What fun would it be if "what happened in Goa stayed in Goa"?
None. So unlike how my last post ended I WILL be sharing the Goa experience as well. And here begins the transition from the solo traveler to the let's-meet-the-bumchums-and-have-a-kicka$$-time-because-we're-in-Goa!
But before that was the train journey from Mangalore to Goa. I had women co-travelers with me; two middle aged ladies with their niece who was in her early 20s (I guess)! She was the one to strike a conversation with me by first offering me some KFC happiness *grin* and asked me where I was getting off. The Matsyagandha Express goes all the way to Mumbai from Mangalore and interestingly enough me and me co-travelers where headed to Goa as well.
Somewhere in the course of the conversation I mentioned having holidayed in Coorg to which I got asked the most oft question: "Are you traveling alone?" and like every time my answer shocked, surprised and left her awestruck! Rather innocently she asked me, "Don't you get scared?" To which I said, "Not any more"
Piqued she wanted to know where else I'd been and not surprisingly when I mentioned Ladakh among the many places I'd been, she immediately asked me when I'd be going next. Now I've been to Ladakh twice - two consecutive years in a row. I love the place, the people -- and I'm also in love with places I haven't yet seen, so...
But she was insistent. She shared her mobile number with me so i could let her know about my next solo holiday to Ladakh! Now I didn't know I was planning a solo holiday to Ladakh, hmmm....
Anyhoo, I was quite pleased with her company. She was rather intrigued that I'd keep jotting stuff on a pad and wanted to know what I was writing (or may be WHY I was writing). In retrospect, she seemed to be the first person who I was having a conversation with (also because she wouldn't stop talking!) since I took of for Coorg on my solo-mission.
Off at the platform in Goa, I spent a day with my also-on-holiday-mode-parents and met my bum-chums the next day. But in the first 24 hours itself, I'd begun to formulate an opinion about the place. And here's why...
From traveling to Goa twice every year during the Diwali and then the summer break for close to 7 years to then barely having set foot there in the past 7 years, my trip to Goa meeting family enroute and ringing in the New Year with friends brought my relationship with the place to a full circle.
Ever since getting off the platform at Madgaon Railway Station to getting ‘home’ (my second one), I couldn’t stop exclaiming at how much the place has changed over the years. Little did I know that this was still south Goa… there was much more in store as we’d move north (which was my base-camp with my friends for the next couple of days)
The backyard of my home in Goa used to be an open ground that was occasionally patrolled by pigs grunting away when not being chased away by dogs. This time around there was no landscape – no open ground, no pigs or dogs even. Instead this backyard resembled the by-lanes of the concrete jungles in Mumbai than it did of the clean, open spaces I once recalled Goa to be.
What hadn’t changed was the way in which Goa could stir my appetite up!
The next few days until New Years were spent in the north – a part of the state I’d seldom ever visited when I’d previously come to Goa. Being there felt like I was meeting siblings that weren’t related to each other by blood – so distinct and different from each other in tone, pace and attitude. I would finally see what everyone else had until then only spoken to be about – the Russian signposts and billboards.
But the end of the year was a round of many firsts for me - that too in Goa! I went for my first music festival - Supersonic - at Candolim beach. How we got in is another story - not for the blog
And no this post won't end the way the previous one did. And that's because the next one is about my run-in with the cops on the 31st of December 2013 5 hours before NYE... Stay tuned