Fake Marco Polo Ft.Goa1
It was mid exams that a strange whim struck me. I’d recently discovered Instagram and being bombarded daily with pictures of people smiling incandescently at beaches, grinning with crumbs in their teeth over plates piled high with ‘The best fish I ever had at this arbitrary restaurant only for Rs.120.’ had begun to plague me. Even I had Rs.120 , I too wanted to eat that bloody fish.
When I began to dramatically sigh to anyone who listened that I was down with a case of ‘Wanderlust’, Kamya my room-mate sent me this very dank tweet by The Oatmeal-
‘ FUN FACT: Every time I hear the word “wanderlust,” I make a special effort to rub my testicles on a hotel doorknob.’
Other friends followed suite calling me ‘a compulsive hobby changer’, from palmistry.(to be fair I was forced to quit because the accuracy of my predictions led to too many naggers bugging me), to skate-boarding, doodling and the worst of them all, a brief obsession with abstract math.
Sorry I ramble a lot, I soon realized I would have to explore Goa by myself and there was no point studying for an exam one hadn’t attended classes for. Perhaps my explorations would awaken the genius within and I’d ace everything.
There’s a column at the back of ‘The Goan Herald’, it has a listing of all the events in Goa, and so I diligently circled the free poetry slam, and a jazz concert.
2 days in a row, I travelled in the local bus squished into a corner by sweaty, angry locals. Also consecutively ended up being late and missing both the events and spending unescessary bus-fare(70, that’s one Chicken Triple Rice in the Night Mess).
Y u do this 2 me fate?
I was laughed at and deemed ‘Fake Marco Polo’ by all my friends, yet the longing refused to subside, now further fueled by Instagram’s algorithm which was feeding on my insecurities and showing me only #travel and #wanderlust.
Again I set off on one of my adventures, this time prudently choosing to go to an unexplored beach with no timings. Having already flunked all my previous exams and ready to blow the next one, the escape mechanism in my brain had me convinced with ‘Yolo.’ and ‘Live while you’re young.’ directives. Dangerous territory but I’m rambling yet again.
An Introduction to Grandmother’s Hole beach.
It’s supposed to be isolated and surrounded with cliffs. Also there’s a Japanese Garden nearby.
Both these appealed to my angst ridden teenage self as I imagined sitting and reading the very profound ‘God of Small Things’, and wondering about how inconsequential everything is.(escape mechanism)
So with a stone in my heart, I boarded the bus at Zari, carrying an over-sized backpack containing my cell-phone and some loose change. Google Maps was my savior, and eyebrows squinched, I tried to pinpoint on my dim phone screen the exact destination I should ask the bus-driver to drop me off at so as to walk 1.4 km, take another bus and hear ‘You have arrived at your destination.’.
Alas it wasn’t meant to be. Turns out the dimming screen meant 10% charge which led to my mobile dying in the next 10 minutes(Don’t install 56 Apps if you have 2 GB RAM). Panic time, for me, ‘Ms.No sense of direction’.
‘Um Aunty’, I nudged at the skinny old woman sleeping against my elbow.
‘Eh what.’, she stumbled, and I held her firmly hoping to steady her in the shaky bus.
‘Ey leave my hand, who do you think you are huh?’ she cursed at me in Konkani.
‘Aunty you were falling..’
‘You eat shit girl, I was falling it seems.’, she retorted, hitting my elbow with her bony wrist.
I was almost ready to cry, no idea where I was and now this bully aunty. But it seems god heard me and a guy who’d been watching us intervened.
He murmured some Konkani with occasional hand gesturing in my direction and Aunty listened. She then snarled at me and resumed sleeping, this time her face squished against another elbow. The guy seemed to be in his twenties, tall, lean and looked polished unlike the usual locals. No flat nose here, he had regular Indian features, and unnaturally white skin and blonde hair. An albino.
Grateful, I thanked him and told him about how I was lost and needed to get to Grandmother’s hole.
He raised one fuzzy eyebrow at the name, but didn’t crack any very obvious jokes.
‘It’s not really a place for a girl to go alone to, especially if you don’t have a mobile.’
‘Yeah, but I’ve been wanting to go for so long…’
‘Regardless, I suggest you drop down at Vasco and take the next bus back to Zari.’
‘Please help me out, listen you seem nice enough, tell you what I’ll pay for your dinner if you come with me’. Desperate I know but I couldn’t take another failed plan.
He sputtered, ‘You don’t even know me. For all you know I could rape or kill you or something.’
‘No you won’t, come on, hold your hand out.’ I said.
‘Just do it na.’
He looked at me incredulous but complied.
And so I studied his hand, A Simian hand sheesh, the head and fate line were fused, a slight uneasiness in living. But a star on the Mount of Jupiter and the deep, clear life-line indicated a stable head and compassion.
I said this to him.
He rolled his eyes, now no more the nice, unassuming stranger.
‘Yeah you’re an alright person, see! Let’s goo, please.’ , I wheedled.
‘No. I have plans of my own, go away, go back to where you’re from. Weirdo!’, he exclaimed.
I was probably possessed that day, I clung at his arms, and tried puppy dog eyes, ‘Please, I’ve been planning this for almost a month now…’
‘Ugh, but I’m only coming along because you’re insane and shouldn’t be left alone for the sake of your own safety.’, he grumpily agreed and shook my arm off.
Yippee, time for an adventure.