THREE GIRLS IN A STRANGE CITY…..

Shweta and I are not chaddi buddies. We met on the second day of college. I and another friend were roaming around the Fergusson  campus, Shweta was sitting alone on the stairs of one of the buildings. I still remember she wore a white kurta and a blue jeans, she approached us looked at me and said, ` Are you Aditi Mutatkar, from Abhinav?’  I nodded a little surprised. She continued, ` I am Shweta , I was in the afternoon shift, I have joined Arts too. Can I join you guys?’ All I remember is this and from that day on we have been friends and share a special bond which grows day by day.

A FRIEND IS SOMEONE WHO GIVES YOU TOTAL FREEDOM  TO BE YOURSELF- JIM MORRISON.

We are two very different people who are very similar. We love people but we need our time alone too. We are both sensitive about the society and we both want to work towards bringing a change. We are a little unorthodox in our thinking but very orthodox in implementation. She’s also amongst the few people with whom I can be silent for hours in a room and still have a good time.  So when both of us had a rough week last week, I very randomly suggested that we should go to Goa and to  my surprise she said `yes’ right away.  In our similarities lies  the fact of not sitting down and sulking over things. We rather get on with life in the best way possible. Life is too short to brood!

AT BRITTOS
BREAKFAST AT INFANTRIA

In the next few days I also convinced my little sister to join us and it wasn’t too difficult. I booked us in a relatively cheap hotel and Shweta did the train bookings. We didn’t plan anything else, not a thing.  We were going to an unfamiliar place, amongst unknown people and we were just three girls.  Our Goan friend Ruby very rightly called us both `gutsy’ and `crazy’. I get her point, though. In all my travelling around the world I have realized one thing. Being an Indian female tourist in a foreign land is much safer than being an Indian woman tourist in India. If you are a woman you are always unsafe. It doesn’t matter if you are Hindu or Muslim, you wear a burkha or a mini skirt or if  you are beautiful or ugly.  One very clear truth is you are unsafe. We as a society have completely failed in making our women feel safe, and that is really a shame. But then you have to do what you have to do, like making that trip to Goa! You still have to go ahead and do that. There is no point living in fear, you rather take the risk and live to the fullest.

RUBY AND SHWETA AT THE CHURCH WHERE RUBY GOT MARRIED!

Our trip started with the train journey. We had booked ourselves in a second class compartment and were  almost the only 3 girls in an all men bogie. We were a little petrified with that thought. Though luckily for us we had Arun and Victor from Poland with us for company. Arun was a really interesting guy. He is a US citizen, currently  47 years of age, though an Indian by birth and speaks flawless Hindi. He is an artist who paints, has sold a lot of landscape photographs, made documentaries and currently is travelling around the world to learn. He has not exactly been home for the last two and a half years. He loves badminton and one of his many aims in life is to represent USA in the Rio Olympics. We started chatting at around 6pm and went on till 10. The topics ranged from philosophy, religion  ,women empowerment, love,  loneliness, the real bad conditions in Africa, working in the social sector, etc,etc. We exchanged email ids and really hope to be in touch with him. He has promised to send us some of his paintings and photos. Arun was 6 feet and had a super built, its really strange how only a man can make a woman feel safe from the other men. Its ironic!! Thanks to Arun we slept peacefully.

ARUN AND VICTOR…..GAVE US A JOURNEY TO REMEMBER!

We reached Madgaon railway station at 6 in the morning. Madgaon lies in South Goa. The distance between South and North Goa is immense. Sadly Goa doesn’t exactly have a great public transport system, if you don’t have your own vehicle you are pretty much in trouble. Luckily for us we had Ruby to our rescue. She is a goan and basically Shweta’s friend. She was sweet enough to pick us up, take us home, give us breakfast and take us around a little bit. We took her bikes and went around to see the   Benaulim beach and the church where Ruby married her sweetheart at sunset. We envied her so much. The church was a small one but in a beautiful location atop a hill. I mean if you say you don’t want a church marriage you would be lying. I would love to!

MARIO DE MIRANDA’S RECREATED MAGIC AT MADGAON RAILWAY STATION!

TRYING TO APE THE PAINTING!

WE LOVED THESE!

AT THE BENAULIM BEACH!

As this was a tight budget trip. We didn’t live in a five star hotel,  fly to Goa or roam around in cabs for that matter.  We were in a very decent and sweet hotel called HOTEL RIVERSIDE, which had a small swimming pool and some great food. Also the little fat owner of the hotel named Danny was a super sweet guy. I basically liked him mostly because he played some really great music. We paid Rs. 4000 for 3 people in a room for two nights, which is pretty much a good deal compared to the other hotel fares.  There was a nice river flowing across our balcony which was followed by mountains and greenery.  The room was spacious and clean and importantly with no t.v or phones. Also the hotel was just a 5 mins walk from the Baga Beach, where we liked to hang around the most.

THE RIVERSIDE HOTEL
VIEW FROM THE BALCONY!

THE JOSH CHURCH AT PANJIM!

GOA HAS A LOT OF THESE…COLOURFUL BRIGHT BUILDINGS GOING WITH THE GOAN SPIRIT!

The biggest problem in Goa as I said earlier is the transport. Hiring  a bike can cost you atleast 350 rupees for 12 hrs and additionally some money for petrol. Travelling around by cabs also is not exactly a economically viable option. We wanted to see the JOSH(Immaculate) church as I call it in Panjim. As we were all ready to walk and also loved travelling by buses, we inquired a little bit and traveled around in the public buses. The ticket costs you rs. 20 flat any distance you travel, and no official tickets are issued.  Though you have to be ready to walk quite a bit.

OUR FELLOW FERRY PASSENGERS!

We also got a chance to travel in a ferry which we loved. Travelling in these buses and ferries gave us a little bit of the flavor of the Goan people. The women smelling of fish, the men absolutely oblivious to the foreign women wearing minimal clothes, a college girl fainting due to excessive heat, the sweet kokani dialect in the background and a beautiful landscape of water, mountains ,  sand,fields, coconut and mango trees all around and big bungalows everywhere .

AN INTERESTING SCHEME OF COLOURS!

WRESTLING WITH THE WAVES!!

SHE COULD HAVE DONE THIS THE WHOLE DAY!!
SUNRISE!!!

The Baga beach essentially is a commercial one. Its like there is a fair everyday. We went there at around 6 am to see the sunrise and geography not necessarily being our strong point realized later that the beach was on the west coast. Any which way we had a great swim in the water as we pretty much owned the beach with very less crowd. We though really enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

We loved our unplanned trip. The sheer thrill of independence and the beauty of Goa enchanted us. Though next time around we would like to explore South Goa more and also explore the discs, pubs and casinos. We need some company to explore that, I guess!

A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET!!

I hope we plan an unplanned trip pretty soon and a whole lot of people join us! This one though was an absolute blast!

SAND CASTLES!!

NOSTALGIA….

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