Saturday, January 20, 2007

Goa -- VI

The sixth, and final, exciting episode of a four day trip to Goa undertaken by thirteen people not long ago

To continue, we left Mayem lake after feeling, collectively, that the visit was, all things considered, a waste of time. Swaroop G Ramachandra was driving the rather ordinary Maruti 800. Naveen L F Menezes was driving the speedy Maruti Zen. Again, six healthy-eating people occupied the interiors of the Maruti 800 while five hefty men inhabited the Zen. And away they zoomed.

They drove like they would never drive again. And Swaroop almost didn't, the way he drove. 120 seemed to be the minimum speed to drive at. The roads in and around Panaji are magnificent and it is a sheer pleasure to operate a vehicle on them. Swaroop raced again, Naveen caught up and overtook, affronted by Swaroop's insolence with a less powerful car. Swaroop then resorted to insane manoeuvres, swerving around a truck at a 100 kmph with a car coming towards him fast in the opposite direction. Naveen said "Eh, what the hell is he doing?!! Subba huccha aagidane!" and proceeded to do much the same thing himself.

By now, Swaroop had disappeared far ahead of us, with Arvind giving up all hope of ever making a safer driver out of Swaroop, ceasing altogether the practice of backseat driving(for the afternoon) and clinging to the people on either side of him and praying for the best. Naveen proceeded at the leisurely pace of 100 kmph, allowing us to gaze at the scenic beauty around us(speedily disappearing fields of low grass). And then came the turn. There was a long curve on the highway and Naveen wanted to slow down in order that he may take the turn. Instead of stepping on the brakes, however, he, as per his account, stepped heavily on the accelerator. The car screamed forward and the tyres begged for mercy. Too late to brake now, Naveen just let the car go at the speed it was now at, merely steering it around the curve. The car swerved dangerously round the long curve, threatening to go off two of its wheels at any moment. Then, it released itself from the grasp of the centrifugal force and resorted to going on in a straight line, as the road righted itself. For a moment, everyone was silent. Everyone knew what had just not happened.

Then Vishnu spoke.
"Dude, what's wrong with you, man?"

I think we all laughed at that; I don't remember now. The very relevant question posed at such a critical moment seemed kind of incongruous to the gravity of the situation. Very wry.

Had Naveen braked at any point, the car would have toppled off balance, spun a few times and landed heavily on its roof, ostensibly, and injured/killed all of us. The curve was mercifully long and not narrow(this seems like a salacious description of male genitalia) and the car was not upturned.

Now Harish spoke.
"Nangenu bhaya-ne aaglilla!"
This was incredibly funny, for some reason. Harish had held tight to the handle by the front door and looked out the front windshield when the car was in danger of being upended, face taut and grim as death. For the length of the dangerous swerve, not a sound had escaped him. Now, after all was right and safe, a comment. Nice.

After this, what? Why, Colva beach, of course. "Let's all go there," many suggested, "that's a famous beach we haven't been to." In strong opposition to this, the naysayers, led by Miss Kashyap and ably backed, I suspect, by Karthik D, Praveen K K and Harish N Kumar, swung swiftly into action. "No, let's go to Panaji," they said. This didn't make too much sense to the proposing party and they said, "But we've just come from there. We've seen it; doesn't make sense to go back there." To which the opposing party replied, "No we're tired let's go back we haven't had lunch see how we're not even punctuating oh God it's hot hey who took my virginity"
Sandeep was heard, at this point, muttering threats to slap some people. He was among us who wanted to go to Colva beach.

It's all downhill from here. Not much excitement, owing to (the fact that there is) not much alcohol in the subsequent part of the story. The evening of the 25th was very pleasant, though. We went to Miramar beach(Gaspar dias), after lunch, and played football. Playing football on sand can be very tiring, if you didn't know. Despite this, we played and O we were tired! Tired as the thirsty tern who flies for months on end in the course of his stupid migration. There isn't much else we did after the football, except go back, buy kernels(cashew, not Linux. Those latter ones are free) and alcohol(Sandeep, I think, bought alcohol for about 2000 bucks. Respect.), perform our every-trip ritual of totalling up how much each of us had to pay(to someone else in the group) on tissue paper and mourn sadly about how it had come to an end already.

December 26th, Tuesday

Bus to Vasco. Naveen breaks bottle of flavoured milk in Panaji bus stand. Shopkeeper duly collects 12 rupees for bottle. On bus, Sandeep takes pictures of everybody. Captured in pictures are people in caps and children. Vasco. Lunch. "Train to Londa will leave at 3:10." Praveen, Swaroop and Sandeep proceed to Vasco harbour. Take unnecessarily large number of pictures of ships rusted or under construction. As a result, miss healthy lunch at hotels and are forced to eat seedless grapes out of paper covers. Train to Londa very punctuated in progress. Very frequent stops. Puts travellers in fear that they will miss the Bangalore train. Reasons the chronicler, they would have scheduled the departure times so that people from this train can catch that one. Pictures of Dudhsagar waterfalls taken on the way. Naveen and I sit upon the steps of the train on the wrong side, away from the scenery, and curse ourselves. Children are stupid in tunnels, yell unnecessarily. Londa. Bangalore train late. Good. Adventures with football. Football sent under stationary train by some idiot, retrieved. Further adventures pre-empted by middle-aged gentleman with advice against such behaviour on railway platforms. Advice-giving sadly not videographed. YouTube loses potentially hilarious video. A walk to the end of the platform. A devout touching of the signal. Bangalore train arrives. Ascent. All together now, no splitting up like in the onward journey, four days ago. Cards. "You must wind up now. It's midnight," says passing railway guard. With rifle, so is promptly obeyed. Dreams of an endless night on a windswept beach. With friends and football and frisbee and foreign females and fizzing alcohol.

December 27th, Wednesday

It is very nice to wake up on train at 6:30 in the morning and drink tea or coffee. It is even nicer to wake up people who don't really want to wake up; but you wake them up anyway because you are worried they have died. It is nice to sit about and collectively reminisce about the trip that was, without speaking, like a One-Mind. It is better to do so speaking.

We arrived in Bangalore, hearts heavy with the sadness that accompanies the realization that one needs to return to work in two hours. This trip had been the most expensive one we had undertaken. It had also been, in hindsight, the most eventful one. And the first one with such a lot of alcohol and regurgitation.

It was like whisky, this vacation to Goa. While we were experiencing it, we didn't realize how much fun it was. But afterwards, the 'kick' and subsequent hangover really set in. The whole day, at work, I could not help but think about this or that which had happened during the trip. Of course, Jayakrishna Limaye's("Now who is this guy??" you ask? Why, he's JK, of course. My buddy, man, come on, man! The man from this episode, to all ye not in the know.) merciless ribbing of Vani Shetty, for some reason or the other(due to which much hilarity ensues, every day), can put you out of any kind of nostalgia or bad mood and make you join in the madness(yes, this happens in office every working day, without fail). Still, this trip kept coming to mind that day. It still does, after so many days. Running to catch the train, the magic of an overnight journey on a train, arriving in Goa, beaches, alcohol, friends puking, friends dropping you from the team which went to an exotic bazar, Aunty Maria's, coffee during Happy Hour, chocolate truffle too, a gala time, forts and more beaches, people on banana boat rides, people regaling you with continuous recitals of their banana boat ride experiences("Tumba channagittu, banana boat ride-u."), waterscooter rides, being accosted by pimps on beaches, character-building through refusal of voice-and-data-integrated services offered by pimps, going to a church at midnight, ringing in the birthday of Christ, Christmas masses in Konkani, learning that friends have middle names "Lee Francis," mad rides to old basilicas at 1 AM, parking cars in inquisitive positions, screeching turns, football and frisbee on beach, tallying totals on tissue paper, trains to come back home.

In these little accounts, I've hoped to present as factually incorrect and glamourized a picture of our vacation as possible. No, actually, I tried to put it down so I would read it, years later, and remember fondly how I was offered a lady's love in exchange for a paltry sum of money(And what is money, after all? A trivial materialistic pursuit, in the face of greater things.) and how, inexplicably, I refused. I have apparently made some factual errors and glamourized it a bit. I have also made, allegedly, Vishnu sound like a redneck who always says "Dude," Arvind seem like a control freak who derives great pleasure in driving people insane through incessant backseat driving and intentionally leaving out good friends while going to exotic bazars, Harish sound like someone who has no control over what he says or how he snores and Sneha seem like an idiot. All these are atleast partially true, I assure you. Vishnu does say "Dude" a lot, Arvind can drive you insane with the backseat driving, Harish has been caught on video doing unsavoury things(snoring, you dolts) and Sneha did act like an idiot when she was drunk. But maybe I did go overboard with some "artistic license" and the italicization in the previous sentence. I have been advised not to do such things("Stop moping about that bazar"). I apologize. It was just that I enjoyed this trip very much and couldn't help being carried away while thinking about it sometimes.

It was something very special.

9 comments:

freak said...

"With friends and football and frisbee and foreign females and fizzing alcohol." - lovely alliteration

Harish said...

Aytu.

Arjun Sharma said...

[freak]Grazie, signor, grazie!

[Harish]He he, iru, Subba-na jote neeru kalstini.

Sandeep said...

HA HA!!! Aytu, ante. Brilliant!! Obbobbne joragi nagtidini, on the other other side of the Arabian sea.


[Arjun] Olle post-appa. Last para odi, joragi alu bandbidtu nange.

Sneha Divakar said...

Olle Muktaya!!!!
best sentence= "but you wake them up anyway because you are worried they have died."

Harish said...

Hrishikesh Mukherjee film tara, you have made people laugh and cry almost at the same time in this post.

swaroop said...

This might make it to the New York #1. Janakke olle entertainment kottideera. Thrilling, exciting, hilarious and what not.

swaroop said...

Clear, concise, apt aagi Dec 26th mugsideera. I liked it. It was different.

Arjun Sharma said...

[Sandeep]Aa'alla, ma'a!! Attbidu joragi, naan heltini.

Innen other side of Arabian sea, bandaytalla?

[Sneha]He he, sometimes, you actually get that worry, you know?

[Harish]Sari.

[Swaroop]Maybe that was because it was in italics.