Monday, April 30, 2012

Girl on bike! Girl on bike!

Goa. For many, this simple three-letter word conjures up visions of sun, surf and sand. For desi boys and videshi girls, Goa is the place to be. Where booze flows cheap, countless shacks serve lip-smacking fare and where many a 16 year old (or even younger) lose their virginity. Paradise lost? Not quite.

I've never quite understood the fascination most have for Goa. Then again, I'm unlike most. I don't really guzzle beer after beer, i'm not a beach bunny or a water sports fan and I can't spend countless hours lying on the beach doing nothing. I've been to Goa only thrice in all these years. My third trip was over the Easter weekend this year, and this after 5 years! Almost exactly to the date. This Goa trip was a long-pending one that a friend had promised to arrange for years. Finally it happened and I can't honestly say I was too excited. We were a motley bunch. Me, my friend. Another friend I'd only just met. My friend's friend. Her cousins. I didn't know them all. Put me in a room with random strangers and I'm happy to sit in a corner and nurse my drink. But here I was on a Goan holiday with a flight full of strangers... well, almost.

My Goan holiday began on a bad note to say the least. My flight was rescheduled to 30 minutes earlier at the international terminal from the domestic one. Which meant, there I was at 5 am, cranky, irritable, sleepy and mad at Indian Airlines (or is it Air India) for being such a miserable excuse for a carrier. As always, I was early, so 20 minutes later and well on time I was at the international airport for my flight. But was the Maharaja on time? No sir! A good 45 mins later, we finally took off and about an hour later I was in Goa. Hot, muggy Goa at 7 am. What was I doing here? My friend who'd also flown out the same morning on another flight was patiently waiting for me and we were on our way to Baga's Villa Goesa.

The ride from the airport to Baga is a pleasant one as you pass through lush green farmlands and palm-lined roads. Goa's Mandovi river flows along, lazily as do her people. Where else in India can you find such a fun-loving lot?

Over the next two days, Goa was everything it promised to be. Lazy mornings of sleeping in late, well after 12 noon and late nights of partying at the regular jaunts from Curlies and Mambo's to a few others whose names I don't remember. My friend who is from Goa knew it all, he'd been there done that a countless times and I was happy to go with the flow. We rented scooties and rode all over. I remember that first night where we rode in the darkness of the night to Curlies. All we had were the backlights of the bike / car in front of us to guide us. There was a revelry in the air I couldn't quite understand. But then, this was Goa. Paradise. For some. The next we crossed the Mandovi and headed to Panaji where 'Vinanti' awaited. That food paradise where we gorged on Goan food like no other - from plates of masala prawns and fish stuffed crabs, glasses of chandy (remember that?), pints of King's and prawns biryani. We ate like kings, we drank (well, some of us) like fish and we made merry like there was no tomorrow.

But little did I know that Goa would be so much more for me. Five years later, the memories were as fresh as ever. The Church of Dom Jesus, Dona Paula,  those very streets of old Goa. They all told a tale. And there I was. For me, Goa was once again everything it shouldn't have been and then some more. I couldn't quite get the Baga traffic at 11 pm on a weekend. Who were all these people?! Why were they here? And those rash Bombay (or Delhi) brats in their big cars. But I was there too... the highlight for me, of course, was riding pillion behind my friend, a girl. And the sheer look of shock (on her face) and amused surprise on the faces of all those stuck in traffic at 11 pm on Baga road as I yelled, "Make way, make way. Girl on bike! Girl on bike!"


Sanjay said...

Dats it .... i would count that as an introductory note to our mind blasting trip .... where's de 1000 pager book !

Creatively Crap said...

next time go sleeper class