Part 2: Fugue

I have learned more about life in these past two months than I ever have shuttling between countries and states. I want to thank the places and the people for everything they’ve done and taught me.

First of all, to the institute and all my fellow science-y folk, my friends in hostel and at NIO: you guys have shown me that age is never a barrier to friendship and that no matter how helpless you feel, help is right around the corner if you would just ask for it. I’ve made some bonds that I hope are lifelong. The amount of belief that my guide showed in me and his desire to make me realize my full potential was really overwhelming. Some of his words have been etched in my mind (side note: Oceanography was unchartered territory for me but now I have a real interest in it and I think my future lies in Geophysics. I’m grateful for having realized this).

Thank you stranger for stopping, showing concern and offering to help us out when we were lost on the way back from Palolem. That was when I had my first glimpse of Goan hospitality.

Thank you strangers for always pointing us in the right direction (trust me, this is hard to find in a lot of places).

Thank you to the myriad of biological species (Elizabeth the Lizard a.k.a. Liz the Liz, James Roach II and his little brother and especially the rat I have christened pyFerret in remembrance of the multiple plots I’ve made) in my hostel room for making me grateful for my hostel in Surat. (I’m not kidding, I will never complain about MTB again.)

Thank you to my roommate, Sonali, for all the times you cooked for your idiot of a roommate and for showing me that genuinely nice people exist.

Thank you to the Surtis who helped us out when the bike ran out of petrol in the middle of the pouring rain. It boosted my faith in Gujjus.

Thank you stranger for helping us out when the scooter ran out of petrol. Thank you stranger #2 for driving it back the next morning.

Thank you egg paratha guy for showing me that sincerely dedicated cooks can exist outside of Michelin starred restaurants. *If any of you ever visit Dona Paula, do stop at the egg paratha guy’s stall at the circle. It’ll be the best paratha you’ve had in your life; and sabji and chutney, all for the glorious price of 30Rs.

Thank you to the scooter rental guy for showing us that no matter how bad a condition the scooter is in, it’s not dead till it’s dead.

Thank you to the constructors of the Kochi-Panvel highway, those were some of the most beautiful roads I’ve taken, shrouded by the cool air of forests, meandering through the hills with gorgeous views on either side.

Thank you to the security guy who waved me in with a grin whenever I was late and would sheepishly ask him if I have to sign the register.

Thank you Panjim for showing me how to fall in love with cities again. Thank you Fontainhas and Altinho for relieving me of the eyesore architecture that I’ve become so accustomed to. Thank you Taleigao and St. Inez and Miramar for letting us disturb your peace in the wee hours of the night as we circled through you with the wind in our hair and not a care in the world.

Thank you Panda. You know why.

Thank you Sumit and your family for the wonderful lunch and the gift and for letting me drag you all to the Houses of Goa. I’m glad you thought it was worth it and your mother is seriously one of the nicest ladies I know.

Thank you Bambolim, Miramar, Colva, Calangute, Anjuna, Mapusa, Palolem and Baga beaches for letting me sift your sand between my toes. Thank you Baga for that wonderful night after Cape Town; Anjuna for that romantic rockside; Calangute for that friendship; Palolem for its beauty; Bambolim for the thoughts you gave me.

Thank you to Palms and Sands for the best Pulao and Chicken Xacuti I’ve had.

Thank you to the bumps on the road for helping me lose my phone. I realized its true worth, and it wasn’t much because no piece of technology could compare to all the enlightenment I received.

Most importantly, thank you Candolim; a place where I had the best memories of my life. Thank you Svetlana; you know that if it happens, we’ll be sure to invite you. 😉 Thank you to St. Alex Church for showing me that there are churches in India that are devoid of the chauvinism and conservativeness of churches in Kerala. Thank you LD, Bob of Bob’s Inn and The Stone House.

Thank you Subodh Kerkar for showing me that modern art can be beautiful. Thank you to you and your daughter for showing interest in our ideas and for your offer of help. Thank you for setting up the Museum of Goa and for your idea of placing the little blue girl statues along the road that guided two wanderers to art’s doorstep.

Thank you Dona Paula Jetty for all those windy nights and bonds forged.

Thank you to all the old Goan ladies in their uniform-like tailored shirts and skirts for showing me a whole different level of laid-back and easy-going. I like you and hence, I think I’d like to live here.

I’m sad to say
I’m on my way
I won’t be back
for many a day

Jamaica Farewell, Jimmy Buffett

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View from my lab. It’s good to be an oceanographer 😉

Part 1: Prelude

This is the first part of a three-part goodbye to Goa, a place I have come to love like my own flesh and blood. This is the beginning of the end.

I could never imagine myself settling in India. In terms of nature, I come from a beautiful state but the society there is a mound of hypocrisy, misogyny and overall narrow-mindedness. I hated the people, especially the older generation, to a point where escape was the only option. I went to Surat for college; ‘in no way am I going to Calicut, ma, it’s in this damned state where every old lady on the road treats you like a criminal for wearing jeans or looking like anyone but herself’. Surat is a city; it’s close to Bombay (where like-minded folk and a good enough art and literature scene exists) and it’s in Gujarat and thus, my mother won’t have to spend sleepless nights fearing about my safety (Gujju men are of the more decent lot as I have come to realize). Alas, the list comes to an end there. There is not much else about the place. The highways and malls are aplenty, as are the industrial and commercial areas. It is a city with a soul so artificial that sometimes I feel like I’m living in a jiant botox job of some sort.
Singapore had a soul; growing up there, I knew all the little nuances and quirks of the place. The people had a collectiveness about them, something that felt like home for me but didn’t quite hit the spot. The makciks (old ladies) were either sweet or the kind that will give you an earful for not standing in the queue properly (yes, it’s true what they say about people of The Little Red Dot and queues). That was nice because they were straightforward about it; you knew whether to love or hate them from the onset, unlike in Kerala where they get tartly sweet at first and then show their true colors later on. For me, a place is only livable if I can put up with the old ladies of that society. I think the old ladies are what characterize a society; their vibes are in tune with those of the land they grew up in. If you don’t like them, you probably would not like the land either. Leaving Singapore was very hard. It was my childhood, my adolescence; I learned how to run, tumble, cycle, fall, swim, dive, dance, play piano and survive school there. It was the only place I had known, if not inside out, at least for long enough to fall in love with it in the way you love your parents partly because you have to and partly because you realize how amazing they are and what they’ve given you.
Then the internship. ‘An internship in Goa! Work hard, party harder,’ was the advice everyone gave me and because of the stereotype I had of it, that was what I had in mind too. I will never stereotype a place again (side note: to all my friends who think Gujarat is filled with cow-worshippers and obnoxious Modi-lovers, it’s not. Stop stereotyping). Goa was not what I had imagined it to be, a seaside tourist spot riddled with booze and drug problems. I’m not a party person at all so although the internship sounded good, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about all the ‘trippy shit’ my friends were raving about. Little did I know that this was just one side of the story. After all, it was just an internship; two months of sitting at computers and ‘researching’ and then back to life, right? I was never prepared for the journey I’d be taken on.

Goa is so much more than a destination; Goa is a way of life.

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Pauses.

I hate you
for the way you make me feel
roses were never meant
to make me bleed

I doubt you
your every step I’m sure
will bring me to deceit
she’ll play out the scene

I fear you
you stone, you drink
you call her and another
and if that’s not enough, Tinder

I lie here
my eyes run dry
sometimes I wonder
why I ever let him go

I don’t know
if you are worth
my thought, my time
my weakling heart and fragile mind

but in the staccato pauses
amidst my teary waterfall
I embrace the violence
born in strange tranquility

Jpeg
Cafe Mojo, Panjim

Bricks and Bones

No I wasn’t what you thought I’d be.
I’m not a vision of beauty,
nor a voice of perfect reason
But you forget, I never claimed to be.

I will not help you realize
the fantasies the media moulded
or the dreams you thought
were of your own devise

I don’t want to be chained
I don’t want to be churned
into this cement of mediocrity
that binds the bricks of society

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