Something strange happened when I was away. I can’t say how much of it was caused by sheer circumstance, because as soon as I landed in TN I lost data on my phone and by the time we drove down to the Chettinadu region, I lost all network. This turned my phone into a camera. A very effective one, no less, but apart from that my phone went quiet, and remained largely ignored as a communication device. We had wifi in some parts of our room, but was strongest outside the door, and required me to hang around precariously either outside in the corridor or just inside, which I just couldn’t be bothered to do. I took upwards of 150-200 pictures over the 3 days we were there, and when I was finally back in a wifi area when we drove back to R’s home in Madras, I just didn’t feel like sharing any pictures from the trip.
I’m a self-confessed rabid instagrammer. I justify my over-sharing. So for me, this is a first. But I quickly realised it’s because the holiday left me so incredibly satisfied. I was just full, happy, pleased, satiated, and I wanted to just keep it that way without letting any of it dissipate.
It’s hard to find that kind of near perfection when you’re travelling with friends. To match wavelengths, interests, energy levels and enthusiasm is always a challenge, even amongst the closest people. But this trip was just perfection. R was on a mission to tick off all the things we’d built on the list of that long-proposed Madras-trip that we have been building up for upwards of 4 years now! S and I have an insatiable hunger (literally and figuratively) for all things bright, colourful, flavourful and worth travelling for, we’ve discovered, so there wasn’t much to discuss or convince each other about as far as the itinerary goes. We were somehow all just equally gung-ho and raring to go.
Most of all, it helped that the three of us were equally easy going and not too finicky about the tiny details of the trip. Yes, one of us may have, ahem, made an excel sheet for some peace of mind, and it acted as a checklist of things worth seeing and doing. But aside from that we just went with the flow and did thigns we felt like quite spontaneously, and somehow still managed to do it all without feeling like it was a hectic trip with too much packed in.
I sorely missed (the other) S because that would have added an extra edge of madness to the motley mix, and taken the fun up several notches, for sure. R graciously hosted us in Madras and did such a banging job of it, it’s going to be hard to top that when she visits me next. She gave us her car to drive to Chettinadu and back, which really made a world of a difference to the logistics of exploring the region. She was our official mouth piece, speaking tirelessly in Tamil to waiters, asking for directions along the way, speaking to the hotel staff, sniffing out the little dirty details and nooks and corners of the place that we wanted to see – and the trip just wouldn’t have been as easy without her.
We’re constantly talking about how hard it is to find meaningful, solid friendships in adulthood. I have felt the dearth of it too at some points in the past, and yet somehow I am suddenly at this point in time, constantly surrounded by lively, warm, loving friends who fill so many different spaces with just the right kind of life. Time and again, I am reminded of how my friends tick off so many boxes, even the ones I take for granted in their everyday-ness, and the truth is I don’t need too many more.
Being in Goa, my home has turned into the destination for many a girly trip and while I have played host several times, I haven’t done too many girly trips away. It was oddly liberating, for the three of us driving down a silky highway, and I may have tasted this mildly addictive kind of travel bug of the woman-kind.
Here’s to doing this more often.