It all started with a massive downpour right after lunch yesterday. The ice cream in my hand was being plundered faster than it could melt. All because I wanted to rush off. Dash into the car and to the island. All before it stopped raining.
30 minutes, and a short ferry ride across the river later, we were in a land of freshly painted greens and hues of rain. It always blows my mind how all it takes is to go across the river, is enough to feel like you’re in a different world. They’re not kidding when they say, time really slows down on an island. The vibe dramatically changes. I feel like I’m in an Indian version of an Enid Blyton, with the cottage lines streets, a thick canopy of green weighed down by leftover rain.
Two wheels, lots of pedalling and circular winding roads, people smile as they cycle around. Some others sit outside their homes, bathed in pools of re-doxide patios of their old Portuguese homes, perfectly framed in arcs of bright blue and yellow. The thin translucent sea-shell work makes misty windows on petite homes with the delicate latticed eaves and cute little gardens in the front of the house. Everyone knows everyone. Waves and smiles abound. I suppose its the kind of place where you would never lock your front door. Where cycles are wheeled back home, the little shops roll their shutters down and the street lights go off by 8 pm. Where the crickets come out and birds go to sleep as soon as the sun goes down. Where you have to make sure you catch the last ferry back out, if you’re visiting from the other side of the river. Because when you do, it’s easy to have such whims. To want to momentarily escape and really be able to.
This morning, as I drove the husband to work, we turned off from out gully and hit the beach road, he had the kind of moment I do every now and then. Looking out at the sea is still sometimes surprising and overwhelming. You’d think that after living here for over 3 years it would begin to be normal. But every now and then it still takes my breath away. When I wipe away the layer of mundanity, every now and then it strikes me all over again, just how beautiful a city Panjim is and how wonderful it is to live here.
I’ve spoken time and again about the slow life. The simpler life. And yet, its not uncommon for us to want to escape it. To run off, even if for just a bit. To take a boat, cross a river, watch the sun set on an island. To pretend like it is a sunny summer day, to ignore the rain, and want to take a walk right through it. To want to momentarily wander off to a different world and actually, really be able to.