The rusty bell rang announcing the arrival of yet another girl from the foreign lands trying to merge into the Indian populace. Wearing that ever famous Kurti with a jhola, the quintessential Gayatri Mantra weaved in red throughout the fibers and with that an attempt of carrying the bindi on her pale white forehead. And that very same air of adventure; of living life on her own terms; Of not giving a fuck. The thousands of such people outnumbering the Goan man are an intriguing batch of people; I bet you feel the same; or else why look at them intently when they cross paths?
I hopped off my rusty high stool, walking through the circle of smoke I’d specialized through years of practice, hurried over to the door. Outside the area marked with pristine white canopies was flapping madly in the wind. The sun was out, a glint of the sea obscuring my sight. The doors of “Baga Café” were open to one and all. Obviously she was new to the place and waited for her turn to enter into the blood red walls of paradise. Yes, this is what Baga was. The minute you enter, you encounter this waft of marijuana, the intoxicating Goan beer, of white shrimp sauce and eggs tossed over in sizzling pans and a whole lot of sweat, sand and the sea. The brilliant red color pouring out of the walls wakes you up in a trance. You enter, and it takes a while for the eyes to somber down. Amidst the chaos, is the everyday crowd of rookies, lazying around, aimlessly cooing to the hearty tunes of the big guy, Fernandez. A Goan man with a paunch the size of his loud mouth but a heart even bigger. With a ukulele in his hands Fernandez was the life behind our café, millions pouring into the place just to see him smile, jitter from stool to stool, and contemplate over his music ranging from the Beatles, the carpenters to my favorite Goan song, yaya mayyaya. Not one person is left seated as the whole cafe swings into groups celebrating life as it is. All in all, Fernandez could beat the crap out of any wannabe soul singer gaining fame out of reality television.
Now you’ve seated yourself far away from the disorder, opting for a quiet spot overlooking the blue waters. Your stare is calm and composed as if you’ve found out your niche in this place and have sunk in. You look somehow washed out; clearly having a hard time dealing with the parched Goan summer. A minute later you are flipping through the soiled papers of our printed menu seldom used by the usual customer. Thank God I made it a point to leave some for circumstances like these. Enjoying myself, I see you worry yourself from head to toe over the array of omelets served here. On a usual day I would have walked over recommending the Spanish omelet, by far the crowd favorite; but seeing you cringe and fret over such irrelevant details catered for sadistic pleasure in my heart. I smiled. Leaning over the bar, I looked around as sepia toned pictures of my own alcove animated through my mind. For that moment, I felt like yes things were right, that I sure had grown from being the aimless bloke, who had his life served in a silver platter, a person who would be stereotyped as a ‘snob’. The minute dad died, me in my second year in college; it had to stop. The partying, the booze, the girls, the cars, the bikes, the living on the money from dad’s big-time company. What came was responsibility of my family, taking a stand as the only male left in the family, caring for my little sisters and my inconsolable mother, but mainly what was left was this massive guilt of doing nothing throughout my life then. Of having no dreams, no aim, no vision, no experience to boast of. I felt incomplete and not the usual handsome stud I was made to feel, who could get around with whatever he wanted, do whatever he felt like. Not thinking through, I had bought a ticket to
Goa, running away from my traumatized family, I had hid
inside my friend’s house in the heart of Panaji. With hopes that the sea would provide me a new home, a place to clear my mind out, to set off to a new start. Hence commenced my summer on the sea.
Here goes something I've been writing. About the sea, the sand, the sun, of new beginnings. Awaiting your feedback like always!