Day 137: And the stars look very different today

Goa vignettes to steer my mind way from Karnataka election madness.

Two years ago: Day 137: Who do I think I am?

Advertisements

Day 131: Please don’t go

Postcard from Goa 7.

MAJOR GOA WITHDRAWALS IN PROGRESS.

I promise to stop this pcture posting standing in for actual writing now. And let normal programming resume on Monday.

(I think.)

Two years ago: Day 131: Summer evenings

Day 130: Simple things

Postcard from Goa 8.

Aaaand. It’s done.

I suppose this ought to feel really good, but the darn thing took so much longer than anticipated, and had so many untoward delays, and the waiting has taken forever, that neither VC nor I knew what to feel when we were handed the key.

I’m grateful for everything that’s gone into making this possible. Mostly for VC, because on my own, left to my own antics, I’m not sure I’d get down to doing anything to own a little place of my own.

Now, to let that sink in a bit.

Two years ago: Day 130: April

Day 129: What are they talking about, on the weekends?

Postcards from Goa 6.

All things considered, all said and done, there’s something so deeply compelling about how much I slow down in Goa. I know these are pictures of not the average “everyday occurences”, and not indicative of regular day to day life in Goa, but I’ve observed how much my being slows down, slips into an ease of pace that requires no rush.

I’m grateful for the chance for a year away to come back and appreciate all that I had grown to ignore towards the end of my last stint in Goa.

Second chances are rather life changing. I highly recommend them.

Day 128: Sweet dreams are made of these

Postcards from Goa 5.

Duffer dogs are the sweetest dogs. Today’s pictures and this one from a few days ago, feature three of the sweetest, most human puppies I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Two years ago: Day 128: Retrograde rant

Day 127: Another day, just breathe

Postcard from Goa 4.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to exploit the spoils of my line of work and get some downtime with Niyu.

Two years ago: Day 127: That urban poverty piece that has errrebody’s panties in a bunch

Day 124: I’ve been saving this time

Postcard from Goa.

For the fourth time now, coming back to Goa has made me feel like I never left. It’s a comforting, welcoming feeling to know I can belong and yet have the distance I sought last year.

In the coming week, we will hopefully be tying up the loose ends on the home we now have here and much of this idea of feeling at home in two cities, both places, will probably begin to feel like reality rather than pipe-dreams.

It’s very serendipitous for me to note that I came back here to do two very crucial pieces of work (as far as moving forward in life goes) — finalise our home and do a two day workshop for the course I’m doing — on the very same date that I traveled to pack up my Goa life last year.

This feels like Im settling open ends and making new beginnings. And sometimes that comes with a second coming too, I suppose. As with much of my life, I’m welcoming and accepting the place for second chances and looking back at things if they present themselves, without letting old feelings and aversions cloud my judgement.

Basking in a spot of sunshine, I realise that this could very well have been a time to reminisce all that could have been, and instead it’s about all that is. And that shift is such a gift.

Two years ago: Day 124: Kangana Ranaut’s crash-course in honesty, feminism and empathy

Day 120: Looking back, over my shoulder

Feeling all kinds of aching heart looking at this Goodbye-Goa video that VC* made, pinched out of this post from same time last year, right after I wrote this post last week, and sent out a version of it as a newsletter** last night. Clearly, the melancholy hasn’t lifted. All weekend I’ve been running over a world of feelings and thoughts about home, about second chances, about belonging and about roots.

Right this moment, if someone were to present an opportunity to go back to Goa, I’d up and GO!

***

There’s also this video from our holiday in Sri Lanka, from this post two years ago. And it fills my heart with a longing to go back to this country I couldn’t get enough of, even after three trips.

https://player.vimeo.com/api/player.js

***

Tomorrow, I will finish another whole year of being alive and clocking a circle around the big ol’ sun. In true Type A fashion (the vestiges still remain, and crop up time and time again reminding me I have still some more work to do) I’ve been feeling all omg-time-is-flying and putting that quintessential what-have-I-done-this-year pressure on myself. I wish I’d remember the hard-won wisdom I’ve stumbled on before, rather than keep slipping back to conventional and useless ways of measuring my days.

But right in time, just when I needed a reminder, N sent me this beautiful article last week about living long. More importantly, living well.

And surprise, surprise, the answer does not lie in eating better, exercising or any such thing, but in looking at our relationship with time, and what we do with what’s left of it.

If the goal is to have a longer life, whatever the dieticians may urge, it seems like the priority should not be to add raw increments of time but to ensure that whatever years remain feel appropriately substantial. The aim should be to densify time rather than to try to extract one or two more years from the fickle grip of Death.

Once again, a reminder to focus on quality, not quantity. On what I want to feel, rather than the stuff I think I want to fill my days with. On living mindfully, and with intention.

Every word in the article resonated, and had me longing for the wonder of childhood, when time stretched, even as it was filled with endless discoveries. Such a sharp contrast to adult years where every year seems like it’s flying by faster than the previous one and time is always short.

As I turn 34 tomorrow, I’m going to re-examine and add a resolution or two for the year ahead. This seems like a sane advice to go by.

We should be aiming to lead lives that feel long because we have managed to imbue them with the right sort of open-hearted appreciation and unsnobbish receptivity, the kind that five-year-olds know naturally how to bring to bear. We need to pause and look at one another’s faces, study the evening sky, wonder at the eddies and colours of the river and dare to ask the kind of questions that open our souls. We don’t need to add years; we need to densify the time we have left by ensuring that every day is lived consciously – and we can do this via a manoeuvre as simple as it is momentous: by starting to notice all that we have as yet only seen.

***

It’s getting impossibly hot. The only respite has been mangoes, fresh juice every morning thanks to my mother, and light dinners of roasted veg and salad.

Like some lunatic, I’m headed to Goa. Mad heat aside, I’m really, really aching for not just time away from this city, but specifically time in Goa. I’m going for a small bit of work for the course I’m doing. And hopefully amidst the sea, sun and sand, with friends I’ll keep practicing going with the flow and figure out what belonging everywhere and nowhere at once means, what turning older has in store for me, and how much I can bend time.

*If you’d like to see more video work done by VC, commission us some work or recommend us to someone who is looking to tell stories through film, head to our website, follow us on Instagram or browse our portfolio.
**If you’d like to subscribe to more verbal diarrhoea and navel gazing via my newsletter, head here: https://tinyletter.com/HaathiTime/

Two years ago: Day 120: Birthday weekend in progress

Day 78: People say I should forget

R was apparently listening to the Dev D soundtrack on Apple music last week. And the sneaky little tool announces it to the whole world. So of course I hopped on and gave it a listen early this morning.

I suppose that’s the point. Listening to the album was like closing my eyes and taking a free-fall into the past. Diving headlong, into the abyss of the way we were (Thank you Barbara Streisand).

There’s some music that I will always, always associate with my life in Goa. Just like there’s certain other music that will only always remind me of growing up in Bangalore. My music memory archive is tagged by phases in my life and there’s actually very little overlap between them, each phase having its own distinct soundtrack so to speak.

So now, when a song or track triggers a memory, it’s one very specific time. Sometimes a particular phase, but often times I can drill it down to a particular event. As insignificant as a drive home from the supermarket, sometimes. No other reason to really remember it or retain it, allowing it to hog shelf space in my mind. But it’s there, simply because of how the music playing, either in my car or on my computer, at work or at home, or at a party, has framed it for posterity.

And so it was that I listened to the Dev D soundtrack again, after something like six or seven years. And it took me right back to year one in Goa. I had this pendrive loaded with the most random — some would say eclectic — selection of music, specifically for my car. It had to cover all bases — driving music, upbeat stuff, a touch of trashy pop, some classics and favourites like Coke Studio and other very disjointed singles that Id just taken a fancy for. It had everything from Dave Matthews Band to Dev D so you can probably gather its purpose.

So listening to the soundtrack the other day, specifically this track, nostalgia scooped me into her arms and took me back to that first monsoon, an extra dark night thanks to a city wide power cut.

We had friends over for dinner but fed up waiting for the power to come back, we decided to go out and drive. In the pouring rain. As we got into the car and set off, this was the first track that came on. And all of us — VC, S, J and I — were silent. No talking, just listening to its hauntingly heady beat and that silly “my/by God” refrain.

The streets were inky black, silky swift and all the while the storm howled on. There’s something cinematic about the memory etched in my mind. My black car bumping along the then Miramar highway, with its quaint streetlights (that we’re off) the median with ghosty lanky trees swaying in the rain, all only lightly magically illuminated by our far from adequate headlamps.

We took it in, in silence. The song, louder in my head than it really was.

And all these years later, when the memory of it bubbles up to the surface, triggered by the opening chords of the song, the evening plays out like a scene from a movie, untouched in my mind. And the song, it just as loud.

Two years ago: Day 78: Abandon

Acceptance is a small, quiet room

About my post earlier this week: I see I’ve come full circle, from this post I wrote a year ago that echoes much the same feelings, albeit in an entirely different context and environment.

Acceptance. Peace. Contentment. Call it what you will – it doesn’t need the perfect situation. It doesn’t even need most things to be just right. It needs just the right things to work, and a little faith, is all.

It almost never comes with bells ringing and celebrations of pomp. It comes silently. Quietly. Sometimes when you’re all alone.

Illustrating my point exactly.

And while you’re at it, check out this post too.

Same time, last year: Day 320: One day in Bangkok (or day one in Bangkok)

More Goa postcards: walking through Mapusa Market

Easily one of my most favourite things to do in Goa was visiting the Friday market in Mapusa. Few things invigorate me like a market full of fresh produce can. And our visit to this one churned up all kinds of nostalgic and mixed emotions about how far away I am from the simplicity and luxury of this: going to a market this abundant, lush and thriving, where I can buy things straight from the makers/growers themselves.

Le sigh.

Filed under #youwinsomeyoulosesome

Goa mornings like way I like them: chai <3
Goa mornings the way I like them: letting my nose guide me through the piles of produce on a Friday at Mapusa market
Goa mornings the way I like them: bathed in a crisp, blindingly bright October light

Same time, last year: Day 305: Light and life

More Goa postcards: yellow

Walking through Fontainhas always gives me a sense of stillness. Like time stopped for a bit, and then picked up again, but the effects of that lag, those missed moments linger on indefinitely. Casting a cliche old-world hue, not just on the way the place looks, but energy it carries. I always feel like I can feel right to my bones, the yars and years of lives, histories and experiences that these buildings, little streets, tiny shuttered windows opening on to groaning balconies must have witnessed.

If I had one word to describe the afternoon we spent back in Fontainhas, it would have to be S T I L L.

And then there’s the beach of course. It doesn’t get more Goa than this. Peachy sun-kissed sunsets, a lilt in the air, beach dogs befriending you and succeeding effortlessly, and the smell of seafood and tandoori everything in the air as the shacks get set for dinner service.

After this trip, where every dog that passed us made a beeline for VC, and instantly struck a friendship and unreal levels of intimacy with him, I’m convinced he might be a dog whisperer.

Same time, last year: Day 301: Notes to self

More Goa postcards: blue

Assuaging my separation angst and  bittersweet Goa feelings (sadness at some of the things I witnessed and internalised, and happiness to have it as a perpetual part of my life) with an uber-touristy mini series to share the rest of my snaps from Goa. I’m going to be lazy and double post them straight of Instagram, on here.

Beautiful, beautiful, Goa — have I mentioned how wonderful it is to be at this vantage point? Of having enough distance, and time between us to let all the dissatisfaction simmer down, and yet be able to return (as a visitor) to find that same familiarity and intimacy still remains? And better still to now be a return visitor, and find a sense of almost-possessiveness, belonging and near-heartbreaking fury and inability to accept even the slightest change? To know that I can flit between the two states, and still feel at home? To be able to see everything differently. To compare, to open my eyes to perspectives previously unnoticed, to feel that gentle throbbing of my heart that still beats for the life you gave me?

Haiiiii – This is ReRe reporting from homeland! In all my years of living in Goa, I never ventured in to Calangute proper. And somehow, this time around, circumstances ensured that we lived smack in the middle of Calangute for six whole days.
Day 1 opened with serene beginnings. And a string of breakfast buffets that would slowly but surely break me. And the healthy food plan I’ve been on. The only saving grace? A swim here, every evening, after sunset.
On day 2, we set off to catch this church in the golden hour of the AM. But it was shrouded in mist which gave it an eerie atmosphere. Also pictured in here is my favourite partner. In life. And have I mentioned now at work too?!
Day 3 escapades took us to this beach that’s predominantly a fishing village. We’ve cycled here very often and it used to be one of the nicest, beaches in the north, pretty cut off from the humdrum. This time though, it was one giant festering toilet, with human fecal matter covering pretty much every square inch, for as far as the eye can see. It infuriated me to have to dodge shit piles to get out and get our work done, until I realised these fishermen were working there too. Smiles on their faces. Dogs romped and cows lolled about on the shitty sands too. Surely this isn’t a choice for these fishermen, I imagined. Nobody would *choose* it, this is what insurmountable circumstances look like. Nothing bursts my bubble of privilege than a reality check like this. Someone want to take the Chief Minister or Modiji down there for a walk? Not a dustbin or bathroom in sight for miles on end. Pretty sure there’s issues with running water too. 
Back at the beach, at a different time of day on day 4. And the colours in the magic hours between 4.30 and 6 are always all kinds of amazing.
On our last day out, I went to what seemed to be one of the nicest azulejos stores of the many many stores Ive been to. Deceptively small but has a delightful variety of things made from using these tiles creatively, for a very decent price too. Custom name boards etc still take ridiculously long (and I wonder why nobody’s figured out a way to work this out faster) but you’ll find a lot of other things worth taking back from your holiday. Head to Azulejos de Goa on MG Road in Panjim. It’s in a little alley like entrance set back from the main road, right opposite Clube Nacionale.

Same time, last year: Day 300: Three hundred