On a rainy afternoon, the Goa station greeted us with a gloomy overcast sky and our fellow passengers seemed to ask the same question as we were asking ourselves, “Is this a good idea?” The green blanket enveloping the hills near Mumbai now seemed a much better idea than what the go goa chant sounded in our heads while planning this trip. Monsoons in Goa maybe wasn’t such a great idea.
Twenty minutes on the road our driver, Sanjay turns back and asks us, “Do you want to see a bull fight?” Of all the conversation starters taught us, this would have been out of syllabus. Thankfully our trip went uphill from that point on. The lush rice paddy fields lined up on either side of the road, the quaint old colourful Portuguese homes each with a unique story, the misty air which now seemed romantic and the vibrant and warm people we met throughout the trip all had an important part in making this special.
We never got to see the prize bull “Ravi” emerge winner from his bout despite Sanjay’s insistence. The timely intervention of the Goa police put an end to that thankfully. We did however get to go Kayaking in Goa’s own backwaters, another closely guarded secret. Be it “landing” on the nearest embankment when tired and plopping down besides each other while the misty air settled around us and then suddenly start laughing when the silence becomes too much, it was most satisfying. Even if you’re not like us kayaking with a slight drizzle to give you company can be most relaxing. If you’re the more sombre kinds, you can maybe go temple hopping in Goa. If you’re in for a fun evening, Karaoke at St Anthony’s bar would be our first recommendation. One minute we were apprehensive about the rowdy crowd and the next moment we were singing along with them to tunes and words completely alien to us. No amount of food or alcohol can replicate that unadulterated joy of singing and dancing with a group of complete strangers.
The memories of walking hand in hand down the secluded beaches with the ocean spray blowing on our faces or climbing up to the frontal view of the spectacular Dudhsagar falls in its full might apart, we took back two things from our trip. Firstly the shame of not being able to jump fully clothed (or not) into a village well to retrieve (and drink) the bottles of fenny as is the custom for the Sao Joao festival and secondly the taste of freshly baked breads we bought from a cycle toting breadman. The setting reminded us so much of a sleepy villages in an Enid Blyton novel that we’re inclined to believe that maybe the stories of our childhood were indeed of Goa.