There’s quite a few of them actually. Things I can’t have a normal, rational, human reaction to. Well, not without succumbing to the incomprehensible need to eat 4 pieces of cake at top-speed. Or running like a mad woman till my knees give up. Because they are things that sometimes shock me. Stun me. Sometimes make me just shut up and watch in awe. Sometimes also just take my breath away. Overwhelm me completely. To a point where the words don’t come out right. And no reaction seems adequate or appropriate. So I deal with it by eating dessert. Or turning to endorphins. Or yakking away to the husband, relentlessly, regardless of whether I’m making much sense or not.
There are a lot of things I can’t fathom. Things that swirl around in my head long after I have encountered them. Things that leave me dumbfounded and unable to just deal.
1) That we’re inching in on the 3rd anniversary of our move to Goa. A span of time that sometimes feels like an eternity. Sometimes it makes me stop in my tracks, find that abyss into which the days are whooshing in, and plug it. For good.
2) How much Goa has changed in the three years gone by. Wasn’t it just the other day that I was roaming around frantically, like a headless chicken trying to find a medical store at 9 pm? Or the night we had to rush one of our colleagues to the hospital, but found no petrol bunks open at 10 pm? An how about the time it took over 3 weeks to get the BSNL linesman to give me a connection. All exemplary exercises in futility, of course. Because as I learned in the days that followed, Panjim works on its own time zone and goes to sleep by 9 pm. Or at least it used to.
3) How what was a quiet little sleepy town just 6-8 months ago, now shows signs of life bustling around me well past 10 pm. And that means more traffic on our tiny little roads. And consequently that means visibly restless and agitated people driving around on them, recklessly.
4) There’s a lot of things that happen on a daily basis that gets me riled up. Like when night shows are now running house-full. Like when we go in for the 10 pm show to avoid the crowds, only to find ourselves in a theatre full of hyper children. And this, in an A rated thriller, no less. Like when I’m suddenly eve teased (yes this is a rare and sudden event in my life in Panjim), only to realise the car filled with idiots was a car from out-of-town. It gets me even more riled up that behaviour like this further fortifies some of the stereotypes in my head.
5) Inevitable change. I know it happens sooner or later. Places change, cities grow, people move in, people move out, cultures mingle. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much. And it is all part of life as I know it in India. But sometimes I cannot deal with these changes.
6) How I suddenly find myself thinking like an insider. When I first moved here, I was looked upon by some as the outsider, and rightly so. But with time, I find myself taking personal interest in the way things work around my neighbourhood. I feel sorry when I see mismanaged traffic. I feel agitated that I can’t do something about it. I love that we have so far managed without traffic signals. And I love our garbage collection systems. I love these things like I love things of my own. I guess I feel a sense of ownership and accountability for Panjim, and when come things out of my control are changing so rapidly, I feel that too.
But in the face of all things inexplicable, I take solace in knowing that there are still a few things about this little piece of heaven I call home, that won’t change for some time to come.
1) The gentle, peaceful regularity with which the ferry services work in Goa.
2) You’re never too far from a gorgeous sunset
3) If push comes to shove, you can find a nice corner on a tiny island, stay there and never come out again
4) No matter what happens, the sun will continue to set
5) The clouds will continue to paint crazy stories
6) And I will always go back for more
So yeah, things around me are constantly changing. As much as I like to call this my little cocoon, and much as it feels like it, I know it won’t be this way forever. Change is always around bubbling under, waiting to spring out one little surprise after another. But until then, I should probably just focus on what we still have. For all the maddening traffic, all the infrastructure challenges and the governance nightmares in the world cannot stop the sun from sinking down every evening, or the skies from playing along. And as long as that remains unchanged, I will wait and watch.
And if all else fails, there’s always cake.