A weekend of work in Pilerne, Goa, India

A weekend of work in Pilerne, Goa, India
Madam the Goa Electricity Board is coming to fix new electric meters in all the houses in Furtavaddo, so you have to come and get it done, or the house will not have electricity!” said Bhujang the caretaker to me on the phone. I was in the middle of my college sem and so what was I to do?

Quickly thinking on my feet, I took a few extra classes in college, for the ones I was to miss on a Friday, exchanging them with a colleague, booked our air tickets for Thursday night and was in Goa for the weekend. The first time ever we had taken a flight into Goa and it was wonderful.

Imagine cutting the 12 hour exhausting drive that we would do, with a one hour flight. We were barely in the flight, when we had to get off. Infact the tickets were expensive ‘cause we took a weekend. A week day would have been really cheap we were told.

Then friends had fixed up a self drive car for us, which was perfect, to get around wherever we needed to go. Xavier the cab driver came and met us at the airport, handed over a bilious coloured, neon green Zen which was tiny and just right for the three of us. We had packed our stuff in back packs as it was just two days and had managed to even stow away milk powder, tea leaves and sugar to make our tea, once we reached.

The flight was at around 9pm and we took a Vayu Vajra to the BAIL airport. Came to Rs 250 each and so we decided on the way back we should take a mini cab which would work out to the same.

Reaching the airport we checked into our Indigo flight and in ample time made it to the departure gate. The airport was packed with travellers and we were really unused to the domestic sector, allowing us to carry all sorts of stuff into the gate area. International travel is one hundred times stricter through security.

Once we found our gate we settled down to enjoying our hamburgers of luncheon meat, which we had packed from the house, to tide us over for dinner. The flight is too short for any sort of meal. What bliss not to have to go to the carousel to wait for our luggage. We just walked out of exit in minutes, with our back- packs.

Xavier was waiting for us as we went out of the gates, and his car’s striking colour and his enormous smile, welcomed us into Goa, even at that late hour of 10:30 pm. We happily jumped into the car, while he took us to where he lived to be dropped off. “ Chalo! I will charge you for half day today and half day for the day you leave, early in the morning,as you are Goans” he said affably.

The directions are clear from the Dabolim airport to the Panjim bridge. Infact we went over the brand new bridge over the Mandovi, which seemed to go on forever and was lit up beautifully. Barely opened on January 12th, the stunning 4.43 km cable-stayed bridge over the Mandovi, serves as the third bridge connecting Porvorim to Panjim. The first bridge which we saw being built as kids, collapsed taking many cars and vehicles with it. Goa’s engineering has progressed!
Taking the Porvorim road we drove down the hill to our village of Pilerne pretty late and almost midnight. The village dogs ran along barking as we drove up. The house was lit up in welcome and the keys had been hidden in a special place by the caretaker. In minutes we had changed and were fast asleep in the arms of the old homestead, on fresh and clean sheets and pillows, all set up by Bhujang.

Next morning I was woken by the musical calls of the birds in the trees, around the house and quickly making myself a cup of hot tea, I sat sipping it and enjoying the cool of a Goa morning on my favourite bench in the tiny verandah of the house. We keep a few stores and a small gas stove to help make breakfast, when we visit. Black Capped Golden Orioles called out and a musical cacophony of all sorts of birds, of the Western Ghats serenaded me, as I used the hose to water the happy looking garden.

“ The Goa electricity board officers, will come by 10:30 madam,” I was told and surprisingly they did arrive with a brand new meter for the two houses off the road -- ours and the neighbours. It was a quick and painless job and we were glad to have got it done. “The difference you will see Madam when your bill comes,” said the technician smiling as we handed them cups of tea in gratitude for their efforts.

“ The house is always locked, do keep our bills at a minimum,” we requested. The job done that we had come for, we jumped into the car and were off to buy prawns for me to cook, from the Verem fish market which has the best fish our side of Goa. All the shells of the prawns are fed to the plants and the ants in the garden.

Goaaaah! Really energises me and it’s good to be back in the village of my forefathers.

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