With every trip I take, stepping out of home, my fondness for Goa and its quirky ways grows even more. I know, this isn’t the first time I’m saying this. In fact I stand the risk of being quite the stuck record. But I can’t shake off this feeling, the ease with which Goa feels like home, the way every little thing I see outside reminds me of something back home, and how anything more than a day spent outside of Goa makes me want to go back. Every time I step out of this cosy bubble I am nestled within, my love for Goa grows. In every contrast, and in every similarity, I see what I have back home and how I have grown to take my life terribly for granted.
The openness, the greenery, the coconut tree-lines streets, with lush paddy fields on either sides, the beach just 10 minutes away, the 5-minute work-home commute, the simplicity, the smaller life, the lack of entertainment, the fewer things to do in life, the time to do what I want, the few friends, the possibility of every weekend being an awesome one. All of it.
The truth is, its turned me into a bit of a simpleton. My universe is smaller now. Simpler, still.
I may be saddled with work pressures and the like, but I still have time to ponder over amazing things like should I buy my veggies at the Taleigaon market or the Panjim market this weekend? My daily dilemmas are the like of should we take the car or the bike to work today? My idea of a good night out is an evening spent at home, with friends, food, board games, movies and the like. The lack of opportunities to shop (even for essentials) has killed what the almost nonexistent retail-slut in me. I don’t quite know how to say it, but my life here is less complicated. And I have gotten terribly used to it.
Which is why a trip to glass and steel riddled Hyderabad made me feel like a villager gawking at the awesome traffic, the monstrous malls, the glitzy streets speckled with innumerable stores and eateries. The public transport with people puring out of it. The palpable urgency that compels people to constantly rush around. The taxi driver who seemed hell-bent on wanting to kill us. The amazing way in which a city like Hyderabad seems to on one side retain a very traditional, home-grown feel, while straddling on the other side, this uncontrollable commercial monster, that’s about to explode and come into its own.
In Hyderabad I saw stark contrasts, and I realised that what the last two years in Goa has done, is actually evened out so much for me. I face less disparity. Less extremes. Less poverty. Less choice. Less space. Less options. Less people. Less worry of judgement. Less socialising. And I realised that that is what I appreciate the most. It has in a way narrowed down my focus to only what I think is important, filtering out all the unnecessary distractions I would otherwise have. In Bangalore, my life was about working to escape home. In my free time too, I wanted out. All I wanted to do was be out, meet friends, drink, eat and spend time on things outside the realm of home. I didn’t give myself the time to look within and focus on things I love. I always had a convenient ready excuse: I don’t find the time. But not here in Goa.
This is not to say Bangalore is responsible for the way my life was. But it definitely doesn’t take away from the fact that the energy in the city you live in, the people you meet every day, the vibes you exchange, all contribute to what you do and how you feel. And let’s just say Goa has been a much needed sieve of all things unnecessary. And that’s really what I value most about my life here. Despite having fewer options of everything, somehow I have a fuller life.