Saturday, November 19, 2005
A view of the palms
“John’s Seagull” is where you will probably find me most evenings, when I am in Goa. The restaurant is right on the beach and sitting at one of the open air tables under an inky blue sky, you watch the frothy phosphorescent waves come and go, all through the garlic chilly squid which you invariably end up ordering, no matter what else you are having as a main course. It’s not only a great view but also good food, the fish being the main attraction.
I wouldn’t say Bogmalo had one of the best beaches in Goa – the beach itself is rather small and tends to be a bit crowded in the evenings - but what I like about the place is its village atmosphere and the fact that it is a lot less commercial than the beaches around Candolim in the north or Palolem down south, where every other night is disco night and your ears are blasted out by techno nonsense. (When I was twenty I never imagined I’d be saying things like this but now mid way through my fifties here I am acting like an ancient Auntie!)
After Bombay, Goa seems so incredibly restful! You wake up to the sound of cocks crowing and a multitude of birds whistling and tweeting away in the trees outside your window. All day long squirrels run up and down the trees chattering to themselves. The Rodrigues’ bungalow where I normally stay (this time my friend Jyotsna and cousin Shiv were there too) overlooks the main road, beyond which lies an expansive grove of palm trees bordering the sea.
At the back is a thicket, where a movie is usually in progress, the main roles being taken up by pigs, dogs, chickens and cats who sleep, play, or quarrel with each other. Once Shiv and I actually saw something like an animal conference take place and I’m not joking. There were a dog, a cat, two pigs, and a goat all sitting together solemnly in a kind of semi circle in the neighbour’s compound. After a round of silent communication they got up and each went his own way. The cutest though, are the piglets which scamper, squealing all day long after their mamas.
Early mornings and late evenings you see toddy tappers shin up the towering palm trees to collect the sap that will eventually be distilled into Feni, which is drunk with limejuice and sometimes with soda with a pinch of salt. Except for the music which occasionally blares from the neighbour’s stereo, or the horrendously noisy air exercises undertaken by the naval establishment in Bogmalo (how I wish they would go and do their stuff elsewhere!) Bogmalo is peaceful. I was amazed at the fact that I hardly thought about Bombay or about work or anything for that matter.
That was a real holiday and now that I’m back I can’t wait to pack my bags and set off for Goa again!
Uma and Jyotsna at John's
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