I was working for MSN and then came a golden opportunity to move to the bigger and brighter part of our organization. I had topped the stack ranking at work and with my qualification backing me I was made this offer which I eagerly took. My friends at MSN decided to make it memorable for me. We planned a trip to Goa before I moved on to a new role and city. This was way back in 2005. This account is from my memory and not so fresh so I move randomly between the sequence of events.
We started by the morning Konkan railway train and landed in Goa by afternoon. On the train S and some others did wild things. We promptly disowned them. Couple of hours later those idiots were telling us about the highs. S was running up and down hazy looking stairs. L was lost in time. R felt emotional. It was thoroughly disgusting to see them behave this way. I tried telling S the perpetrator, but he brushed me off saying he was going to Goa and this was just the begining. After which I really did not stop him. Hell its his life! L did behave her self most of the time later.
Our guides were D and S the true Goans. We had lunch at an airy restaraunt. P went all out to try to taste everyones drink, the result she plonked on the table. I guess I was the only sober one there and these guys decided to freak out as I was there to take care of them.
We moved on to Vagator Beach. Everyone one was dying to get on to the beach as we reached there. Couldn't miss the sunset.
The boys played in the sea. That night we were very tired so went to bed early. The next morning woke up and went to see the sun rise on the beach. Then played a game of throwball without a net and it turned into a rough game of hurling the ball at each other. We were staying in a typical Vaadi/ orchard near the beach. All the cottages were covered with a canopy of trees. It was a very beautiful place. We had rented out 4 cottages and 4 people had to share a room. It was the first time in my life I was on an overnight trip with friends. Sharing a bed with 4 girls was something I had done only with cousins.
Mid morning post breakfast we went tp Vagator fort, yes the one made famous by Dil Chahta Hai. The fort is in shambles, yet the view from there is amazing. The cool blue sea, the golden sand and the breeze in your face is something you have to experience. We found a nice big rock and leaning against it made our self as comfortable as a king.
We returned to the hotel for lunch and then decided to go to Baga Beach for the evening. We were playing in the sea and doing all the gang things. The girls held hands and did group diving. The guys were a little ahead deeper in the sea. Suddenly a huge wave came and hit on us. S smart ass, explained "When all the guys decided to fart together it caused a mini tsunami." There were peels of laughter and unwanted attention from our guys. In this bout I lost support and tumbled in the water, shouting out help! help! It was so much fun and frolic. It has remained in my memory as the best time I have ever had with friends. Meanwhile on the beach chairs A sat with L, who was the only one dressed sexily in shorts, though appropriate for the beach a little too much for our guys to handle and then she didn't even come into the sea. So when I got back to the beach chair I took pictures of them that gave everyone ideas of what those 2 were doing there. Poor A! He was torn to bits later.
We then did some shopping for wrap on skirts and Goa T-shirts. meanwhile V had disappeared. We knew he had gone for a massage or may be some beach fun ;). After a good 1 hr of cursing, he appeared all rejuvenated out of nowhere. Everyone pestered him to know where he had been.
In the 2 nights and 3 days we were trying to pack in a lot of fun so a visit to Ingo's Saturday night market was the next thing to do but before that we had dinner at a local restaraunt cum pub. The place was dark to the point that could not make out head or tail of the decor. It looked very christmasy to me. I was taking pictures and the flash managed to capture some erotic mughal paintings on the wall.
Ingo's is a wonderful experience to roam around in the gypsy market. The night comes alive with a mela selling trinkets, handicrafts, food. It was here that I first tasted Cheesecake made by a Greek lady. The cusine is varied. A lot of tourists who run out of money when they come to Goa set up stalls to sell their stuff or cook up delicacies from around the world. It is all there Italian, French, English.The highlight at Ingo's is the music. Many bands perform here for free. That corner of the market is almost like an open disco or a theatre. The sound systems are great for a set up which does not charge you a penny. We returned early morning next day to our cottages.
The day that followed was a lazy one, after the late night. Some goofing around the resort and catching up on the sleep for another night of fun is what we did.
Our last night in Goa was something I will never forget for mixed reasons. In the two nights spent in and around Goa we noticed a lighthouse like light flashing around from a hill. We found out it was Club Cubana, so everyone wanted to check it out. As we entered the club and got ourselves stamped we were noticing that the theme that night was Cats! Some Russian and Europeans girls dressed in black with whiskers and tails brushed past the guys. Our guys completely freaked out. Everyone took their drinks and settled around a large table. The guys oggling the Cats. P was getting restless as she heard the disco music crank up. Some of them went to the dance floor on the higher level of the Arpora Hill which is home to Club Cubana.
This time A decide to be sober seeing the night's theme was something he could not handle. N downed tequila shots one after another. Finally asking for more of the free lemonade cocktail. I was observing they gathered all the half drunk glasses and poured it into a huge tank. Wondering if they recycled it!! Yuck!! N was drunk and was wondering why I was not talking to him. He was shivering so I gave him my jacket.
A and me started exploring the club. It had the most amazing night views of Goa. As the lighthouse light rotated from the club's pinnacle the flashes let you take in the glimpses of the towns at the foothills. We finally found a nice bench to rest our selves on after the nice walk away from the din yet close to where our friends were dancing, two Europeans broke into a scuffle. One hard punch and one of them fell near my feet. His white shirt covered in blood from a bleeding nose. I freaked out and A tried to be very protective and calmed me down.He is such a sweet guy. We then went looking for the rest of our friends. They were talking to some foriegners who were sitting in the Morocan tents. Those looked amazing with lanterns and gas lit pole lamps. The cool air was refreshing everyones mood. Finally I started gathering everyone together, half the crowd drunk now and my duty as the sober member was to herd them into the two cars we had hired and take them to our resort to catch a nap. It was day break already and we had an afternoon train to catch.
On the train back to Mumbai, we were a group so closely bound that it made us inseparable for the next few months. When I left my team and moved on many were very emotional. I had never experienced such closeness before with friends at work and with such a big group.
This Goa trip also brought back memories of a past trip. I had lost my mother that year in 1994 and so in Jan 1995 I took my Dad to Goa. It was the time when Damania's operated the Catamaran between Mumbai and Goa. It was our first trip together as a father daughter and sponsored by me:). I still remember the Catamaran ticket had costed Rs.1100, and the service was like flight service. We missed Mom but it also built a stronger bond between us. What made the trip more memorable is meeting my schoolmate Fatima and her parents after a decade. Uncle had lost sight but just hearing my hellos he almost yelped with joy, "it is Anjali Koli!" The searching for Fatima and Charao Island, crossing the Mandovi in a barge, is etched in my memory for ever.
Goa whether wild or sweet memories does have a special place in my heart.