folks for such an inordinate delay in returning with the Goa diaries. I've been really caught up, and am probably going to remain so for some time to come. But hey! Good news is that I've finally got a laptop and a decent Internet connection at my present location, so I now have the liberty to write whenever I like, from wherever I am. That's something to be upbeat about, now, isn't it?

Anyhow, coming back to the reason why I'm here today...ooh. Goa! I just sort of light up every time I think of that place and the visit that was. It's a lovely getaway from the sad, monotonous life we lead in the metro cities - away from ourselves, away from mother nature. It almost reminds me of Marx's theory of Alienation. But let's not get carried away.

The period from December to February is considered the best time to be in Goa, which is corroborated by the endless bucket loads of 'fun in the sun/frolicking on the beach' pictures that have been sprouting left, right and center on my Facebook newsfeed lately. Jeez, people! I was there too last month, and I had real fun. But my profile isn't overflowing with endless pictures of me in flowing skirts and beach hats, is it? Seriously, what's all that brouhaha about?

Nevertheless, continuing from where I left off in the previous post...

We touched down on a couple of beaches, Anjuna and Calangute to be precise, while on our way back from Aguada. It was the same everywhere - huge parties of scantily clad tourists taking sunbaths, locals strolling on the sands, youngsters going gaga over water scooters and paragliders - I was personally not too big on any of those.

The classic name-on-the-sands picture that I heard is mandatory to be taken if you're in Goa. Check.

Okay so that's one of my pics-on-the-beach. Let's for a second forget my previous tirade against them.

Here's another. Sorry, couldn't help. My blog, my say! :D

Coco-palm love!

Interestingly, I learnt from a local coconut seller that the luscious coconuts with the water and sweet kernel that are a favorite all around Goa aren't actually homegrown but brought in from Kerala. Clearly taken aback, I asked what use the native Goan coconuts were put to, only to be told that they were used as dry coconuts for cooking, making oil and other products. In fact coconut milk, coconut fiber, the leaves and even trunk of the palm are all put to good use by the natives in thatching homes, making canoes, hats, decorative material and baskets, and many more such products for domestic and commercial use. Above all, the world-renowned Goan liquor Feni (or Fenny), sold exclusively in Goa, is brewed from coconuts. Another variant is brewed from cashews too. It is inexpensive, exquisitely aromatic and ahem...quite potent.

Can't say for sure if that's Calangute or Anjuna Beach. Certainly one of the two - both were equally happening and crowded.
We didn't stay on any of these beaches for long, so that by the time the sun was beginning its downward journey, we had reached the point where the Santa Monica stood, waiting to take us on its much famed Sunset Cruise down Mandovi river.

The cruise on Mandovi river atop which we spent an evening beholding some Goan culture (and lots of drunken debauchery).

It would be a one hour cultural extravaganza, they said. There would be good food, they said. It'll be superb fun, they said. If only I had a penny for every broken promise, I'd have completed much of this trip for free. Sadly, in the name of culture, there were these 4 dancers who appeared onstage every 15 minutes, in a different costume every time, each more shabbily donned than the previous. They put up for us what were supposedly three of Goa's native dances. To me it looked nothing like dancing. It was more like they had been forced onto stage and told to move any way they liked. It was pretty disappointing. However, during the short breaks in which the dancers changed costume, the seemingly invisible emcee called random groups from amongst the audience onto the floor to shake a leg. It was almost hilarious, watching people put their funniest moves on display.


In the name of food, there was overpriced bhel and alcohol being sold by one of the most uptight and rude men I ever saw on the other side of a food stall. Even to ask for an extra plastic fork or a colder beverage made him furious. Needless to say, we went hungry. The lowest level on the boat was fashioned as a disco, but was overpopulated with drunk guys and couples oblivious to the world. The ordeal thankfully ended in less than an hour.



And thus our second day in Goa ended with us sitting on the porch of the guest house sipping coffee. Exhausted but cheerful. The beauty of Goa and the calmness of the sea seem to almost seep into your pores, making you contemplative and serene. Nothing is bothersome enough to distract you from the sheer beauty of nature anymore. Seriously, if you haven't been to Goa yet, it is never too late my friends. Take the plunge.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the retreating Delhi winters and the vibrant colors of spring. The gardeners around here are doing a wonderful job of keeping the campus beaming with the brightest of blooms. Life's beautiful, if not any less stressful.

Until I write again, ciao folks!
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