Day 1: Evening spent at Anjuna. All photos by Sunaina Patnaik.

Waking Up in Goa.

I always thought I was a little cuckoo about new places and new people as I like to look at them with rose tinted glasses, hoping there is something new left for me to discover, something that no one else has seen with their own eyes. So, even when I am surrounded by a lot of people, I am mostly alone, because my mind is over blowing the beauty of new places.

When I told my friends I was going to Goa in June, everyone warned me that I might not be able to do much because it’s an off-season. Or that a person like me who abhors crowds and noise can do pretty much nothing at Goa. Well, I came back from Goa with mixed feelings. Feelings that included how I loved being a stranger there and how I disliked the shacks and the pandemonium they came along with. Much to my disappointment, there were no water activities, and I could not witness a single sunset. Neither could I visit the bookstores that were on my list nor could I go to a certain restaurant because of the off-season. And yet, I had a wonderful time.

Although Goa has around 50 beaches, it’s more than just those beaches. The streets are flanked with greenery, colourful houses plucked from a picture book and as if that wasn’t wonderful enough, most of the houses have dogs. If you think zooming through the streets of Goa on a Vespa is fun, you should try walking through them. Slowly taking in the different kinds of aromas in the air, the little street shops, rustic brick walls and some painted ones with Titos written all over them, street vendors selling superhero vests and polka-dotted bikinis. Interestingly enough, I found the interiors of Goa very calm. Maybe all the nightlife that we associate it with exists in the beaches, casinos etc. but on the inside, you’ll find people returning home from a long day of work, watching TV in the comfort of their home, and street dogs picking fights with each other. I’ll be honest, it terrified me. The streets turned desolate as the clock struck 9 PM with barely any street lights and people in sight.

We strolled through the streets of Panjim enamoured by the churches and their architecture, picked the local delicacies from the market area, and drove through different lanes with more beautiful houses, street vendors, fish markets etc.

Needless to mention, my love for food took me to some terrific restaurants where I also had my first authentic Italian delicacies. I suffer from a serious case of ‘Fear of Missing Out’ which surely made me whine about everything I couldn’t do there, but now that I am here, I know I have done everything I could have.

All my nights ended with great banoffee pie, wonderful conversations and a romantic comedy or two on TV. And for me, this getaway, although little, was perfect. Even more so because I fell asleep with sore feet on all the nights.

Now that brings me to the end, Goa is a lot like us. With all the abandon and unabashed charm it portrays on the outside, it’s extremely old-school and warm on the inside. It spells trouble but it also offers serenity.

My feet have been itching to go more places this year, and I guess I’ll let them have their way. In that process, I’ll go everywhere my feet take me. Along with my little heart.

Tune for the day.