We had reached Destination K but had lost the rest of the world. There was absolutely no network on any of our phones. But that too seemed part of the adventure. And my love affair with the telephone ended with the last love affair anyway.
At Destination K, Abhay’s, the place that was home for the next two nights has 6 rooms each with double beds (sort of), two chairs, and a table. Abhay’s is at the end of the village, a km of only fields and a few stray houses separating it from the sea. I don’t know why it reminded me of my grandmom’s house in Mangalore which I’d visited only once in my life and had had to drink a glass of water with an ant in it. I knew my mom would slay me if I pointed it out so I sipped in all the silence only a six year old could muster.
The most terrible thing in Abhay’s according to me – a common bathroom and (the horror the horror - and I’m not quoting Mistah Kurtz in vain) a common loo. So horror-struck but trying not to show the boys the same (Cat and Freety would anyway have just said Go Pee Come), I washed up and set out for lunch at Hemant’s. If they could rough it, so by God, could I.
Hemant’s is a quaint four table restaurant that specializes in rice, fried fish, fish curry, vegetables, and pickle. You could ask for an omelette and get it as I realised the next day and he might decide to serve papads but that’s pretty much it. The best thing about Hemant’s besides the yummy, hot, and spicy food is the view and the experience. The tiny hut overlooks the river that separates the village from Maharashtra and includes about seven cats and four dogs. The meal is inclusive of the cat-massage (covers feet to knee at no extra cost) and the occasional cat-dog fight for entertainment. Quite an experience!
After lunch we finally went to the Kerim beach that has about four shacks that serve beer, coffee, omelettes, sandwiches and even a meal; assorted beach lounge chairs on the sand; miles and miles of uninterrupted sea; a fairly high hill on one side from which the gliders take off and a cluster of pine and coconut trees on the other. It was such a terribly fascinating and unsettling experience to be the only two people playing by the beach. I don’t think I’d care for private beaches. And that was a new discovery.
Arabian Sea is gorgeous. It has more surf, more salt, and more sand to walk in compared to the Bay. I love the feel of the waves crashing against me; Freety promptly labelled me a pervert. But when he lay down getting a butt massage in the sea, it was evident who was what. Though I must confess that boy had the right idea – lying in the sea is better than any Jacuzzi I’ve ever used. But I never learnt to swim (a lesson that was on the agenda) because for no reason at all, throughout my trip I was vaguely apprehensive about venturing deep into the sea, something I’ve always done.
Even as the boys taunted my fear, I lay down on the lounge chairs getting the tan that has made me so ugly and watched the waves crash, the gliders fly above me in their colourful balloons (sue me, I won’t call it a glider) and the stray crabs on the shore burrow in the sand. Peaceful? I can smugly say you will meet yourself on those waters. Most of the confusion in my head began to feel insignificant. I was in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to in my life, with two of the loveliest people in my life, what is there to think about, or worry? So I wore Cat’s colour-colour shades and surveyed the sea. The sun set and I missed it because I got caught up staring at the way gliders land and wrap their balloons.
Cat had a bad landing but a good flight on his balloon, Freety had finished swimming to his heart’s content and as I was a pretty pink by then, we headed back to Abhay’s. After a wash and change we drove off to dinner across the river in a ferry that took us – car and all. That was so much fun!
This restaurant, and it is a proper restaurant by Goan standards, also overlooks the river and has sensational fried fish, but little else to its credit. I spoke to many new people and realised why the people in my life make me so happy and how special they really are simply because they are genuinely good people trying to make it their way.
Post dinner, driving back on the ferry, I was so in love with Cat and Freety that it felt like the three of us were the only people under that star-lit sky. I just love the way Cat knows just when I need my hand to be held, and the way Freety gives me his spontaneous hugs. Loving people is such a wonderful feeling especially when the other side of that love is a superior indifference to the rest of mankind whom you think doesn’t deserve to be loved by you.
And it was fun the way all the other paragliders couldn’t make up their minds as to who between Cat and Freety was my boyfriend. We kept them guessing through the trip.
But at the back of my mind, I was also a bit alarmed that my first day in Goa was almost at an end and I hadn’t felt high in spite of the many beers I drank. It was too hot to drink anything else.
Driving back to Abhay’s, Cat and I were feeling smug that we knew ourselves and were happy with what that made us – young, true, just enough of the goodness so we can be healthy bitches who give back only when needed. We always did for others and let others do for us. We were young, forever young. Freety being younger than that, and slightly high by then, was uninterested in anything but getting a good night’s rest. Thinking it was a good policy coming out of the mouths of the babes and all that, we retired to bed.
I kept waking up hearing the dogs howl and imagined I heard the sea and a woman wail. Then as Freety’s very audible and real snore overshadowed my imagination, I told myself not to be a perfect ass and finally slept.
End of Episode 2
(This is going to be serialized as it is terribly long and I need to articulate for myself what the hell this trip was all about and importantly how I feel about it even if it makes it very long.)
Read Please Come to Goa (Episode 1) here.