Waking up to a view of the country road is one of the most beautiful things the world has got to offer. I realised I was just a few hours away from my destination noticing a board “Belgaum” pass by.
The bus driver had made a halt at a small dhaba named “National Dhaba” with the most amazing pomfret fry and a breath-taking view to let people freshen up and reenergise for they were about to visit one of the most magical places.
Wearing my sunglasses I got off the bus as my eyes were still hurting from the morning light. I could feel the heat on my skin and the smell of dry grass filled my nose. It created a strange but pleasant disconnecting moment for me. A moment in which I was alone and it wasn’t about anyone or anything. A moment in which I couldn’t care less about myself. A moment of sheer freedom.
People who had come with families went inside and sat under the shed , a bunch of excited guys were playing volleyball in the open field while I stood there in the grass absorbing the beauty I was witnessing for I was alone and had nothing better to do.
Soon the conductor called out for us and the bus driver started honking as everyone started walking and got back to their seats , all set to resume the journey. For the next couple of hours I kept staring out of the window looking at grasslands and villages pass by. Traveling alone got me all philosophical , so I started thinking about the mysterious ways in which life works , how whatever is happening never makes sense and how this constant curiosity of finding their destiny is sustained inside every single soul. As I approached GOA I was amazed as I saw Goans in boats, fishing for leisure , young kids playing football so passionately, people sitting outside their homes having beer at 11 in the bloody morning. I was so moved by the chilled out culture and the “always at ease” lifestyle. People are in no rush , there is no hurry of reaching their work places, they are taking life as it comes. You will sense fearlessness in people, you will smell freedom in the air, I did too.
I had been to Goa thrice before , twice with my parents and once on a school trip, but I was too young to be left alone and I couldn’t experience Goa back then. I was coming back to this place after 3 years and wanted to experience it all.
The bus dropped me at Mapusa, and I took a taxi to Anjuna beach.
My phone battery was on the verge of dying when I realised I was too mesmerised and lost in the beauty of the place and the people to care. I was supposed to meet my friend and my ex at Curlies, a very popular shack , which is at south Anjuna beach. I reached Anjuna beach, the cab driver dropped me at the start of an unbeaten path which would eventually lead me to Curlies. It was a very narrow path into the the woods. As I started walking, I couldn’t find a single person for a kilometre to confirm the way , all there was, the red sand beneath me, palm trees in front of my eyes and the cool sea breeze gushing into my face. After walking for a while I had steps in front of me alongside which there were small stalls with only woman shopkeepers who were wearing something which looked like a fusion of Rajasthani traditional wear and western, selling petty stuff like bracelets, anklets and cheap rings on surprisingly high rates. I walked passed that to suddenly find myself standing on a pedestal facing the beach, exactly adjacent to Curlies. I saw people playing, swimming and the rest of them were lying on benches taking sun bath while enjoying the view with a cold beer. It was like stepping into something what paradise would look like.
I went on with my friend to keep my stuff in her room and then came out and sat down for a beer at a shack before I saw this Filipino girl ironing clothes for the hotel. Being a curious fellow I initiated a conversation and we got talking when she told me that she came to Goa for a meeting and decided to stay here for the rest of her life. I surprisingly met a lot of such people. There was this particular shack where I used to spend my afternoons at in Goa , drinking beer and chilling, I eventually became good friends with the owner and the bar tender, so I asked the bar tender one afternoon about him and he told me his story. He was a bank manager who came to Goa with his wife and never left, his wife had different plans so she left and he has been happily staying in Goa ever since.
A lot of stories I heard, a lot of places I saw before I came to the conclusion that it was all justified for the people who decided to spend the rest of their lives in Goa. In fact, we all would want to stay in a place which is so ecstatic, those people were just brave enough to follow their hearts.
On the last day of my stay in Goa I experienced a feeling , or simply an emotion which the people who decided to stay must have felt. I knew I did not want to leave, but I had to, maybe I wasn’t as brave enough.
I was there for merely a few days and I had forgotten that I did not belong there, I had blended in, I had accepted the lifestyle, the people, the place as my own for it was so warm and welcoming.
I was hypnotized in the magical spell of Goa when I decided that I will come down to this paradise again next year, exactly the same time. With the hope to find the courage of never going back from this beautiful mysterious place where I found serenity.