Ever since Dil Chahta hai happened to Bollywood, vacation has been synonymous with Goa. Goa became the place to party and it became the proof of friendship. As a pahadi ,I never really got the hype and after almost a decade of dodging invites to the beach capital of India, I caved. So, at 27, with mountain blood running through my veins, I headed to Goa with my best friend.
I was ready to be young, wild and free.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that one experiences a series of wild parties and wilder hangovers in Goa. Much to my dismay, the trip went on without a single aspirin popped after a whisky-induced throbbing headache. Alcohol is one of my favorite drinks of all time, so naturally, the sheer lack of it in my trip had me thinking what went wrong.
What do people do in Goa?
My best friend, Anjali, and I went brimming with recommendations from everywhere about all the cool things one can do in Goa. From suggestions by locals to Goa regulars, we had a To-do list at the ready. On our first day, equipped with a list that promised fun, we headed out on the scooty. Long story short, after a few hours of ticking things off, 'fun' seemed completely out of sight.
I belong to the mountains and travelling to them ruined me (I even wrote an Open Letter to Beaches a while back if you want to dig deeper into this emotion). Not that I didn't acknowledge the charm of beaches, I didn't seem to understand it.
We did all that was expected of us:
Guzzled on a chilled beer by the beach.
Whiled away afternoons at the shack.
Swam in the sea.
Hit the popular night-life spots.
Met like-minded travellers.
We followed the quintessential guide to having fun in Goa but it still left us unfulfilled. After intense Googling and map-studying, we set out, determined, to regain control of this trip.
Having struggled with the burden of stereotypes in Goa, we decided it was time to revive our explorer selves who would willingly get lost in the Himalayas. And just as we made the decision, our paths started drifting away from popular beach shacks, crowded places, trance (WTF?) parties and beer shops.