Final year was about to get over in couple of months, and thereafter the big bad corporate world was by and large waiting to grill us down at the other side of the fence !!! When everyone around stayed immersed in books for the upcoming final semester exams… one of my grp buddy suggested why not take a trip to Goa… maybe this will be our last trip together…what with some of us heading to US for Masters and some leaving to other city for job. Exams were pacing fast onto us…but this offer was too tempting to not consider it!!!
We chalked down a trip of 4 days…and got our return tickets booked. The very thought of Goa made the studies totally impossible in the prior week as well… we all were in Goa mood!!! This wasn’t our first trip to GOA… to be precise… this was our 3rd consecutive trip in 3 college years, but Goa sure has some magnetic force that attracts us and many more like us almost every year there!!!
This time around we had decided to take up a train from Mumbai till Madgaon (Margao). It was one of the most pleasant rides by train I had enjoyed in my whole life!!! The lush green scenery, the hilly mountain ranges, and the expanse of Arabian Sea that runs parallel to the Konkan coast… a treat to watch all this!!! “This trip is gonna get better and better…” I exclaimed.
At around 6 in the morning…train halted at Ratnagiri station, a little over 2 hours away from Madgaon. Ratnagiri is the birthplace of freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak, besides being famous for Alphonso mangoes! The hawkers on the station were running helter- skelter to sell their products. Some of them were selling tea and coffee, others were selling batata vada(our very own Indian ham-burger ), while some others were selling fruits, boiled eggs, water bottles, cold drinks, etc. It was one great moment wherein the whole world seemed so busy around… that I felt like getting down on the station and filling me with its hustle bustle.
A tall and heavy man of fifty came around telling everyone –“This train won’t go ahead… there has been land slide ahead”. Well… did I mention… that, it was that time of the year when rains had lashed the whole of western coastal region of India, leaving room for landslides which are very common in the Konkan region??? Okay then…rains had lashed the whole of Konkan region for past 10 days and the soil being red and porous it was all very mushy and muddy!!! Everyone around became uncomfortable with the thought of landslide, children started twisting and turning in their mother’s lap, aged people too became cranky and almost everyone started cursing their luck!!!
For us, it was the beginning of the most memorable journey!! In my whole life, I never had anything in the morning without brushing my teeth and hence I need to that at the earliest so that I could taste all the dishes that were being served at the station. The aroma of morning tea and the smell of batata vada… were tempting me to the core.
And what the hell…no water in the train???? Goodness gracious… what am I gonna do???? Eat everything without brushing??? Yuckss…Can’t even imagine!!!! I was frantically thinking for options as to whether I should use up the drinking water from the bottle or try and search for options on the station… when suddenly one of my frnd came running from somewhere, he was panting so hard that I couldn’t hear a word what he was talking about… and in a moment he blurted out… “There is waterfall on the station!!!” Waterfall??? Wow…!!! It was not one of those waterfalls that flowed all the year round but instead it was one of those kinds which rain gods created ever year. And we all decided collectively that we will brush our teeth at the waterfall…after all what is a trip worth without some wildness???
The waterfall wasn’t all that tiny … it was flowing with enormous speed and with enormous amounts of gushing water!!! It got created, as the station was built between two hillocks allowing the waters to rush through. I had never imagined even in my wildest dream that someday I would brush my teeth at the waterfall and above all at a railways station waterfall!!! This trip was surely heading somewhere!!!!
Finally 4 hours after the scheduled time… Our train reached Madgaon… we all gave a sigh of relief!!! We hired a Dukar Rickshaw (cab that resembles a pig structurally and which can take in 10-12 people at a time) at the station that took us to Colva Resort- a huge and artistic old villa styled resort located on the Colva beach. It was a fabulous resort with private swimming pool and Jacuzzi but what attracted us there was the gigantic expanse of beach which we could see from our rooms. In spite of being so well placed and most sort after resort we got rooms for pretty cheaper rates since it was off-season in Goa.
The colva beach was so pristine and blue that, it made me to rejoice with joy on seeing the clear reflection of sky in its waters. We stayed at colva for precisely 2 days…wherein we hired Toyota Qualis so that we could roam around cities on our own. Our first day was very very good…we all spent our whole day on colva tasting all types of fish curries, fish vindaloo, egg preparations and sipping in the famous goan fenny(locally made alcohol). We bought cheap eye glares and posed for long photo shoots making merry and spoof of each other. At around 7 in the evening one of my frnd started digging the sand and building castles, within no time everyone joined him and a huge castle was ready with its secret water duct that went underneath it..!!! When we finally finished it was almost 11.30 and all of us retired for the day!!!
The next day was a day full of activity. We drove our Qualis 60 kms north of Goa to Calangute which is adorned with five sister beaches, a great chapel, few night clubs, a mighty fort with a lighthouse and most scenic hilly beach called Wagator!!!! Yes u heard it right… “Hilly beach”!!! It is situated at the base of three intersecting hills and to reach the beach you need to trek down the hill. It is one of its kinds!! We were totally tired after trekking down and trekking up the hill. After returning from our escapade, al we could think of was a nice aromic cuppa of tea … I opened my purse to pay for it and realized that there was no money in it… I thought … that I must have kept all the heavy denomination currency notes at the hotel room in my bag and that I must have forgotten to take it with me!!! My frnd Rhea offered to pay … to her disbelief even she found no money in her purse…and slowly the realization hit us that we have been robbed and that all our purses are empty!!! Let’s travel some time back little 5 hours before the aforementioned realization that struck us-
Naina: “hey are we taking our purses??”
Rhea: “girls how r u gonna climb the hill top with all those purses???”
Ashwin: “see there… That’s the DCH point!! Where Dil chahta hai (DCH) movie was shot, we need to climb down this hill and go to that hill through the sea shore”
Rhea: “well then let’s keep the purses in the car; anyways we are going to lock the car!!!”
The thieves broke open the car window and took all the money and cards from our purses and left. We were robbed of good 7500 bucks!! We still had one more day to stay at Calangute before returning to Madgaon where our bags were!!! At Calangute, we crammed ourselves in cheap hotel rooms which were nothing short of castles straight out of scary ghost movies… the doors screeched every now and then, the alley that led us to our rooms was forever darkened and more over we were the only people staying at that hotel!!! Phew!!! When we headed out in the night for dinner, we were informed that all hotels are closed due to some fight that erupted among locals and city police. Somehow we managed to find a small shack that was selling “Chineesee Punjabi dishes in American style” , I am really sorry to torture you this way but that indeed was the tagline of that hotel !!! And we ate there!!!
We came back the next day to our hotel room at colva and returned back the car so that we could get our deposits back… and settled for something less fancier and more economical like bike instead!!! The rest of the day went in calculating the finances that we r going to pull in, to manage staying there. We gave up 2 hotel rooms out of 4 and crammed ourselves in 2 hotel rooms to further reduce our expenses!!! We Indians are so good at cost cutting!!!
Next day we hopped on our bikes and headed down south to Palolem beach called the paradise beach of Goa!!! It has more number of foreigners than Indians which was one of the main reasons that all the boys in our gang shouted out in unison and voted for Palolem, when we were contemplating to visit either of Palolem or old Goa the next day. It was indeed paradise beach with small backwater 1 km away wherein one could easily see dolphins playing. As we had ridded almost 100 kms on bikes to reach Palolem it was only sensible to stay there that night and leave for Madgaon the next morning!!! We took rooms in a cheap lodge and stayed put at that Palolem laughing and pulling each other’s legs the whole night!!! In process, we started late from Palolem back to Madgaon…Did I tell you we had train to catch for Mumbai at 12 noon from Madgaon and it was already 9.30 in the morning when we started!!! Well… then it gets more creepier from here…!!!We had to reach colva, handover the bikes then reach Madgaon station and catch the train!!! We all started riding the bikes very fast, even speeding off at the turns and dhummm..dhishh..dhum dhadd…we had the expected!!! An accident!!! Hoooo….!!! We Reached late… fought with guys over money and scratched bikes due to accident and missed train!!!!
I said right… this trip was sure heading somewhere!!!
Left with meager amounts of money we were really worried as to how are we going to manage everything!!! We had bruised friends who needed doctor; we needed hotel rooms for one more night…and above all we need to book fresh return tickets!!!!
Never in my life had I felt so poor and helpless!!! One of my frnd got some money from one of his frnd back in Mumbai through internet money transfer and we withdrew that in Madgaon… for our survival!!! We ate egg omelets for dinner that night and ate only 5 rupees batata vada as our lunch while travelling in train back!!!And the lectures and music that we had to hear from our parents is something I would not like to talk about!!!
This trip finally ended with us being brutally tested in each department!!! We fought, we cried, we joked, we laughed, we enjoyed, we suffered, we partied, we lived and finally we survived!!! I really dunno the definition of ‘amazing trip ‘ but we sure had an extraordinary trip to Goa wherein we had a frnd who literally went knocking at the God’s doorstep to request him to allow us to reach home safely , and also a total carefree frnd who started caring for money, belongings and people!!! It’s nostalgic whenever we frnds meet up and talk abt this trip… but it surely is one trip which is etched into our minds like it happened yesterday!!!!
(wud post my goa pics here soon….)