If you were to do in Goa as the Goans do, you’d be leading your daily humdrum life. Exotic as Goa may seem to the outsider, for the inhabitants it’s pretty much life as usual. As for me, in my 5 days in Goa I haven’t witnessed any of the prohibited stuff that Goa is (in)famous for….free sex, rave parties and the like. Well I did see a few dogs on the beach who looked pretty stoned,a dead giveaway to their nocturnal activities, but other than that nothing. Maybe I just didn’t know where to go looking for trouble but that’s how I like it.
So if you are wondering how to behave when in Goa, there are two models infront of you. One is to go the foreigner’s way. No, that does not imply stripping and going off your rockers so to speak, but to be comfortable in your(tattoo covered perhaps)skin, doing what you are doing,the way you want to do it with no care in the world. This however is easier said than done. For us it generally translates as doing things that we are not comfortable doing. …wearing scanty clothes, breaking into an impromptu jig and the like. Why we still do it is beyond my understanding. Maybe there is some pressure to be ultra “cool” since you are in Goa and the only way we know to be cool is to ape.
The other model is the “desi” one wherein you are under unrelenting pressure to “do” and “see” things, visit places, go shopping and again, among other things, be cool. ..way too much for any individual to handle and accomplish. Consequently you go back drained and exhausted, needing another vacation to recover from this one.
As for me, what have I been doing? As I mentioned above, nothing spectacular. Forenoon saw me busy with my yoga course, the reason I came to Goa in the first place. Mornings and evenings were spent on the beach (Arambol ) …sitting quietly, doing nothing. ..watching the world go by. Meal times took me to Magic Park, a lovely place to enjoy a delicious meal with some good music. At the end of five days I have no great reports to give except that it’s been a wonderful time that I spent with myself, reminding me how crucial it is to do so on a regular basis and not merely a holiday. Sonny and hubby join me today evening. Guess now I get to see more of Goa but again in my “uncool” way….doing nothing.
Goa, I read somewhere, is a state of mind. So are most things in life I would say. Travelling solo for example. In my last post I shared my jitters prior to my morning of departure. However I did venture out and am I glad that I did! Having been in a hostel since after class 10, travelling alone was not something new for me. But 10 years of marriage and a 9 year old son changed all this. If nothing else my sonny ( my “poonch”-tail – as I call him) is always with me. So I hadn’t travelled alone in almost forever. And that too across the country to an unknown place. Perhaps my jitters were understandable. Yet I stepped out of my comfort zone and moved and am I glad I did. The thing about travelling alone is not simply the logistics of travel that you have to manage on your own but more importantly being with yourself that you have to get used to. And that is the most terrifying part. Yes, as a solo woman traveller you need to be careful and plan your trip well, but most importantly you have to make friends with yourself. .You see you just have yourself for company! Of course technology has made being with oneself next to impossible. .If nothing else we have our blessed I pads and I phones. Did I mention the “I” family I saw during my flight? 4 members. .All glued to their respective gadgets for the entire duration of the flight. I mean really people. ..talk to each other if nothing else! I presume they were on a holiday…but it was more of a hillary with the gadgets than each other. Today’s technological advancements have made being with yourself , or even with each other, next to impossible. But try people…try to get to know yourself, get on your own nerves and then you’ll realise how much work there is to be done.
Goa has this liberating air that sadly most places at least in India are lacking. And I don’t think it has anything to do with being scantily clad or living like a “hippie”. There is just something about this place that allows you to lie back and be yourself..do what you want to without being judged. The important thing however is to try and do what you want, be who you want to be. Figuring out what is it that you really want to do, who is it that you want to be..that is the most difficult part and the starting point. Do you really need Goa or any place for that ?I don’t think so. .The only place you need to go to is within. But yes Goa can’t hurt either!
I landed in Goa on Thursday night after a 14 hour journey including a miserable time at the Delhi airport terminal T1. Regardless of all my dreams and desires of travelling solo like a backpacker, I had the most horrible case of cold feet on the evening before the journey. Whether it was the fear of travelling alone (and across the country) or just the logistics of the travel that troubled me- luggage, delays in the cold,foggy weather- I can’t really pin point. Nevertheless cold feet it was. The morning of the travel however saw me all calm and composed, ready to take on the world so to speak.
The journey from Chandigarh to Delhi was rather uneventful. ..thankfully. Delhi airport T1 was a different ball game altogether. It doesn’t say much about the state of our infrastructure when a bus journey, even though a Volvo, is more comfortable than air travel. Delays due to bad weather I understand ; absolute mayhem at a terminal making it worse than a bus stand I don’t. T3 has earned lot of applause because of its international standards. T1, on the other hand, is in an equally abysmal state. Long queues, pushing and shoving at every stage not to mention cat fights at the security check were the highlights of my journey from Delhi. What can you say when even the washroom has long queues being managed by the attendant?
After almost a 2 hour delay the flight took off. Landing in Goa was like a breath of fresh air. From the fish market of T1, Goa airport’s pristine environment is what was needed. Another 2 hour drive to get me to Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Arambol where I’m attending a 5 day basic yoga course.
My 1st day, that is yesterday, went by in a daze. Yoga class, stroll on the beach and some great food. ..that’s about it. Today the world is looking lot more familiar and organised. And as the clarity of mind continues I’m hoping to share more of Goa !