India’s Goa: From Cheap Shacks to Stunning Beaches

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If I had to ever write a story about us, it would need to necessarily contain silly sweet things. Stories about being picked up 5 minutes apart on a rickety blue coloured school bus for 8 whole years. Endless,mindless games that we played within it, sitting at the last seats.

Fights about the window seats. Stories about boys we could never meet and headaches that one never knew of.

Stories about  planning birthday parties and ‘giveaways’. About insecurities and achievements. About plans and perusals. About escapades and enchantment. Stories about what we can and what we shouldn’t. Mostly joy and laughter.

A few tears, and misunderstandings. Relationships, heartbreaks and heartflutters. Then, marriages and adjustments. Some grave moments,and some bitter gone-aways. But always a rainbow after the dark skies.

Then suddenly one day we are all grown up. A plush job, new members in our life to call our own, and new responsibilities to shoulder. A few stray strands of grey hair, additional layers of adipose in a couple of us, and the lack of it in some, we became richer by layers and roles. Diverted focus. Always on the run.

But all the while clinging and cringing to go back to the flutter days. To be still, idle and ourselves, but still have company. Because, there are only a few people in the world, with whom you can be all those and more.

PS: For everything else there is the (add-on!) Mastercard!

And so we planned. Three of us. Taking a break to be idle and ourselves. Two of us took long connecting flights from Kolkata via Mumbai to reach, and one of us(me) a short one hour airborne journey to be in… Goa. The land of the idle. The land of fiesta. The land of good food, cheap alcohol and gorgeous sunsets.

Not sure if anyone else feels this way, but I think directional signs and signboards for roads in Goa, are engineered to laziness! You start from the airport seeing a milestone of say, 55 kms to Palolem. You keep an eye on the dashboard in front of you, neatly calculating a 10 kms progress, but when you see the next milestone, expecting the signage to denote a figure 10kms lesser than what you saw previously, it will not! ’52 kilometers to Palolem’, is what it will end up saying. Another 20 kms down, according to the roadsigns, you are still45 kms away!

Welcome to Goa!

Goa is the economy of idleness-not an economy that has idle people in it, but one that proudly relies on the human behavior and desire to be idle. And that was the ideal spot three of us were looking for!

Sometimes Goa can be nothing like what you hear from your friends, or see in Bollywood. Goa can be very personal. Quiet, introspective, or retrospective. Either ways, Goa offers everything to everyone. We wanted to fit every flavour possible in these three days. Palolem greeted us with light rain and cheap prices at the shacks.A constant harmonica often plays in my heart everytime it starts to rain, and Goa was no exception. There is probably nothing prettier than watching the monsoons crash over the vast blue waves. Sometimes, I feel rain is actually the prettiest inconvenience possible. And once it stops, you even have free rights to flirt with the breeze!

Palolem Beach is one of the quietest beaches in Goa. Not until recently, did it feature on the Goan map, but the greed to escape from the humdrum of the city, to Goa, yet not for partying, has led to many city dweller opting for this cove of a beach. Unlike the northern beaches of Goa, such as Calangute and Baga which are far more commercialized, Palolem offers the perfect balance of serenity, privacy and throws in some specks of nightlife, as well.

The stretch of restaurants, little shops selling scarves and handicrafts, a hole in the wall grocery outlet, it’s all there! It is a little slice of heaven, where you can walk around with sand stuck to your toes. I do not know a single soul who could avoid falling in love with this place!

The white sandy beach gently curves round to form a crescent shape while the warm turquoise waves of the Indian ocean roll in from the open sea. Green hills in the background and magnificent orange sunsets.

We ‘checked-in’ into Cafe Del Mar. Recommended, used before and hence …chosen!

The next three days were perfect. We spanked a couple mosquitoes the first night, and then had cover arranged for them for the next two. Watched the rain whip the ocean from our shack-balcony. We took long walks, we discovered coves, swam with the waves, drank at every happy hour, and licked our plates clean at several shacks lined up along the beach. Drove to Agonda Beach, and trekked to Cabo de Rama-an old fort, famous for the story that Lord Rama hid here with Sita during their exile-years.

The fort, and the small chapel it houses, has something mystical about it. Of course, we visited Baga. Had food at Martins. Partied in Calangute, visited the Anjuna flea market and bought silver jewellery.

These were things we did. What it did to us, in return… was priceless. Got us back our childhood. Tightened my belief  in what I once read, written across an office white-board- “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. And instilled in us, hope to look forward to newer three day trips!

Palms
Coastline
Palolem
Fishing Boats
The Cozy Bar
Stillness
Shack
Secret Cove
Peace
Holiday
Contemplation
Beach
Happy-Happy Hours
Tranquil
Cafe Del Mar

The other day, I was missing three of us together. Its been so long since we got together this way. I started visualizing Goa. And for some strange reason, it made me very hungry suddenly! So, I pulled my sleeves, and got together a meal of goan sausage pulao and duck vindaloo.

I know the two of you would love this meal…so I dedicate this to both of you, virtually now.

Bon Appétit, till we find time to be idle, again!

Sambrita Basu
Sambrita Basu is a food-fascinated travel writer and photographer based out of Bangalore India. A background and a degree in hospitality and restaurant management paved her interest in food. As the secretary of the institution’s editorial club, she contributed regularly and wrote about food in their annual magazine, A la Carte.

Sambrita has published interviews of celebrity authors and business veterans in international publications like Infineon. Her contributions also include photographs on foods and restaurants of Bangalore for DNA—a leading newspaper publication in Bangalore. Sambrita’s creative expressions transport readers to alleys, hotels, hide-outs, restaurants, attics, and spice markets in several cities across the world.

Sam (as she is popularly known by her friends and family) doesn’t write for a living, but she lives to write.
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