Monday, November 28, 2005

Go Goa...

The biggest mistake I did was that I just managed a weekend trip to this lovely place, and at the end of the two days I could not help but feel miserable for having to leave so early!

We started off for Goa on Friday night by the 11.00 p.m. Konkan Kanya Express and were to return by the same on Sunday night at 7.00 p.m. from Thivim. Before I go on to narrate my travel experience, I must say I was pretty impressed with the service in the train. The attendants were polite, quick to respond and extremely good at their work. The food quality was amazing. No oily stuff and not too spicy either. It was just right. We tasted most of the items. Well, when you are in a family that loves to eat and taste new stuff you bet there was not a single item on the menu that would be left without being tasted! We had chicken fried rice, chicken biryani, chicken masala, chicken lollypop, dosa, sandwich, omlet, veg cutlet, tea,coffee, and not to forget gulabjamun. Instead of the traditional paper wraps they gave the food in decent plates and tiffins which made it so much easier to have the food.

We landed on Thivim station at 10.30a.m. The train was slightly delayed. We took a taxi to our hometown Nanora. Now, Nanora is a very small village. The houses are still built of mud, and the verandahs and floors are still done the traditional way by smearing cow dung on it. Cow dung is one of the best natural fertilizers; it keeps the house disease free and maintains a cool temperature in the house. I must say it is one hell of a task to do up the whole house on alternate days with it! I do admire the ladies there!

Our small house is a house of 4 rooms and a kitchen with a small verandah outside. It’s so peaceful and quiet. It’s right in the midst of nature with a jungle behind and river flowing right nearby. (I’m also sorry for not being able to upload snaps will do so over the weekend.) Once we landed and freshened up, we went to visit the village goddess and take her blessings. Some of the houses lie empty. Vast and spacious ones with no one to care for, as most of them are settled in big towns and cities. The heritage is dying and no one seems to care. How can one ignore such a beautiful place? It is just about the perfect get-away you need from your busy city life. People fail to see the importance.

Post lunch my husband’s cousin and his wife came down with their car to drive us around the Goa. Thy were feeling really bad that we had just come down for two days and since I was visiting the first time they thought they would make the most of it. We left our village at 4.30 p.m. only to return by 11.30p.m.! For the first time in many days, I was left wondering if it were possible to have more than 24 hours in a single day.

We left first for the the Kalangute Beach, which is close to Panaji, the capital city of Goa. Being in Mumbai one forgets what a clean beach is, so if you want to know go head towards the Konkan, Goa, Mangalore, Kerala beaches. Pure water, huge waves hitting you and lovely breeze blowing all around. My brother-in-law and his wife are very enthusiastic. They love to talk and never seem to tire out. They speak Konkani so well, and speaking of Konkani; I have absolutely fallen in love with that language and intend to learn it from my mom-in-law, she is the only one in our house who knows it. It’s such a sweet language, and when they speak it sounds as if they have only words of love for you.

My sister-in-law just hinted she wanted to try para-gliding; we were not so sure to let her try it, so my husband and his brother thought speed boat ride was another good option. On came the life jackets, we climbed into the boat and we took off into the sea! What a ride! The water kept splashing into our faces. I did not feel messy and loved every moment of getting wet in the sea.

Out of the sea and walking back to the car, on the way we had a couple of halts; one to have 'butta' (hot roasted corn with red chilly and lemon…yum!) and second for some shopping! What cool pieces of junk jewellery, lovely wrap around skirts, bags and purses with embroidery and mirror work, lots of handicrafts, showpieces, all of which sent my husband and his brother into a frenzy seeing us go from one shop to another. We then finally decided to have some mercy on the two and relieve them of the torture and set away for my brother-in-law’s house in Old Goa to freshen up. On the way we even saw the old church where the body of St.Francis is kept. Sadly we did not have time to visit it.

The drive to his place and back to Panaji was heavenly. Dark skies, clear sea, small lanes with houses on both sides, turns and twists, bridges on the water, cruises below, street-lights on the road, and coconut trees all around. Panaji was all lit thanks to IFFI. Huge hoardings, film screenings at public places, trees decorated with lights, festivities on, fairs all over. It was indeed a lovely time of the year to visit Goa. I loved the street lights all along Miramar beach, Old Secretariat and Inox Theatre. They had the ancient British look and added to the beauty of the lovely streets.

We then visited a place well-known for Goan specialties. The Ritz Classic. I have never been a sea-food person, and not too enthusiastic about trying new stuff. Staying with my husband’s family has rubbed of some the niceties onto me. I decided that I shall taste all sea-food specialties. So here is what we ordered and I tried all of them. The prawns fried and in curry, were out of this world. I also tasted Chonak(Barramundi) Masala Fry, Squids in Garlic Sauce, and Shingane. We ended the delicious dinner with an icy cold ice-cream. Suddenly all the cold and cough seemed to have disappeared.

The next day we took the ride to visit our Family Goddess 'Kamakshi Devi' in Shiroda which is about an hour’s ride from our village. The temple is huge and has a small pond, a well, another temple, marriage hall, and dharamshala in its premises. The Goddess was kept inside a room whose three doors were done up of pure silver and the dome of the temple in pure gold. The aura of the Goddess filled up the entire temple and you did not want to leave so soon.

Post the 'darshan', we left for Old Goa again to pick up my brother-in-law to go ahead for lunch. We went to a small place nearby which offered food similar to homemade food. Again sea-food ruled. Prawns, Pomphret, King Fish, Oysters, you name it and it was there. I had tasted enough sea-food in two days which I had not managed in 25 years of my life!

We then left for our shopping spree of Kokum Sherbet and Cashew nuts. On the way back we passed through Parvari and Mhapsa. Some of the bungalows I saw there left me mesmerized; the vintage structure, the expanse, the architecture, the lawns outside, the whole locale. It made me more than determined to build one of my own there someday in the future. Yes, it’s one more addition to my list of dreams that I have to fulfill.

We reached home by 4.30 only to realize that we would be saying good-bye in another hour; time had just flown by!

I did not want it to end, the whole experience was so enriching; in terms of the place and the people. My husband’s relatives were such a sweet lot and so hospitable, someday I hope I can return the love they showered on me. I was meeting them for the first time but I did not feel like a stranger at all.

Man is a greedy animal they say, well I’m greedy for the beautiful heavenly abode in Goa and the love the people there gave me. Yes I would want more and more of that in the years to come.

9 comments:

Weasley Speaks said...

What a description. You made me re-live every moment.
The sea food is awesome. Will miss it for the next few years I think.
But have never moved around Goa so fast. It always used to be atleast for a month.
But saw a lot and am glad you enjoyed.

Bhaskar Tatke said...

Goa.......
Goa has been the best place I have visted in India. I absolutely fell in love with the place during my visit 2 years back.

We had hired motorcycles in Panaji and for 5 days we rode about 500Kms in Goa.

I liked the way you described your trip. It brought back memories. Especially the description of food made me nostalgic.

We spent 5 days in Goa and those 5 days just flew by. I felt I had so much more to see and explore. I left Goa with the same sentiments as yours, that I will return soon but this time for a really long time and explore the treasure that is Goa. I wished my family had a house there. I really wish.

Tugga said...

daaru liya kya?

Mary said...

:) It all sounds so lovely!

Sandeep said...

What attracts me about Goa is the fact that it's beaches are so pristine! And plenty of it too! Laid-back lifestyle, where everyone's NEVER in a hurry; where you can order lunch at 1:00 pm and when it hasn't turned-up by 2:30, it's still okay, because you're having too much fun talking to the others on the table... I'm sure you can relate! ;-P

Sublime Thoughts said...

Awww...make sure u go back again soon n this time for minimum a week.

Wonderful description.Sometimes one just needs to take off ya,without worrying about the casual leaves that will have to be forsaken at the office.There is an amazin world beyond the 9.12 churchgate fast and the office cubicle which is waiting to be seen n explored.

Minal said...

@Weasley Speaks: Yes my dear hubby and you are one person I need to thank for the lovely experience

@Bhaskar:Bike ride, I'll try that next time when I'm there for a longer period!

@Tugga: Do you not know I've quit drinking;-)Hard to control but got to;-)

@Mary: If you plan a trip to India, don't miss out on this place

@Sandeep:Oh ya the laidback lifestyle. Man did we hunt for shops in the afternoon to buy cashewnuts! 99% of them were closed, we were just lucky to have three open! And the lunch wait was a torture cause there was delicious smell all around and our order was taking hours to come, and we were hungry like hell!

@Sublime thoughts: Agreed, but I was just back after a Diwali break and a long leave again would not have made for good timing:-)Next time though I'll get my timing right;-)

Anonymous said...

Have u been to the Diwade Island (just opposite to Old Goa - by ferry)? Its truly awesome. None of my visits to Goa is really complete until I have visited Diwade!

Swapnil

Minal said...

@Swapnil: No I haven't. This was my first visit and only there for 2 days. I 'll keep in mind next time when I visit:-)