We go on long vacations to unwind, explore, bond and rejuvenate – everyone has a different and unique reason. But one thing, which we share in common, is that, we come back with stories to tell. Apart from some photographs and souvenirs, these memories are all that remain to share with others over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
In this last chapter of the Goa Diary, I am going to share some of my stories. I thought that this travelogue would be incomplete, without sharing these experiences because they capture the essence of what this vacation meant to me and my family. I am going to call this chapter, “The Tiny Tales”.
So, let’s get started …
This was the first time my four-year-old was going on such a long road trip (approx. 1600 kms over the course of 9 days). We knew that being a hyperactive child, he was going to get bored on several occasions. Hence, we had a big checklist for him. Toys, story books, YouTube videos, snacks, chocolates etc. We had it all covered. Yet, my wife and I, were apprehensive.
The first leg of this journey was from Bangalore to Belgaum (510 kms, which meant 12 hours on the road with breaks). This was going to be a tall ask for my son, given his nature. We started early at 6 am and crossed the first toll by 7 am. I was relieved and excited to have crossed the toll, and the driver within me was eager to hit the highway.
My son, who was quiet all this while, asked, “Papa, have we reached Goa?”.
I looked at my wife bewildered because she and I had spent enough time explaining to him, prior to undertaking this journey, that this would be a long one. Hence, he would have to be, patient and well-mannered. He had agreed. Thus, this question came as a surprise, and that too so early.
We reiterated what we had told him at home. He nodded in agreement.
An hour afterwards, I got excited upon seeing a beautiful landscape on my right. My son asked again, “Papa, have we reached Goa?”.
I was puzzled. This kept on happening repeatedly, despite continuous reminders.
But there was a catch.
I realized, that he was asking the question every time I was getting excited and that’s when I finally managed to connect the dots. He was equating my excitement to us reaching Goa. The beautiful scenery, alluring roads and exotic locales – were all inconsequential to him. He just wanted to reach the intended destination.
He couldn’t understand, why his father would get excited at anything other than reaching Goa. He was wondering – what the fuss was all about?
I realized, that I was the one who was deceiving him!
- This is Goa!
We reached Goa in the afternoon and checked into Tranquility Cottage Resort which was 1.5 kms from Baga beach the biggest tourist hotspot in North Goa. But thankfully, the chaos and euphoria, unfolding just a mile away, did not manage to trickle into our quaint little wooden cottage. It was just what we wanted – proximity to the famous beaches, yet solitude when we called it a day.
Upon entering the cottage, my son seemed very excited and explored every nook and corner of it. He was happy that there was a swimming pool just outside our room. He loves the water and is always ready for a swim. His frenzied behaviour continued, until food went into his belly.
Post lunch, we got into the bed for a quick nap and my wife asked, “Advay, did you like the cottage?”.
“Yes”, replied my son.
“What did you like about this cottage?”, asked my wife.
“It’s like home”, he replied. His answer surprised us.
“But we live in an apartment and not a cottage like this”, said my wife.
“Yes, but we are going to stay here for the next few days. Isn’t it? So, this is like our home”, he replied.
We got the point. There was silence.
Then my son asked curiously, “But where is Goa?”.
We were puzzled.
“This is Goa. All of this. We are in Goa!”, I assured.
“No this is not Goa. This is home”, he replied, visibly annoyed.
“Where is Goa then?”, I asked, bemused.
“It’s at the beach. Where is the beach?”, he asked, fuming.
I smiled and replied, “Don’t worry, we will go to the beach in the evening”.
And, we did at 5 pm, after a siesta for few hours.
The sun was beginning to set. The wind had become cooler. There was also a light drizzle for just a bit. When he finally saw the sea, my son’s euphoria knew no bounds. He pulled us both and dragged us towards the waves.
When the waves hit our feet, he shouted ecstatically, “This is Goa!”, pointing his tiny finger towards the sea.
- Family time
My wife and I had been desperately yearning for a long holiday for some time. Our holidays would never match because we worked across different time zones and in different industries. Hence, we would usually restrict ourselves to doing short trips.
But this time everything fell in place and a 9-day long adventure was on offer.
“It’s family time!”, my son would say, every time he wanted us both next to him. We got plenty of that without any hindrance, and we made the most of it. When I look back now, ironically, it’s the little things that we did which have been the most memorable. Like the early morning conversations over coffee, a dip in the pool at noon, building sandcastles, collecting seashells or just eating together. Simple things, but they were undoubtedly the most joyful moments of the trip.
Our lives are so mechanical that we are physically present for each other, but mentally never there. Thus, reinforcing the need to go on holidays like these. It helps immensely to declutter the mind and let positive thoughts pervade it. Thereby, reinvigorating us to make new beginnings.
I am usually the one guilty of chalking out daily itineraries when on holidays. Once done, I can be a bit pushy when it comes to sticking to a plan.
This time, however, my wife repeatedly reminded me, “We have time!”. I smiled in agreement whenever she said that.
- Into the wilderness
The mountains call out to some and the sea calls out to others. My wife and son are fond of the sea while I am fond of the hills. It’s very rare that on a holiday you get a taste of both and more. Well, a road trip to Goa gives you a taste of everything – hills, jungles, waterfalls, rivers and beaches.
I am so happy that I got the opportunity to go on such amazing road trips during this vacation which truly rejuvenated me. These were long trips, but never did I feel anxious or stressed because what I got in return for the labour was highly satisfying. Some of the glimpses of nature that I got to see during this journey were simply spell binding.
I’ve always felt that entering the wilderness is like entering a temple. Everything seems to just blank out – my thoughts, doubts, fear and me. When within the arms of nature I am always at peace with myself. It’s as if a dormant corner of my mind has suddenly become active and its radiance has engulfed my body, mind and soul.
- The Sun, Sand and Sandpit
There is something about the sea that is so alluring. The waves kiss your feet and leave, only to come back again. Seducing you to stay a bit longer. The sea has the uncanny ability to bring out the child in you as well as the philosopher.
My four-year-old had enjoyed himself thoroughly in all the six beaches we had visited. The joy and ecstasy on his face whenever he saw the sea, was priceless. He would yell in excitement when the waves touched his little feet.
But once he was done playing with the waves, he would pick up his beach set to build a sandcastle. This would happen every time we went to a beach.
“Advay, why do you build sandcastles every time you are on a beach?”, asked my wife curiously.
“Mumma, the beach is a giant sandpit. It’s much bigger than the one at our apartment. I can build millions of sandpits here!”, he replied.
Well, that’s the innocence of a child. I wish, I could borrow some of his simplicity and zest for life.
If I am destined to, I will go on many such wonderful vacations in the future. But this trip to Goa will always remain special for me.
I’d like to end, by thanking all my readers and fellow bloggers, who have supported me immensely, by reading chapter 1 and 2 and sharing their thoughts on it. I had a great time sharing my experiences, through this travelogue. Thank you very much for your support.
Kavita Joshi Krishnan
Siddhartha Krishnan is the author of Two and a Half Rainbows – A Collection of Short Stories. He is also an enthusiastic blogger and on his website www.whatsonsidsmind.com, he regularly puts out his essays, articles, travelogues and film reviews.
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