I’m sitting at the Delhi airport at 3 in the afternoon, waiting to catch my flight to Udaipur. As I hear a flight announcement to Goa, I feel a wave of happiness and nostalgia hit me, all at once and I find myself wishing that I was on that flight.
In my 23 years, I have been lucky enough to get a chance to visit Goa thrice. The first time I went was with my family. I was still a socially awkward teenager, too busy having an inferiority complex to notice the beauty around me. The second time I went was on a college trip and oh my! Much like the sand on a Goan beach-side when a wave hits, I was taken in completely.
I am a teetotaler and I’ve never done drugs (something that automatically qualifies you as uncool, atleast in college). For me, Goa was never about the clubs, the casinos or the raves. When my friends were feverish with excitement about going clubbing, I was visiting the churches of Old Goa, using the bus provided by college. When they were trying to figure out ways to smuggle alcohol into the resort without the teachers noticing, I was at Baga beach, watching the Arabian sea swallow up the Sun. I do not, by any means, want to imply that what they were doing was wrong. It was simply not meant for me.
The college trip was like Goa 101. We visited the North Goan beaches which attract the maximum crowd and visited the churches of Old Goa. We even tried the water sports Banana Boat and Jet Ski and ended our trip with a ride on the famous sunset cruise. It was perfect. But in my heart I knew, there was a lot left unseen and a lot that remained unexperienced. I had to come back.
As the years went passing by, I left my college years behind and joined the corporate world. I landed a job at the firm which was the dream firm for many. Everything was great until it wasn’t. My mental and physical health crumbled under the weight of countless e-mails, meetings and deadlines. I won’t go into the details here but things were rough. Watching a plane fly above me would bring tears to my eyes. It represented something that I didn’t have ( or atleast, I thought so) – a way out. So when the opportunity of another trip to Goa came knocking in the form of a random idea on a random day, I grabbed it and held on to it for dear life. I got down to work. I had to turn my random idea into my reality. I needed to.
It took a lot of planning but in June of 2016, it finally happened! I was in Goa again and it just felt right. Having grown up in the crowded and polluted streets of Delhi-NCR, it was so liberating to breathe fresh air and feel the cool wind in my hair. Thus began the most memorable experience of my life.