the weekend began on thursday night. akshu, niyu, vc and i had a quiet drunken escapade that went well into the night. there was conversation, laughter, discussions about creativity, finding your passion, hindu-muslim rivalry, smoking vs not smoking and so much more than i cant even recollect because of the copious amounts of alcohol that we consumed. oh, and there was dessert at the marriot. that i cannot forget. i really wish i had a picture to capture the evening, because it really was the reunion that hasnt happened in years now. akshu has silently grown up over the years (i know this sounds like an aunty-statement, but for someone who has vivid memories of him in his diapers and a face full of drool, its overwhelming to be sitting across a table, sharing grown up conversation over drinks with him) and niyu is alays more cut away in bombay, than i would like things to be. so coming together is good. coming together is special. and when theres alcohol to go with it, whos complaining?
before i begin to sound alcoholic (if i dont already!) i must quickly say that i woke up with a touch of a hangover and decided to abstain from alcohol for the next..erm..6 hours at least. the hangover didnt deter the spirit. akshu, niyu and i drove down to anjuna. there, much to my horror, curlies was the only shack open. the sun shone high, the waves crashed upon the shore and a neat row of sun beds were snugly covered with foreigners of various shapes, sizes and states of undress. us indians were asked to pay for the sun beds. fuck you, curlies. the next time i will go back to shiva valley, where the shack boys smile, recommend what you should try and bring you the freshest watermelon juice.
so of course there was the regular order of watermelon juice, kingfisher beer and butter-garlic calamari. juice for me, to refresh my soul. and the beer for the kids, whose capacity for alcohol knocks my pants off.
the rest of the afternoon was spent swimming, which i have realized i love to do. theres very few things that can compare with the feeling of floating lifelessly and letting the waves take you along. literally relax, let go and float along. and theres very few places you can do that without feeling unsafe. anjuna is one of those places. when i wasnt swimming, i was reading. i have so much reading to catch up on its not funny.
i also caught niyu in one of her usual contemplative moods.
its the sea, i tell you. theres something about it. and the two of us have a special connection with the sea, the sand, the sun, the beach. an affinity i cant fathom, so i cant explain. the sea transforms me into a placid, happy creature.
friday night was dinner at home. with the fast becoming regular feature: g&t of course. one too many, perhaps. but interesting company and conversation flowed. kheema and pav for dinner, even though sirish and vc did such a good job of weeding out the peas from their plates and dumping them in mine. and there was even goan home-brewed choco-mint liqueur to be had after dinner. i was beyond satisfied.
saturday came sooner than anticipated. and the husband went off to work. but did that stop niyu and me? no. off we went. on sirish’s recommendation, we went way north. to a place iv never been. iv never driven that far out. it was a long and beautiful drive. but boy was it worth it!
after the hectic scene at the “touristy” beaches of north goa, arambol was a welcome change. one lonely shack perched in a corner of the widest, quietest and longest beaches i have seen in goa, was where we chose to settle. there was a friendly nepali waiter who brought us cold coffees, fish fingers and fries. there were fit hippies doing yoga, hot greek men and women, beautiful fish, refreshingly powerful yet gentle waves to engulf you, and the best part: an overcast sky. being on a beach when the sun is hidden behind a canopy of thick cloud cover is the most amazing feeling. the heat isnt oppressive, the light isnt blinding, the light all around is warm and fuzzy and it makes swimming an absolute joy.
there was some beer. some wandering around watching pretty fish, crab art and the best part of it all: i made a come back of sorts. its been months, probably more than a year since i looked through a viewfinder. took a few photographs and enjoyed it. i guess it has everything to do with having a camera all to yourself. having company thats interested in doing the same things and a peaceful beautiful day lying in front of you.
leaving wasnt easy. when youre over-relaxed, that tends to happen. the feet dont move. the head doesnt want to lift itself and the eyes dont want to look up and face the road going home.
just when i thought this was the perfect way to go into a peaceful sunday, ravi sent us an sms about a bbq party at his place on sunday afternoon. going empty handed would be foolish. so acting quickly, niyu and i whipped up a makeshift tandoori marinade and stuck a whole lot of chicken in it. vc armed himself with a crate of beer. since this was our first time at tandoori, i slept with my fingers crossed.
sunday was gorgeous. just enough sunlight to need shades and feel warm. but a sky filled with grey clouds and a gentle breeze.
the bbq was set up. and there was fish wrapped in banana leaves, chicken cafreal, my tandoori, two other kinds of chicken, prawn in parsley and garlic, paneer, tomato and feta cheese salad..and of course a ton of beer.
and instead of running for cover, we decided to dance. and stay out in the rain as much as possible.
what followed was complete debauchery, as the whole lot of us (rain-soaked and drenched to our bloody bones) jumped into (or got pushed into..whichever way you’d like to look at it) the swimming pool. with good food, beer, rain, music and a swimming pool, the sunday afternoon couldnt have been much more fun. no pictures of the last very wet bit, unfortunately.
we went home drenched of course. but with a buzz in the head. a weedy high hanging over us. and the satisfaction of a sunday well spent.
but. it. wasnt. over. yet. not for us.
ditched by various others who claimed they would join in because they were either busy being/feeling old, or coining up new excuses to squirm out of the invite, niyu, vivek and i drove down to soul souffle. because they make heavenly mojitos. and had them we did. soul souffle has what can definitely be called the best continental food iv had in all my months sent in goa. great ambience, nice setting in the middle of virtually nowhere, yummy mojitos, good food, amazing caramel custard. oh, yes, self timed photography too..
photo credits: niyu upadhya, myself (via the new camera and the useless phone) and sirish.