Wednesday, March 31, 2010

random thought #1

one of the most important "settling in" things to do, is to make the quantum leap from moisturizing lotion to talcum powder. when adjusting to a hot and humid city, after living in a dry one all your life, THAT switch makes ALL the difference!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

…why the South beats the North

There is a severely commercial side of Goa geared to the tourists in every way. Mostly in the North. where the beaches are dotted with shacks, with neatly lines up sun beds for as far as your eye can see. Where the shack owners speak perfectly accented English that makes you look twice to see if the words are really coming out from the mouth that is speaking them! Where there are almost as many nude foreign tourists as there are newly wed, chooda-wearing Indian tourists. Where it’s more likely that the Italian and Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food on the menu is authentic, but the tempered down Goan delicacies that you are served are anything but authentic. Where you often see the piles of litter and wonder what can be done to correct the vicious cycle. Where it seems like the beach is a commodity. A carrot, dangled in front of the eyes of the millions of tourists who are lured here year after year.

And then there is the South. More importantly, there are beaches like Palolem. Where the sand is whiter, cleaner and soft on the feet. Where the sea is sea-blue, like it is meant to be. Where the waves lap gently, and don’t bring back garbage on to the shores. Where the beach is dotted with palm trees that lean and reach far towards the water. Where the shacks exist, but are far less crowded than up north. Where the beach is beautiful and inviting. Where you’re more likely to meet the true beach loving tourist, and not the trashy in-a-trance tourist. Where Cafreal, Sorpotel and Vindaloo is the real deal. Where the beach experience is mellow, serene and perfect. Where you can soak up the sun, the sand and sea, or just lie back with a book. Unperturbed by loud music, chattering crowds, the sounds of high speed sea sport, hawkers and sales talk. Where you’d love to go every chance you get.

Palolem is roughly a 2 hour drive from Panjim. And if you bike it down like we did, the drive can be beautiful for the senses but a pain in the ass. But the view of the sea on reaching Palolem, quite makes up for it all.

It’s true, the south and the north are poles apart. Palolem is more like a quaint village, with a shanty market area leading into the beach. Somehow this is more appealing than the drive up to some of the beaches in the north. Firstly, Palolem is a smaller beach, and slightly cut off from the open sea, as it is a little curved. Perhaps this is why the waves are gentler, smaller and make the sea far more suitable for swimming. I found myself quite peacefully swimming far out into the ocean, without really feeling at sea! On a good day, if the sunshine is just right, the rocky edges make for a good snorkeling experience. Otherwise Palolem is the perfect beach to spend a day, alternating between swimming, relaxing in the shade with a chilled drink, and kicking your legs back. Take in the blue view, read a book, listen to music, spend some quality time alone – Palolem is apt for it all!

We stumbled into a shack called The Big Fish, quite by accident, because we happened to enter the beach through their access way. And once we had hit the sea, we were too lazy to move around and find a better shack. Big Fish wasn’t all bad though. Despite lazy, slow service, the food was good. Thankfully the beach and the sea more than made up for the service that really made us feel like the shack owners were doing us a favor by entertaining us!

So it was a day well spent for me. A nice early morning drive, when the sun isn’t fully out as yet. A gorgeous beach. Some great swimming. Decent food. Some much needed peace and quiet. A lovely bowl of fresh fruit and ice cream to end it all. And a peaceful drive back to Panjim. None of which I could have done in the beaches of the North.

To Palolem and back. All in a day. The best way to spend a Sunday.

Monday, March 29, 2010

the first supper

this was written on 11 March, way before any of the more recent developments around the home occurred.

It’s been a mad few weeks. When I was here the last time around, we spent all our time house-hunting, finding the house and then carrying our gazillion bags and suitcases up to the house. This time around, all my time has been spent in cleaning, waiting for various Goan executives to answer my calls and show up at my doorstep with their respective services, and eating out. In fact the husband has been eating out for a month now. And we’re both quite sick of it.

Our gas connection isn’t here yet, because we need an affidavit in the husbands name in order to apply – something that the husband has had absolutely no time to do. Between the pressures of a new job, making a difference by spending extra hours at the office, drinking umpteen beers and eating out, he hasn’t been left with much time for anything else.

To cut a long story short, we haven’t started cooking at home as yet. Even though the kitchen has been cleaned up, rearranged, and the boxes with all my kitchen essentials almost fully unpacked!

But last night we decided to make do at home, and have our very first “home cooked meal” at the nest. On the menu was: beer, roasted cashew nuts, grilled cheese toasts, and chips if you felt like it.

I went to the supermarket earlier in the evening and we picked up some cheese slices, tomato-olive sandwich spread (which I instantly knew only I would enjoy more than the husband), Goan bread (which is an interesting variety of the Bombay pav – same texture and feel, in a different shape – and I loved it!), hot and sweet tomato ketchup, and a whole 24-pack carton of Tuborgs (FOR 19 RUPEES A BOTTLE. Beat that!)

The evening was spent in quiet solitude, being with each other, sharing news about the day and of possible things to come, plotting the weekends surprise (muhuhahaha!), some essentials for the house that are still pending (after the carpenter we bargained with rejected our call, we’re back to square one!), and talking about how this is the life I’ve always wanted. I’m forever grateful to VC for being the person that he is, and for bringing me closer to another dream.

The toasts turned out fine. Thankfully someone gifted me a toaster (the electric grilling sort) at the wedding, and I had stashed it away for a better day. It was totally handy last night! So while the night was quiet, the toasts anything but fancy and the ambience still a little run down (from all the unpacking that’s still left to be done), I’d have to say it was the best dinner I’ve had in a while.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

yet another WTF moment

...en route to anjuna...

Monday, March 22, 2010


there have been more developments around the home :)

the cooking experiments continue. but more importantly, we now have a place to sit and eat our home cooked meals. this weekend, after SO MUCH furniture hunting we managed to get ourselves a new dining table!

last night anand and lekha (in picture) came over and cooked us a fantastic meal. cream cheese pasta, pepper chicken and an awesomely perfect caramel custard. which we were all so pleased with, given the amateur levels of equipment my kitchen sports.

thats us waiting to pounce on dinner!

thats anand, so pleased with his "non-eggy-spatula bits-woody-caramel custard"!

Friday, March 19, 2010

cooking finally!

last night marked the beginning of another chapter in my life, titled "cooking ones own meals". after much confusion, being surrounded by cartons, crying out for help, sorting packets of groceries, tidying up and getting a lot of help from pooja, the kitchen is set.

pooja was realllly nice to come by and help out, give me a few recipes and also go veggie shopping. later she ended up staying and rescuing me from my burnt garlic paste catastrophe!

but it was a fun evening, and the kitchen being set has made the house a home. the aloo sabji wasnt too bad either. and the icing on the cake was that vc claimed he actually like it :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

domesticated old me

washing machine - check!
aquaguard - check!
fridge - check!
curtains - check!
tv - check!
tata sky - check!
bank account - check!
maid - check!
gas connection and stove - check!

i sure think so.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

happy brings more happy home

almost like a happy consequence to the little happiness we brought into our living room, we entertained last night :D

first guests at the new home.

and it was a riot.

the company: lekha, anand and krishna from vc's office
beverages: much beer was consumed. and a whole bottle of madera wine between lekha and me
food: chips, cashewnuts, prawns, biryani, butter chicken, rotis
conversation: somehow this always goes all over but never fails to return to the hallowed world of advertising!
the aftereffects: a giggly me and and a giggly lekha, an entertained anand, an entertaining vc and a stressed out krishna who was on the phone for the most part

hello, some more happiness :D

to bombay and melancholy and back..

vc and i went away to bombay for the weekend. a very impromptu decision to go, it was. vc went on work, and since it amounted to two days and three nights alone, i thought to myself why not go with him? so go i did.. and it turned out to be the best decision, because i got to surprise a very homesick niyoo, spend time with the cousins and my aunt who are all alone at the bombay house at the moment.

the weekend was spent consuming happy home cooked favorites, roaming the nooks and allies of fashion street and colaba for goa-friendly clothes. we also went to woodside inn, which was fun, and watched alice in wonderland in 3d.

the point im trying to make, however, is that returning on monday morning was no easy task. the house begged to be dusted and cleaned but i didnt feel like it. the laundry ached to be done, and i somehow managed to drag myself out of my homesick funk and do it, and all of a sudden the house felt cold and lonely.

for the first time since iv come to goa, i felt the weight of being terrible lonely. for so many days now theres been so much to do, places to go, errands to be run, the newness of the house etc..and no time to be sad and lonely. but yesterday, i felt it especially after vc left for work.

to battle the melancholy, i had a quick shower, discovered our phone is finally working (hallelujah!!) and left the house. the idea was to fill my otherwise empty day with random things to do, so i wouldnt feel so aimless.

later in the evening, i decided enough is enough, and if i keep waiting for the carpenter and the handyman and the phone man and the various other people to come set my house up before i step in and do my thing, il never feel settled and at home.

since i cant unpack my boxes yet, i decided to cozy up the house in what little way i could. and it worked wonders. we cozied up the living room a bit. bright yellow fabindia sheets on the floor gaddas, bright cushions and covers, 2 happy yellow light lamps and we're set.

welcome home, happiness

Thursday, March 11, 2010

project broadband internet

When we moved to Goa, "broadband internet" was on our list of essentials to get at the new house. We did our research, asked around and soon found out that Airtel hasn't figured out how lucrative broadband internet could be in Goa, so we were left with Hathway or BSNL. Everyone we spoke to seemed to recommend BSNL. Since we were not left with much choice, we decided it would have to be BSNL. And soon an adventure unfolded. One that is punctuated with many "WTF" moments, and is still unfinished 3 weeks since it began…

  • You realize the need for broadband internet and you soon realize BSNL is you only option. The next logical thing to do is to try and find the local BSNL office. People point you in all possible directions. One sweaty blistering afternoon you walk around for about 2 hours, before you actually find it
  • You go to the BSNL office and on making an enquiry about their broadband services, you have a hard time understanding what the person across the counter is telling you
  • You figure out he's telling you that you need to fill 2 forms out – one for the telephone line and another for broadband internet
  • You then proceed to ask him for the forms, since it seems that your enquiry wasn't a sign enough for him to hand them to you as well
  • Then you try and fill the incoherent, roundabout forms despite the fact that there is not a single place in the office where you can put a sheet of paper down and write on it
  • Then you hand the form over to the man behind the counter
  • He then tells you that you need to go to the other BSNL office – the customer service kind of office
  • You ask him where it is and he responds to say it is "behind that building" (and he points to the building in front of him)
  • Ok. You think that makes sense, so you walk over, and luckily there is a sign indicating it
  • You stand in queue and wait endlessly till the man behind the counter lazily deals with one person after another. Sometimes taking random breaks in between to drink water, flirt with the lady at the system next to him, randomly make conversation with his colleagues – while we continue to wait in the queue thinking WTF!
  • Finally your turn comes and he takes an eon to process it, repeating the antics which you have now become quite used to, considering the amount of time you have been watching him do his thing
  • He scribbles a telephone number on a receipt. That's your telephone exchange he tells you, and he says you need to call them and demand that they come fix your telephone. You think WTF again, but then again it's Goa – maybe that's how things work here. So you agree and move on
  • The next day you call the telephone number in the morning. No answer. You try again. Still no answer. You try again and again and again. Then you think there's something wrong. So you decide to wait for your wife to come back to Panjim so she can go to the customer care centre, speak in Konkani to hopefully flatter the executive into getting your phone fixed sooner
  • In the meantime you find out from your watchman that the BSNL linesman has come to your home and gone away twice in your absence
  • Oh well. You decide you'll just have to wait for your Konkani-speaking wife to come to Panjim to work her Konkani charm on them
  • When she does finally come, it's ironic that she calls the blessed telephone number and someone answers it at the very first instant! What's even more ironic is that she speaks to the voice at the other end in English and he conveys to her that the linesman will be sent to our home that very evening. WTF indeed
  • She waits. There is no linesman
  • She calls again at 5 15 pm, and is told that the office closes at 5 30, so there is nothing they can do
  • The next day the doorbell rings. Your wife is astounded because you know nobody in Goa, who would show up at your doorstep. Unless some friend of yours decided to surprise you with a visit!
  • It turns out it's the linesman. Looking very pissed off that his job isn't getting done. So you invite him in to do the deed. But he says he will have to come back again since he hasn't carried the instrument with him. Again, WTF indeed
  • He promises to return at 4 the same day and you give him your telephone number so he can call you before he arrives
  • You're out in the evening, but you make it a point to return home by 4 so you can welcome your new telephone into your new home
  • Of course, the linesman doesn't feel the same way about having the job done. He doesn't show up
  • The next day your Konkani speaking wife calls the exchange again and furiously demands that your phone be delivered, up on which he is told that the linesman has been instructed to do so since incidentally there is another telephone to be fixed in the same apartment complex. You feel fortunate that "the" day has finally arrived
  • When the linesman does finally arrive, he behaves like its entirely YOUR fault that he wasn't able to fix the telephone
  • Through the ordeal that you've been through, you imagine that the process of fixing the telephone will take an age, so you sit yourself down on an uncovered mattress and prepare for the long wait. You're already cursing the crap out of the linesman for arrive just when you were all ready to shower and leave the house to go get your errands done
  • The linesman starts the job, carefully taking the telephone line in through the window and connecting it to my brand new handset
  • And voila! That was it. In less than 7 minutes you have a telephone
  • Excited, you pick up the receiver, only to find there is no dial tone. The linesman tells you disinterestedly, that the exchange will give me a call soon, which will activate my telephone and give me my number. WITHIN half an hour he assures me. You believe him
  • You shouldn't have. Because more than 24 hours later you still haven't received the call. So you have a BSNL telephone. Without a dial tone. And you don't know your telephone number. And you cannot apply for the broadband internet services unless you have all of the above

WTF indeed.

the good, the bad and the ugly...

The good…things I'm really looking forward to:

  • a quiet life, with time to enjoy every experience
  • cooking, alone and together
  • being cooked for
  • picking out random things for the house
  • doing up the house
  • slowly collecting the things that make a house a home
  • quiet walks on the beach
  • the simpler, clutter free life without the hassles of a big city
  • a healthier way of living
  • more together time, spent doing interesting things
  • driving out on the weekends to the many escapes around Goa
  • discovering Goa, for more than what it is known

The bad…things that have made me want to tear my hair out:

  • getting a telephone is a nightmare
  • getting internet, even more so
  • no friends as yet
  • the strange sounds I hear/imagine in the house

The ugly…things that make me go WTF:

  • the neighbours' reluctance to offer help/advice
  • the spaced out people who seem like they never know what's going on
  • when you ask a passer by for help/directions/advice, and if they don't know the answer to your question, they can never just tell you they cant help! They'd much rather just look away or make some obscure sound/groan and hope you will disappear into thin air! What's up with that

day one

  • Day one began with a sudden loneliness as soon as VC left for work. But thankfully it didn't last very long at all, as I surveyed the gargantuan task of cleaning that lay ahead of me. What better way to fight the sense of newness and unfamiliarity than to start getting things in order, the way you like them to be. The way it makes everything feel familiar. I'm amazed how anal I can get about keeping things tidy and putting things in their respective places. The soap now has a place, the washing machine detergent now has a place, and the sink scrubber now has a place. Yes, I notice how I'm only rambling on about cleaning equipment, but that's probably because the rest of our life's belongings are still tucked away in cardboard boxes and suitcases randomly strewn around the house
  • That reminds me, day one is also the day the packers and movers safely delivered my consignment. Almost no damages noticed so far, except for a lovely Fabindia lamp that got a little bent. I hope it's fixable. It's almost scary to see how your whole life can get packed away into boxes. No order, no heed, just packed away. Everything that we hang on to so dearly, the clutter that we bring into our lives, only to make it substantial and filled with "stuff". So the house is strewn with boxes and other random household items, which will soon find a place of their own. Much like the soap, detergent and sink scrubber
  • Day one also began with my first real up close encounter with a host of insects. I have successfully exterminated 3 generations of cockroaches (I'm pretty sure), an entire civilization of ants, some lonely geckos and a few wise spiders hanging around he place. The experience, I have to say, was not pretty, and certainly not something I would like to endure once again
  • Day one was when I went to the good old Coffee Day I have discovered close to home, where I envisage I will be spending a lot of my time. I went there for a decent cup of coffee, my first since I left Bangalore. I was satisfied. The weather was lovely, the setting sun light, just right. And I was so happy to see the number of healthy campers trudging along in their sneakers, shorts, ipods etc. It reminded me of how Goa is going to be about getting back in good health, having the time to exercise, cooking healthy food, and staying fit (amongst other things..hehe)
  • But of all the things I have just gone through, the one memory of day one that lingers in my mind is the feeling of immense satisfaction and contentment. At having my own place/space. Cleaning it up the way I know best. Being alone and feeling the tension. Brushing those thoughts away and coaxing myself into being brave. Day one was about the beginning of taking charge – which comes with so many other things attached. Day one was about the realization that living alone is overwhelming, yet it brings a sense of calm over me
  • Day one will be most remembered for the feeling of finally coming home

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Goan Eccentricities 3

This one is awesome. We were looking through the menu and wanted to order something in chicken. Well, not me cos I'm vegetarian but the people with me? Yeah they...So anyway as you can see there were 6 dishes to choose from. What really struck me was the 2nd one on the list.
"Chicken". Just "Chicken". Wow.. Thats like a whole new level aint it?

Can I get one chicken please?
Which chicken?
Oh just chicken.
Oh by the way are you gona bring it on a leash and tie it to our umbrella?

Friday, March 05, 2010

moving lock, stock and barrel...

...except, in my case its clothes, shoes and a ton of JUNK.

when the husband packed up and moved 3 weeks ago, he has 2 suitcases with clothes, one big duffel bag with some more clothes, and another big duffel bag with shoes.

i laughed at the AMOUNT of luggage he had.

today i began packing. and thought id be way better than he was.

i was mistaken. because im going to have what seems like 278346278364 clothes, 14 pairs of footwear, and TONS of junk. and that includes random pieces of paper, memories, pictures, cds, books, bills, diaries, journals, postcards...basically things i have never gotten down to organizing and stashing away neatly.

its confirmed. im a hoarder. i need help.

hohumsign.. i wonder what the husband is going to have to say about this..

Monday, March 01, 2010

Goan Eccentricities 2

I met a guy today. One of those typical road side temporary shop owners. I stopped to buy some cigs.
Me: 1 pack lights please
He: I dont have a pack I have just 9.
Me: Ok I'll take them.
He: No I can give you 5
Me: What? Just give me all 9.
He: No i need them.
Me: You do? Aren't you supposed to be selling them?
He: Yeah I need a few here in the shop to sell.
Me: What? Isnt that what you're doing now?
He: I cant give you all 9. Thats it. I wont have any left.
Me: To myself (You're a freaking moron. The weirdest I've met so far).