Thursday, May 04, 2006


The heading says it all. My trip to Goa was 50% nostalgia and 50% enjoyment. Chalo let me begin at the beginning lest you get confused ;).

By the way, if you are not interested in the details and just want to know the gist, then you can go directly to Observations

The Beginning [Friday 28th April 2006.]

I should say that the trip dint exactly get off to a good start. We [Ashish, Shashank, Shweta and myself] took the Kadamba Transport Corp’s bus from Bangalore. The departure was on time [6 pm] and he was going pretty fast too. We stopped for dinner [not exactly a very good place] somewhere between Sira and Yeliyur, barely 50 mts from a Kamat Upachaar! Imagine our frustration. The restaurant was not really clean, plus it was crowded too. So we had to settle for biscuits as our dinner.

Everything was ok till midnight when we had a puncture. More than an hour was wasted here. We had just got some sleep when this happened. As if that was not enough, the bus took a round-about route. Instead of taking the Haveri-Yellapur-Ankola-Karwar route which is both better roads and shorter, he took the Haveri-Sirsi-Karwar route. That meant an additional delay of an hour. We were pissed off when we realized that he had delayed us for the sake of just one passenger.

Ah! GOA at last!!!!!!! [Saturday 29th April 2006]

Well, technically speaking it was Saturday right from the time we’d had the puncture, but anyway….

We stopped for breakfast near Ankola at 7 a.m. and then we were on our way. Entered Goa8:30. I felt like shouting out with joy, but refrained from doing so :D. By 9:45 we were still at Margao. And then we realized that instead of going straight to Panjim, the bus was going through Ponda – 20 kms detour. around So again we were delayed by 45 minutes, this time because of 2 passengers.

Nevertheless, reached Panjim Bus stand by 11:30. Took motorcycle taxis [popularly called “pilots”] and reached Ashish’s house by 11:45. Had a quick breakfast of bread and Shrikhand. Then had a quick bath and I left for Taligao. It had been ages since I had seen out flat there in Taligao. It’s not that far from Ashish’s place. But since public transport is hard to get in Goa, it took me a long time to find a rick. I reached Taligao by 1:15.

The next 45 minutes I spent showing the prospective tenant around the house and in negotiations. I had told Ashish that I would join him for lunch. So I set off in my search of public transport to get back to his house. But u see, 2 p.m. is a horrible time to travel anywhere in the world, let alone the Sussegaad [ Laaazzzyyy] Goa. I managed to get a bus to Market and from there I took an auto to reach Ashish’s house by 2:45, exactly an hour late :D.

Well, we then had lunch and chatted a little. Next was the evening plan. We decided to meet at Miramar [surprise??]. I first went to bus stand to book our return tickets and from there went to Miramar with Sumegh and Deepa. I almost collapsed seeing the H-U-G-E gang there. I dint know most of the guyz as they were GEC gang. Anyway had loads of fun, clicked sunset snaps. and then?? Obviously. No visit to Miramar can be complete without having a CHAT there can it? We had Chats and had a lot of catching up to do anyway so never realized when it was 7:30. Shashank, Rohan and Sarvesh had also joined us here.

This reminded me of the “good old days” when I used to spend evenings at Miramar regularly. In fact, during my 1st PUC October holidays, I was “preparing” for IIT entrance exam. Everyday I used to study from morning to evening and for sunset, I used to cycle down to Miramar. Nothing in the world can be more refreshing than watching the sun disappear into the sea among a breath-taking display of colours on the horizon!!

So much for those days :(.

We had to say good bye to the gang as I had to complete the rent formalities. Ashish and I met the tenant at his office near St.Inez Church and then went back to the flat at Taligao. Our neighbor was also there and we spent around 45 minutes there, signing the agreement and chatting at the same time.

Rohan’s house is hardly 4 buildings away. So we went there and spent 15 minutes there. Final item of the day was Gauri’s house. Since it was already past 9, we dint get to spend much time here too. Just a brief visit. We had also planned to meet Nams but that had to be cancelled.

We reached Ashish’s house by 10:15. Had dinner and slept by 11, because we were both extremely tired [especially I’d had less sleep in the bus].

If you r bored to death already, i strongly recommend u skip to Observations
Expectations!!! [Sunday 30th April 2006].

Well, I had planned something for this day but it turned out to be totally different. But it was enjoyment to the core anyways J.

Woke up around 8 and had breakfast. Left for Ponda immediately. Reached Ameya Nageshkar’s [Amu] house around 10 a.m. This guy has been my friend even before the high school days. And neither of us has changed in all these years. Some of you might have guessed what I’m referring to ;) , yes, its our weight. Neither of us has been able to get anywhere near the 50 kgs barrier. And the moment we saw each other, we said the same thing to each other.. “U haven’t improved a bit!”.

Well, again had a lot of “catching up” to do. I spoke with Amu and his parents for about an hour, then we left. We first went to his friend’s place to return a CD or something. Then, we simply went for a round on the scooter. We went to Kavlem, then to Amu's old college and simply roamed around. When we passed the Ponda by-pass, nostalgia started creeping in again. This is where I had learnt cycling in 8th Standard. Boy do I miss those days!

Next we went to Kalpana Ice Cream Parlor in ShantiNagar. This place has been renovated and its quite posh compared to what it was say 5 yrs back. Over ice-cream we spoke about a lot many things. I told him about my life since I started working .. and about my plans.. while he also told me about the Mechanical engineering and its related industries, the kind of work that goes on there, the career choices in the field and so on. He has done an enormous amount of R&D about careers and all. I was left speechless regarding the amount of info he has gathered about all this.

By the time we left the ice cream parlour it was noon. Due to lack of ideas, we decided to go to Shankar Parvati temple – in the hot sun. This temple is atop one of the highest hills in the area. It offers a view of almost the entire Ponda town. Alas, the climb is too steep, and Amu’s scooter could not make it with me riding pillion. So, I had to get down and walk for a (very) short distance and then I was back on the pillion.

We had just reached the “summit” when Amu remembered that he had left the CD case back at the ice cream parlor. So back we went to ShantiNagar (btw if you r wondering how far it was and all, then chill out.. No 2 places in Ponda is more than 10 minutes away from each other by vehicle.. and in this case, it was less than 5 minutes).

Now, it was almost time for lunch so we returned to Amu’s place. His mom had prepared a delicious lunch of Chapati – bhaji. We took a brief rest after lunch and set out again. We called Ameya Vaidya’s [AV] house and found out that his sis was not there. So we went to a browsing center, mainly to spend half an hour.

After the browsing, we went to AV’s house. Of course, AV himself had not come down to Goa this time. But I met his parents and Didi. We reached his house by 3:30. Again chatted for about an hour or so. They complimented on my Marathi flunecy...well actually they said my fluency has "remained same over the years".. that could mean it WAS and IS bad too.. :(. Anyway, Then we started forcing Didi to get ready and make a plan. I wanted to visit some beach. Even Didi agreed, she wanted to go to Betalbatim beach. By this time more people had gathered – Chinmay, Rishi, Swapnil and Bobby. We spent way too much time deciding on the mode of transport. If we had been snappy, we might have been able to hire a tourist vehicle and reach Betalbatim on time for sunset and then we could have spent few more hours before returning.

But since we spent so much time toggling between “vehicle” and “3 bikes”, finally it was too late to go anywhere. So we decided that we would go somewhere in Ponda itself. Since I had not got the chance to take snaps from the hilltop temple in the afternoon, we went there again. This time I got a couple of very clear snaps. Now, we could see another hilltop “Math” from here. This hill is right behind AV’s house. Since very few people had gone to this place, we decided to go there.

I’m referring to it as “This new place” because the place has no name!. Anyway its an amazing place to be for sunset. Cool breeze, not much crowd, and a view of the greenery around.. what a sight!!. We stayed here till well past sunset, till around 7:30. Then we walked back to AV’s house. It was AV’s mom’s birthday. Didi decided to get a cake and give her a surprise birthday party. So she went to town on some pretext and got the cake. It was really a surprise for her mom! After cutting the cake and eating it, we [once again] started chatting about life in Goa v/s life in Bangalore/Mumbai. No prizes for guessing which place was the clear winner J

By this time, Tanu had also joined us. Some of AV’s relatives and friend from the colony had also gathered. We really enjoyed a lot, cracking jokes and doing nothing in particular, yet having a heaven of a time. We had dinner around 10:30. After dinner, Chinmay sang a few songs. This guy has the talent to make it to Indian Idol! He sang amazingly. After you hear him sing a song, you actually feel like listening to the song again after going home. We also wanted Bobby and Rishi to dance but we ran out of time. We dispersed 15 minutes past midnight.

Back at Amu’s house, we again chatted well into the night. It was 2:30 by the time I finally went to sleep. As I said before, the day was totally different from what I had planned, but maximum enjoyment nevertheless.

If you are still out there, then please dont abandon reading this :D. Jump to Observations

Last Day of the Trip :( [Monday 1st May 2006]

Woke up at 9! We had a quick bath and breakfast. Dint do much whole morning. Visited a couple of friends’ place. Although the friends themselves were not there, we spoke to their parents and siblings. I also called up a couple of friends whom I couldn’t meet. Then I did my “shopping”, which consisted of cashewnuts, kokum, and kokum sharbat. We then returned to Amu’s place. By now it was 1. had our lunch and then did the final “packing” [which was not much to write about]. Amu dropped me at Ponda bus stand. The plan was to take a bus to Panjim, where I had reservation for the 3:30 KSRTC bus to Bangalore.

But before I boarded the bus at Ponda bus stand, I had one last, most important shopping to do – MANGOES!!!!! Arun had called up previous evening and told me to get a dozen of them. I bought a dozen and a half of export quality Mankurad mangoes [slurp!].

That’s it. Boarded the bus at 2. Reached Panjim at 3. Ashish and Shweta joined me at the bus stand. And soon, before I realized it, my trip was over. I had to say goodbye to dear old Goa. A very short trip but packed to the brim with enjoyment [not to forget nostalgia].

Quick Observations

I guess this travelogue will not be complete without a summary of some observations. So here we go:

  • Infrastructure: Goa’s infrastructure has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 3 years. In the 28 km stretch between Panjim and Ponda alone, 4 new by-passes have been contructed [ Mardol, Kundai village, Banastari and Old Goa]. Even Panjim city looks impressive with al new roads and all [I’m told this was done for the IFFI film festival].
  • Same old Goa: Everywhere I went, I saw new buildings, new apartments [especially in Taligao and in Khadpabandh]. Yet, the pace of life has not changed one single bit in Goa. Its still the same old place. Sussegaad.

I sometimes feel that this IT industry should open shop in Goa. But again, on second thought, I feel that Goa is better off without any IT. We don’t want Goa to be another Bangalore, do we? I sometimes also curse myself for choosing the “wrong career”, because with my industry, I have very slim chances of settling down in Goa.

But there is some contradiction here too. Goa is a hotspot for tourists from all over the world. During the height of the foreign tourist season [December], we also have the film festival hosted there. But all this has almost no impact on the everyday life of Goans, who are away from the tourist circuit. The best example I can think of is Ponda. The tourist influx to Goa has doubled in the last 10-12 years. In spite of this, life in Ponda is the same as it was 10-12 years back. There is no adverse affect of the tourism industry on non-tourist areas at all.

Also, its not that the quality of life is compromised. The per capita income of Goa is more than most Indian states.They may not be earning as much as corporates in the big cities do, but the cost of living there is far less compared to Bangalore. Plus Goa offers you one thing that I don’t see being offered by any of the big fish in the near [or far] future – Peace of Mind.

So do I see a glimmer of hope? Is there a chance that my dreams of settling down in Goa be realized? Only time will tell. Till then I can look at my present life as it is in a positive way. Bangalore offers me big bucks and unlimited opportunities in my field. The “hanging out” life in weekends is second to none. I have lotsa friends and relatives here. So till there’s something concrete going on in the dreamy little coastal state, I’l continue enjoying life here in the truly cosmopolitan city of Bangalore.

1 comment:

Abhi said...

Well, the only way you can settle in Goa is by gaining wieght and becomming a life guard (aka a Sallu Bhai in Mujse Shaadi Karoge.. :D)

On a more serious note, good that you enjoyed your trip, albiet it being a short one.

God knows when I will be able to visit this most coveted place!