Going to the beach in Goa, India
Standing with my Toshiba Notebook at the large front windows I could write and watch the birds in the garden and also take in lungs full of fresh scented air from the Sal tree in the front house back yard. The neighbours dog would skulk around for scraps of food while the pee poo sound of the bread man with his fresh paos could be heard in the distance and the church bells echoed across the ripenng paddy,
Come 11 am then I would move into the kitchen to cook up a lunch on my single burner gas stove. The stove comes in handy rather than have to go out in the heat for lunch. I stir fry some prawns lightly with a dash of masala, as we dislike heavy masala which kills the taste of the delicate prawn.
Wiping down the fresh, locally grown ladyfinger, I quickly slice them up and stir fry them as well with a dash of jeera and mustard seed. If there is any coconut milk I swish a little over the pieces to give it a ‘goan’ flavour.
I don’t have some bulbs to replace the burnt ones or I need four kgs of cement, say the workers the list is endless. I am lucky Bonny is placid and panders to their inefficiency. We need to get the job done he says while he gets into the car to make another endless trip to Porvorim to bring in the supplies.
Soon it is 5 pm and we push the men out so that we can make the pilgrimage to the beach. I cant bear going to Calangute and Baga, our more favoured haunts as kids cause they are packed with domestic tourists. Candolim which was less favoured is where we head everyday and pick up fresh potato bondas on our way in. The bondas are hot out of the frying pan and scald our palates and tongues as we impatiently try to eat them.
The sea is a bit rough and we check where the Dhristi guards have put up flags to show where it is safe to swim. In minutes I retreat with my clothes soaked with an unexpected wave. Sitting on the sands now has become infradig with beach beds being fashionable among the tourist set. I prefer sitting on the sands with my legs encased in the wet sand. There is no fun lying on a beach bed if you come to the beach.
Six o’clock and the whistles are blown by the Drishti Life guards. For the first time one can see Indians listen to rules. There is no discussion, the whistle is blown, the flags are removed and everyone has to leave the water. It’s fun to see the change in what people do on the beach today from the time we were kids. They squeal and take groupies and selfies and the need to send immediately to their loved ones is amusing. Infact there was an older man with socks and shoes, who walked around with his iPad only taking videos and selfies and did not even enjoy going into the water.
We slowly wend our way to the car and head home stopping at King Kane on the way back. King Kane a food cart in the Candolim Tinto, makes the most divine beef buns which I can shamefully eat for dinner every single night. They are not cheap, but they definitely have a secret sauce which makes them irresistible. We pick up fish croqettes and chicken drumsticks, crunching on them on the way home, and a couple of cans of coke zero for me.. Nothing can be done in Goa without a car, though in the not too distant past we have taken the bus as kids, back from the beach and walked the stretch from Marrani on the main road to the village, on a mud road in the darkness quite safely.
We decide to have dinner out at Fishermens Creek, our favourite place to eat on the Candolim main road. Beside goan food it makes sense to ask for continental in Goa as the chefs seem to be well versed with continental fare. I ask for a chicken and corn soup which is made exactly like how I like it, unlike the version in Bangalore which has the odd bit of coriander in it! The men ask for prawn curry rice and fish curry with their coconut feni. My soup comes first and it’s a huge bowl of it which makes a big meal for me.
Meanwhile the one man band is starting to set up. He is fixing up his stuff which seems to take forever. The crowd begin to start picking up and in no time the place is full, mainly with foreigners. I want a tuna salad says one of the British tourists, but there was no tuna and she had to settle for chicken which she is unhappy about. On another table a young Russian family orders spicy Goan and quite happily enjoys it.
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