I chatted with Gowri who had come to fix the jet in our bathroom and asked her where I could buy the lemongrass scented floor cleaner that they used here as I put our clothes away. She gave me the names of a few stores. It was all so homey. What a different stay we’d had! I could not help think back to two years ago when we had come to Goa for my parents’ fortieth anniversary.
My parents, siblings and I had all come with our respective families to celebrate this momentous occasion. In keeping with the importance of the thing, we had booked cottages at the Taj Holiday Village. Everything was as perfect as it could have been. We stayed about 5 nights and hardly went out. Our children swam in the pool and had juice at the poolside bar. They made castles on a beach that was clean and deserted. Open only to a select few. The holiday village has a wonderful Thai restaurant on the property and the Fort Aguada hotel that is adjacent has a fabulous Italian place that we could eat at too if we felt like it. At every meal, the inhouse musicians serenaded us with Goan folk songs. In short, the entire property was landscaped, manicured and dressed to impress and every meal was a feast for the senses.
Just the one time, we stepped out of the hotel for a trip to North Goa and stopped at Britto’s. The kids were just as fed up as all the kids had been at St. Anthony’s this time. And really, we felt the same way. It was sad but it was true. There was nothing for us to do here. No reason we should even be here. And we wondered about the ennui.
My sister and I spoke about how as children, beach to us had meant Chennai’s Marina with it’s kadalai and maanga. It had been about getting our feet wet and the sinking of the sand and feeling the ground slip away beneath. And then the first time I visited Kovalam beach I was so thrilled by the deck chairs and the fact that they served mocktails and fruit on the beach. It was like an Archie comics world here in India and I could not get enough!
And now. We had everything and we were so jaded. I wish she’d been here on this trip.
I hope this does not sound silly and pretentious. I realize that staying at the Villa Alina is not exactly slumming it. But I wished she had walked around on the streets of Goa with me. There was a party here on the streets of Goa! Ok it wasn’t real, and maybe it was all in my head. But I felt it. I guess if you feel something, it is real enough. And I had not felt this unjaded for a long time.
As a mother of two small boys my cultural references are entirely from the movies. Scratch that. From animation movies. I can see Syndrome saying to Mr. Incredible ‘When everyone is Super, no one is.’ That man knew something!