Goa diaries, 2k18.

Tripoto
1st Jan 2018
Photo of Goa diaries, 2k18. by Heena Kohli
Day 1
Photo of Majorda, Goa, India by Heena Kohli

I am riding by dense palm grooves lining the roads, forming a thick canopy over your head. I can see the sun filtering in through it, can feel it kissing your back as you sprint by, watching the world through hair in your eyes. The houses in every block around here look like the ones you have seen in storybooks, all decked up as colorful little present boxes wrapped in fairy lights. The streets are laced with Christmas decor, there’s a shining North Star hoisted from the ceiling in one corner and a Santa waving from the balcony in another. It is a different kind of world around here, a magical one, a world so much more habitable than the one I’ve got in my own city.

Photo of Goa Palms Resort, Doctor Pundlik Gaitonde Road, Palolem, Canacona, Goa, India by Heena Kohli

I am staying in a cute little cottage which has got lush green meadows for the front view. It looks adorable. The quiet around here kind of grows on me. I can hear the hens cuckoo around here apart from the usual banter of the birds. It feels like a secret little world, tucked in a hushed corner away from the noise and clutter of the city. It feels so pristine and rustic that I immediately fall in love with all of it, the coconuts stranded on the roof, the bananas blooming in the backyard, sunlight splayed into fritters on the palm grooves.

Photo of Goa diaries, 2k18. by Heena Kohli
Photo of Goa diaries, 2k18. by Heena Kohli
Photo of Majorda Beach, Majorda, Goa by Heena Kohli

There is sand in my hair, salt in my eyes, water in my ears, sun burning my skin. I uncover for the first time what beach feels like.

Photo of Goa diaries, 2k18. by Heena Kohli

I bend over and dig my fingers across the water into the sand trying to hunt down seashells on the sand bed. There are plenty of them, whites, and browns and every shade in between. I find a really pretty one, a starfish-lookalike, edges intricately carved out and buried in the sand. I immediately pick it up and keep it in my sling bag. Later when I will zip it open, I will find the entire bag reeking of a weird nauseating smell and will need to buy a new one. But until then, I am ignorant and this shell is a token of love from the sea.

Photo of Goa diaries, 2k18. by Heena Kohli
Day 2
Photo of Vagator Beach, Goa by Heena Kohli
Photo of Goa diaries, 2k18. by Heena Kohli

I am lying inside a beach shack gulping down spaghetti with beer as I watch the sun go down into the sea. It reaches the zenith of its beauty before it is wiped out from the horizon.

I want to be like this.

Photo of Goa diaries, 2k18. by Heena Kohli

The lady whose place I am staying at, was telling me the other day, that she had always wanted a house like that, a cute little cottage submerged in greenery, nestled peacefully in the lap of nature. She said she feels grateful to God that He gave her exactly what she had wanted and that she feels content. I realize, I am chasing this feeling, the bliss that comes along with content and gratitude. I want this for yourself, the feeling of having done everything I have always wanted to, having realized all my dreams, having reached the zenith of my imagination, having been at my capable best. But to reach this feeling of having achieved what I have always wanted to, you will first have to know what you want. And to figure that out, I will first have to sift through my crap and create some headspace for new things, and may be, new people. I realize, all you are seeking is self-awareness exactly, and may be this year will bring that along too.

Photo of Benaulim, Goa, India by Heena Kohli
Photo of Benaulim, Goa, India by Heena Kohli
Photo of Candolim Beach, Goa, Candolim, Goa, India by Heena Kohli

I am riding back home, my body aching for my warm cozy bed, toes yearning for the linen touch. Full moon night falls tomorrow but the moon is anyway, almost a whole, tonight. And it is going to be daybreak soon. It is 4 A.M. I have to ride 50 kilometers and there are still 40 to go. The cold is gnawing at my skin, and I feel like I have lost all sensation, except that of the wind whirring in my ears, so loud that I cannot hear my own voice over it. I ride on nevertheless, with my gaze getting gradually attuned to the thick intermittent white line painted out on the tarmac, screaming the kilometers skipping beneath my feet.

I stop by a small roadside cafe for chai. It has got indoor seating, so I quickly get inside those glass doors, craving for the warmth more than the chai. They don’t have it anyway, so they offer me coffee, which turns out pretty bad unfortunately. But everything is welcome as long as it is killing the cold. So the bland coffee seems okay. Even the ‘Soldier’ playing on their cable seems okay.

May be this is a year of firsts, may be this will be a year of firsts. I want it to be. The first time I pick a homestay over a hotel lodging, the first time I watch a seemingly-never-ending stretch of water sprawl before my eyes, and the first time I walk right into it, the first time I stay grounded against the waves no matter how hard my ankle might be slipping on the sand underneath, the first time I watch the sun vanish into the sea, the first beer on a beach, the first ever road trip mapping a city from one end to another, the first nightout under a beautiful glowering-white almost-whole moon making its presence starkly felt even through the branches, the first time I bring home gifts with my own money, the first time I leave a place with sand filled pockets and a bag stinking of sea shells.

Day 3
Photo of Madgaon, Goa, India by Heena Kohli
Photo of Goa diaries, 2k18. by Heena Kohli

One of my friends from office had told me the other day that whatever you do on or around the New Year’s eve, you keep doing that for the whole year. I wonder if my whole year is going to be a string of beautiful explorations if I happen to be exploring around and inside myself around this New Year’s eve. Is this going to be the year of soul-searching? I can’t possibly tell rightaway but all I can do is have faith.

And then one day, many many many years down the line, may be I will feel exactly the same as that lady feels today.

All in due time, before the sun goes down.

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