Sunday, June 1, 2014

Goa

I do not like Goa or rather I should say I never liked Goa before. I felt the same about Dubai before I went in December. May be it is a good idea to go to places one does not have a good feel about. Its a joy to come back pleasantly surprised. The feelings change and so does the place. Goa reminds me of drugs, booze and a generally decadent lifestyle of the tourists. Rather, I do not like the people who love Goa. Mumbaites run to Goa at every long weekend they get. Lots of Bollywood actors are travelling for every possible break they manage. Had a powerful star wife on the flight. Poor thing came to use the washrooms at the Goa airport. She did not even stop to wash her hands lest she get mobbed.

Was never fascinated with Goa in spite of being in Bombay for so many years. We took a trip in the summer after our wedding and realised Goa was not our cup of tea. Well, who drinks tea when in Goa? We were mighty disappointed. Lot of work trips followed for both of us. I have spent many a rainy day, sitting in the meetings in the five star comfort. The blinds did not allow the nature to peep into the conference room, in case we got tempted to walk in the rains. The people I worked with were wonderful and really took care of the pregnant me, during those long meetings. Special glasses of milk and french fries to keep my hunger pangs at bay. Loved eating the thick Goan rice for dinner with yellow dal. But watching the incessant evening rain from my hotel room balcony and waiting for the swimming pool lights to go off, did not seem the best way to spend the lonely evenings.

This time, we went to Goa for R and R. The new buzz word for Rest and relaxation. It means there is no sightseeing on the agenda, no stepping out of the hotel, no exploring the quaint beaches and definitely no visit to any flea market any day of the week. Never taken such a holiday but being at an old huge property did not hurt. I had lot of time to stare at the coconut trees, watch the waves break, look at the stars from my hammock. I thought I will make this the stock taking exercise of my life. May be look at where I fumbled and where I tripped. Go into the 'Whys' of life and rip myself apart. I wanted to deconstruct my life. Make it simple and make a new start. This was all on my agenda of this holiday. Did not want to do any heavy stuff, so no number crunching. Just easy philosophical kind  of look at my life. The type most of my friends post on Facebook with a picture of a sunrise, beach and flowers with a holy positive message.

It started with should we do the walk on the beach or the swim in the pool. I would stare at the sky and forget my agenda. The mind started drifting and not inwards but towards other people . Whether at the restaurants or the poolside, I started doing an analysis of social behaviour. People came for breakfast in all kinds of nightwear like batik nighties to Chinese silk animal print figure hugging night suits. The men were in colour co ordinated sleeveless vests and track pants with matching red piping on navy blue . Jockey the undergarments brand which is now also into night wear , was sure doing brisk business. All girls and women were in new rubber slippers, the price tags were not removed in some. Neons and fluorescents were the 'in' thing to wear in clothes, swim wear and slippers. Next time I need to carry black sunglasses to protect my eyes.

Parents wanted their kids to eat the world as all meals were included in the package. It was puky to watch small obese children gobbling eight sausages along with a full breakfast. The kids did not mince words while ordering the ever polite staff and made sure they were on their toes every minute. Our new hep Indian parents screaming in English and some actually asked me if I was from Delhi. They did not say 'North India' as it would have sounded a bit rude in the fine environments. We speak in Hindi was the reason for this. Aggressive Mommies are my pet peeves. They made their children and the waiters run for their extra helpings and sun screen tubes. Lot of wastage on the dinner plates and no one cared. When will we teach our children the value of good health and not wasting food or water? These parents who had paid for the hotel were definitely not interested.


I was sitting on a high ground and judging the guests. I was feeling bad at this rich social behaviour. People were not looking at staff as human beings but machines which serve. I do not mean all guests. But the only thing gentle in that place was the breeze. No gentleness in the guests interaction with others. The eighteen nineteen year old children were sweet. I don't know how much money their parents must have given them. Most could not swim but were in the pool in their bikinis with a bottle of beer. These kids had come to party hard and expose their bodies. This is India and there are certain acceptable norms for every country or place we visit. The boys at least wanted to play games. One day all the boys had worn those loose Goa pants and were playing on the beach. The girls were in the skimpiest shorts and cleavage baring clothes. Their focus was dressing up and clicking pics to post on Facebook. Vanity at its best.

I started making a list of all the mistakes I should not make as a parent. I also made some 'to do' list when I reach home. I did not untangle my life. I let all this human behaviour pass by me. It affected me and then I let it pass. Learnt that from the sea which kept throwing the tar balls out on the sands. I was not going to tell people how to talk or what to wear, which is appropriate in my mind's eye. 'Daffodils' taught me what it meant by the mind's eyes. The big pet dogs of Vijay Mallya were being taken for their evening run on the beach. The discreet private exit  to the beach from his Thai style villa was fascinating like the wild parties he is said to be hosting there. All this was so removed from my world. The fishing season was going to stop from first June and most cafes and water sports activities were coming to a halt to. Goa was getting ready to untangle, de-stress and experience some major Rest and Relaxation before gearing up for the onslaught of wild parties. The newspapers and the citizens of Goa were talking about parting with its wild partying ways. Children did wake me up from my siesta, to stand up when the National Anthem was being played before Namo's swearing in.





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