Goa: Part I.

Readers of my blog will know (and judging by the number of comments I get, there is at least one - my father - who is always kind enough to post a comment under the immortal name of Anonymous) that every time Mawii and I planned a trip last year, nothing manifested. Instead of climbing mountain trails, and swimming mirrored lakes, we spent most of our time lying on our beds, eating pizza, saying nasty things about life (in an undertone, naturally, just in case life heard us and decided to make us even more miserable than we already were).

2012 has been a good year so far for the both of us. I'm highly aware that this could change any moment (my little gut feeling says otherwise, but my little gut feeling is a liar and I've learnt not to trust it). Anyway. I was determined to go away somewhere on holiday for our mid semester break, and I began pestering Mawii about it as early as January.

"We should go to the sea," I said dreamily, one afternoon, as we lay on our beds (probably eating pizza). "I haven't been to the sea in so long,"

Mawii agreed.

"And we should go to Goa," I continued. "It'll make Aditya sick. Ha ha. Ha." (Aditya Servaia is one of my best friends and is, to put it delicately, obsessed with Goa. He spends most of his life making plans to go there. I suppose he could do worse things with his time.)

"Ha ha ha ha," Mawii echoed.

To add insult to injury, I'd created a group called 'Get Aditya To Goa' on Facebook. What fun, I thought, to go there and send him one of those Wish You Were Here postcards.

(Realisation: I am a terrible friend.)

I went back to Calcutta at the end of January for a wedding, and while there, I worked on my mother for permission.

"Mama," I said, as we wound our way home from the airport, "you know, I get ten days off in March. It's going to be my last college holiday ever!"

"Hm," said my mother, who probably knew exactly what I was up to.

"And I've done really well on my tests. Remember how you thought I was going to fail?"

She grudgingly agreed. She did think I was going to fail. She always thinks I'm going to fail my exams, even though the only time I've ever failed one was Hindi in my first year of college, but to be fair, even I knew that was going to be a disaster.

"Anyway," I continued, squeezing her hand lovingly, "since it's our last college holiday, my friends and I thought it would be really nice to go to Goa for a bit. I've checked the tickets and everything - it's really not too expensive."

"Shouldn't you be studying for your exams during your break?"

I refrained from snorting. You think your parents know you so well, and then they go and make a rash statement like that.

"I'm really not going to study during the break, and we both know it. I promise not to have a life outside of my books after it's over. Please let me go."



"I'll think about it." Pause. "Is Mawii going?"

"She's trying to get permission too. I won't go if she doesn't," I promised, as if this was a huge concession on my part.

"I'll think about it," she said once more.

There was joy in my heart. My mother is not one of those terrible human beings who say they'll "think about it" and then follow it up with a "I've thought about it, and the answer's no". If my mother doesn't say no outright, if she says she'll think about it, it always means it's going to happen - she just doesn't want to appear to be giving into my requests too easily. She wants to keep me on my toes for a bit, and I'm happy to play along with her, because it's the least I can do.

While in Calcutta, Aditya informed me that he was leaving for Goa the following week.

"Really?" I said disbelievingly, because Aditya spends at least four months of the year preparing to leave for Goa "the following week."

"We're booking our tickets tomorrow, yo."

I refused to believe him, but he actually did get his tickets booked.

"MAWII!" I shrieked, as soon as I came back to Delhi and barged into our room, pulling my suitcase haphazardly behind me. "WE HAVE TO GO TO GOA! WE HAVE TO!"

"What? Why?"


I'd gotten permission, it was Mawii who was having trouble getting it. Her parents didn't say yes, but they didn't say no either.

"We haven't had a chance to talk about it yet," she told me. "They're really busy with my brother's paperwork. It's the first time in twenty years they're paying more attention to him than to me. I can't complain."

Weeks rolled by. My mother kept asking me when I was going to book my tickets.

I only told one person about the potential holiday. I had a terrible feeling that if I talked about Goa, it just wouldn't happen.

It became so much more than just having a laugh at Aditya. It wasn't Goa itself that attracted me. I never liked that place. I went there once when I was fifteen, with my mother and an uncle. It was the holiday from hell. My uncle took me up para-sailing, and refused an instructor.

"I've done this before," he told me. "No problem."

Like a fool, I believed him.

"Aren't we supposed to be landing on that hill?" I said nervously, as we flew over it.

"Yes," he said sheepishly. "I think there's a slight problem,"


"I can't figure out how to land this damn thing,"

We did land eventually. On an old lady sleeping in the sun.

That was my first day, and I got sunburnt. It rained the rest of the time, and I spent the rest of the week sitting in my hotel room watching cartoons.

So no, I did not share Aditya's enthusiasm for Goa. But I love the sea, I love it, and my favourite holidays are always the ones that involve sunning myself on golden sands, and diving into waves, and leaping off boats. Beaches, Goa undoubtedly had. And the first week of March would be an excellent time to go. I began to get really excited about it.

"Get permission, get permission," I urged Mawii nearly every day.

"This weekend," she'd say.

"Did you get permission?" I'd say, every Sunday night.

"I didn't get a chance to talk to them,"

Finally, convinced she wouldn't get permission, I called my mother and asked her if she'd take me to Goa. It was a low moment, but I was desperate for a sea-side holiday.

"I might not be able to get away from work. I know - why don't we go to Dehra Dun and visit Billie?" Billie is my mother's cousin, who recently took up teaching at a school for spoilt rich children in Dehra Dun, and enjoys hitting them with rolled up newspapers, taking away their mobile phones, and making their lives a living hell.

I could not believe my mother was suggesting I spend a week in Dehra Dun.

"We could sit outside every evening and drink tea," she continued, sensing my silence.

"BUT I DON'T WANT TO SIT AROUND DRINKING TEA DURING THIS HOLIDAY!" I bellowed. Then realising I sounded rude, I lowered my voice and said, "Look, it's just that there's only so much tea I can take."

"I'm not sure if I can manage Goa," said my mother. "But I wouldn't mind going to Thailand,"

Hello, happiness.

All the same, I really wanted to spend this last holiday with Mawii, so I told her that I'd give it a couple more days, and if Mawii didn't get permission, I'd turn to her. I think my mother realised it would mean a lot to me to spend the break with my college friends, and so she gamely agreed to be on standby.

But Mawii got permission.

"I GOT PERMISSION!" She yelled, waking me up early one morning with a phone call.

"Yay," I said half heartedly, and went back to sleep.

When I woke up later, I reacted more suitably, and a lot of squealing phone calls were exchanged between the two of us, and then I called my mother and gave her the good news, and both our tickets were booked straight away.

"Mawii's got an aunt in Goa, so we can land up there if something goes wrong," I told my mother. "And the Dubeys are joining us too,"

I didn't know anything about Goa (I probably would have, if I paid attention to Aditya when he talked about it, but I never did, never have, and even now, never will). Mawii did though, and she said we should go to the south because it was less crowded.

We decided on Palolem beach, and a few days before we left, we agreed to spend a couple of days in the north as well.

For the rest of the week, we couldn't talk about anything else. Mawii in particular kept having random squealing fits, which I soon learnt to ignore. And Mrs Khera was as excited as we were because she's one of those incredibly rare people who genuinely feel happy when someone they're fond of is happy : every morning at breakfast, she'd give us the countdown - "five days to go", "four days to go", "three days", etc. Aditya, having recently returned from his trip, gave me detailed instructions on where to go and what to do.

"How about I just call you once I get to the beach," I said, exasperatedly, "and you tell me whether to turn right or left, and how many steps to take, and so on,"

"Good idea," he said, seriously.

Sharma called the day before I left and advised me on where to find drugs.

"Go to the Amul store at Starko junction, and ask for Rocky," he said confidently.

"Alright," I said slowly. (Mawii and I were toying with the idea of trying ecstasy. I did a thorough google search on it, asked my father about it - he told me he'd never tried it, and to see if my mother had, which I did not, for the sake of my sanity and hers - and kept an open mind).

This trip had come to symbolise a lot of things - it was our last holiday together as college students (we fondly recalled the first, which was in Manali), and it was a sign that 2012 held a lot more promise than 2011 ever did, and it was to be one week of pure pleasure and relaxation, after which we were determined to focus on college and assignments and exams and other horrific, important things.

"It's started," I said to Mawii, gleefully, as we climbed into the taxi on a sunny Saturday morning. "It's happening! Short of a plane crash, nothing can stop us from getting to that sea." 

She grinned back at me, and we both promptly fell asleep as the car jolted its way to the plane that would take us there.


Anonymous said...

Mmmm... read it.


(Please note: Not 'Anonymous')

Priyanca said...

Very well written, I have been following your blog for a while now but never got around posting a comment.

Keep writing.