Updated: Mar 15, 2018
‘That's even worse. You could have just mentioned that you were out of town.'
Remarked someone, as I excused myself from an event they were co-hosting.
As I boarded my flight, his words kept haunting me the entire time. A state as vibrant as Goa had been stereotyped so brutally. As if, Goa was the untouchable, unaccepted, unwanted part of India.
Was Goa the official Indian ‘tramp'?
Was she really that disgraceful?
As I reached my destination, the pitch-dark roads silenced the turmoil in my head, momentarily.
I wondered about the previous times I had traveled on the same path, different destinations each time and from what I can gather now, accompanied by different versions of me.
Like many of us, my first tryst with Goa happened in college. I was finally away from Dehradun and the added restrictions. The proximity of the state from Mumbai didn't hurt either.
Destination: Moira, Bardez.
Luckily, I didn't live in a hotel, guesthouse or resort. I had a friend who was a native, partly at least. I stayed with her. In a typical Goan home, where her mother would cook delicious, authentic Konkani meals.
They took me to Churches, we made Marzipan for Christmas, they showed me how the locals lived. Football, I learned was as an integral part of the natives, as Poi.
(For those who are unaware, Poi is the tastiest bread available in this whole, wide world)
There are very few things that I will never forget in life, Shannon’s chocolate fudge brownies are one of them.
It was away from the hustle bustle, and it was absolutely blissful.
It was my home away from home.
Anjuna and All That
Destination: North Goa
The second time, I went with friends.
(NOBODY CANCELLED, fuck you Facebook memes!)
We played Jenga at bars, got drunk at the beaches and danced all night.
From EDM to old Bollywood, the music was as diverse as the people around us. Hogged at all the supposed must eat places and did the entire touristy Goa stretch.
It was a typical college trip to Goa. Strangers became friends. Friends became strangers.
As cliched as a college trip to Goa sounds like and surprisingly, just as dramatic.
Destination: Southern Tip of Goa
The third time, I went alone.
The mountains had taken their toll on me and I just wanted to lie under the coastal sun, gorge on some gorgeous seafood and swim with the waves.
Things were different this time. I was sans company, sans craziness.
There’s something magical about witnessing sunsets on the beach, especially when there isn’t another human being for miles.
I went trekking, attended local music festivals, went waterfall hunting. Tried fishing too, unsuccessfully albeit.
I enjoyed my stay so much that I booked tickets back to the place, even before I went back.
As I went through my past experiences, it suddenly dawned on me that this state, this apparently vagrant, Indian State is as versatile as the person visiting it. Molding itself, according to the whims and fancies of the traveler. As a friend of mine says, ‘You see the world through tinted glasses. Tinted with expectations, misconceptions, and personal perspective.’
Goa isn’t immune to this either. She could transform into a wild party girl if you want, otherwise, the shy introvert is just a few miles away. She changes her personality with the seasons too.
She becomes the embodiment of a beautiful, angry Goddess in the monsoon but the interiors, come back to life.
She isn’t someone meant to be stereotyped. She needs to be experienced.
Travellers Tip - Leave the tinted glasses at home!
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