Looking back at my early travel plans that often had me escaping to places alone with a topography that would interest me has me reminiscing those now, hazy memories of freedom and responsibility. The perks of studying outside had its rewards when it came to doing things by yourself, especially if you were raised by a protective and extra strict set of parents. The past was history and the future was to be conquered, and in between these mighty tests of time I had today for myself, to be savoured with a glass of wine and the best of Carpenter’s playing on the background.
And there the idea of going out somewhere by myself, witnessing new places, trying new cuisines, meeting new people, understanding and being open to the art and ethnics of those places and your shock absorbent tendencies are a group of persuasive gentlemen who can coax you into these stances.
Hence without a second thought, I knew I was heading somewhere, somewhere I have been but not explored. Packed my bag and caught the next bus for Vadodara, a good two hours to reach and the next feasible transit at that hour. I had to board a train at 9 in the night from the Vadodara central station which would then take me directly to Thivim, Goa.
Spontaneity is a sport at most times, but it has its set of drawbacks like an unreserved seat. And would that deter my spirits sitting right next to the toilets of these train compartments- No. I sat there absorbing a lot of things like a tired young labourer who pulled out a scrap of paper and called it day, while an anxious passenger ignored his presence and climbed over him to board the train. Lessons on humanity and the various shades of people was a entertainment for the rest of the journey with commercials of the scenic beaches I longed to hit.
Thivim ….Mapusa …..
The journey just extended itself due to uncalled for delays, but as it was the last bit of it the plains had slid to give way to valleys and tunnels. Breathtaking as it could get, the train stopped at Thivim as if it knew how impatient I was getting with every passing second. As I was walking on a strict budget, I preferred to take a bus instead of a private auto which was no less a taxi by the looks of it. The bus was packed with passengers rattling in Konkani while a Hindi playlist filled the background. I was headed to Mapusa on the thin, green stretches of the city which was a different day in my diary as compared to buildings and traffic jams on your way to wherever.
The next transit was a free cab pick-up service from the hotel I was going to be put up for the next 3 days. Having checked in, I left my bag at the room and rented a Dio for 200 bucks a day and left on a joyride. I stopped to fill fuel and it struck me then that I was in a Union territory where everything costs less than your city counterparts. Hungry from the journey and minimalistic eating options like vadapav had me choose the sea food cravings inside. I spotted a striking red painted restaurant on the way to Anjuna beach as it had north-eastern attributes to its interiors creating a contrast and definitely standing out in the stream of other local eateries.
Ordered myself prawn noodles and a delicate crab meat preparation complemented by an available port wine. I had a little of Goa inside me now and accelerated to feast on some more. Headed to a beach where I locked my slippers in the dickey to soak my senses completely into the offerings of the Arabian. It was dark and raining when I left for the hotel, got a bottle of rum and cuddled up inside a candle lit room to room service.
The next morning was bright, sunny hiding the weak moments from last night. The breeze, atmosphere, greenery and a distant sound of waves revitalize your energy levels, leaving me hungry and excited to begin the day. I ventured out and found a small breakfast shop which served only banana shakes and sweet bun. A combination, now settled in my taste buds, and will haunt me at breakfast for the rest of my life. The next on the list was going to a different beach and do the same, play with the marvels of nature.
This particular beach had a major ‘Firang’ invasion and different set of beach activities from the first one which featured local Indian tourists. Here the energy and mood was vibrant and free and found a company in a great swimmer. She swam right past the waves and was afloat in the calm wilderness as ached to get there with poor abilities of a duck.
The day had almost ended, leaving me drained and tired so I headed to the shack right behind for a beer and pepper buttered prawns. As I ate my supper dreamily, the sun drowned in my glass of water. Lit a smoke and I walked out browsing shops of handicrafts and accessories with a hint on bargaining. As I rode back I came across graffiti on walls and abandoned shop shutters of musicians, characters from movies and other popular elements of this era.
The next day I had a train for Vadodara after lunch so I woke up early to go to the beach and found a middle aged vendor who pushed a trolley around serving prawns. I went up to him and ordered a plate to which he realized I was new to the place and the gastronomic experience he was about to give me. So taking lead he dipped the creamy nugget in a sauce and gave it to me in a toothpick. I tasted it and was blown out of proportion; he neutralized my taste bud with a pinch of salt and repeated the process with a different sauce.
Satisfied with the entire idea of coming down to this beautiful place I went back to the hotel packed some lunch and took a cab to the close by station. The journey was still on but the place was going to be different, a nostalgic traveller at hear I chugged out of this scenic exuberance.