After my visit to Pondicherry on the east coast a couple of months back, I decided to take my next vacation to Goa on the west coast in the third week of February. This time with a bigger group. Including Mom, my sister Mariam, her son Faisal, my wife Ruqaiya and daughter Zunaira. Dad dropped out a week before the travel and we changed the plan from a road trip to flying to and from Goa.
This was my third visit to Goa.Last visit being 11 years back. Lots has changed since. Last time I was still in college. Now I'm a professional and a family man. Dynamics of travel and holidaying changes once you have a family.
Our vacation began on the early morning(3 30 am) of 19th Feb. We took the 0630 flight from Bangalore to Goa. The drive to the airport was an experience I can't forget. The driver was one of the craziest Cabbie I've ever seen. He drove like he had an F1 pole position at stake. More I asked him to go slow and take it easy, the faster he went. It was not a good feeling having my daughter on my lap. When we got down, the driver said that he thought I was asking him to go faster and kept speeding up. He was not that good in speaking kannada. Probably he knew only one word for slow and I used all other synonyms for the word slow. Still I feel he was just ripping for the thrills and came up with an excuse.
We arrived in Goa at 730 in the morning. Having been there about a decade back the airport looked different. The airport was way below expectation considering Goa is a global holiday destination. The airport looked more like a bus stand. It reminded me of how Bangalore airport looked Atleast 15 years back. Hope to see a better airport in Goa, next time I'm there. During my last visit I remember the motor bike taxis that were very common. I dint see any of them in this visit. Another thing that caught my eye was presence of Russians. So many of them that there were Russian signboards on restaurants and shops.
After arrival we headed to the club Mahindra resort located by the Varca beach. It is a picturesque setting especially for those who are looking for a family holiday in Goa. We reached the resort well before the checkin time. We spent the time exploring the resort and resting in the lounge. After we checked in around 1 PM, we had some lunch and rested for a short while.All of us went to the beach around 5 30 PM to see the sunset. It was a breathtaking evening. The sea breeze and the waves in the backdrop of the setting sun just invites you to jump in. I could not resist myself. Zuni, Faisal and the ladies were happy to chill by the sea but I could not resist myself. I just walked into the sea. I enjoyed the waves hitting me on my chest. After a while swam also. Though I swim pretty well, the salt water has kept me off swimming in the sea. But this time was different. I could not resist swimming. It was a beautiful evening That turned dramatic when I dropped my cell phone while returning from the beech. On reaching the room I was devastated but I called my phone and nobody picked. After several attempts a couple answered my call. They returned the phone to me near the beech. They deserve a special thanks. After this dramatic event we ate some of the instant food that we had packed from home.
Next morning started very early. I got up by fajr. Played for a while with Zuni and went to the beach around 8 30. It was a very beautiful morning. I ran on the beech and swam alternatively. Kept thinking about my childhood. When my dad had been very protective about me. I din't try as many adventures then as I do now. Swimming in the sea, in my mind is one of the most pleasurable experiences and one who hasn't experienced it has missed out on something very beautiful. Following this great outing, we had a heavy breakfast in the restaurant. Nothing compliments a swim like a heavy meal soon after.
That evening again, we were all by the sea. Kids played in the sand for a while. When I was enjoying the waves. But something shocking happened. Zuni started walking with me towards the sea. She started running into the water. Ruqaiya and myself tried our best to keep her back but she kept fighting her way ahead. We were forced go carry her back to the room. This is when I realized why my dad was so protective. But I feel too much protection or freedom are both dangerous in their own way. Challenge for any parent is to balance between ther two extremes. When I look back I feel my dad did a great job in our upbringing.
On the following day, I took Faisal to the swimming pool. Initially he was very scared of water. But soon he overcame his hydrophobia and started enjoying his outing in the water. I'd say this was on1of the highlights of this trip. Kids learned to look beyond their cartoons and malls for fun. No childhood is complete without exposure to natural environment like the sea etc.
Day 3 was more relaxed compared to the previous two days. Spent decent amount of time swimming and taking kids out in the play area. Mariam and I went to the Varca village to buy some grocery. Varca is nothing like a village. You get anything that you might find in the best supermarket in Bangalore. That's the best part of a holiday destination. It has all the amenities without the hustle and bustle of a city.
The final day being a Friday, We got up early. Spent sometime by the beach. And I swam for sometime with Faisal. We checked out around 11 and spent the day in the resort till evening. Meanwhile I took a cab to Margao for the Friday prayers. Though Margao is the second best city of Goa after Panaji, it looked like a sleepy old town. I found an interesting mughlai restaurant called 'Shahi Durbar' where I had my lunch. It tasted pretty good. I packed lunch for the others waiting for me back in the resort. The parathas and kababs were eaten later that evening in the airport. They tasted much better than I expected. On 22nd of Feb we left Goa with memories we will cherish for sometime to come.
Though this trip was completely on a single beach/resort it was a refreshing getaway. Dynamics of travelling changes a lot once you are a parent but travel/holidays can be made beautiful inspite of the constraints. Such holidays help you break the monotony and reconnect with the nature and the child within you. You comeback to your monotonous life energized and more focussed.
Now that I'm back at work, there are some changes happening around me and I'm looking forward to dealing with them with a new zest. Look forward to some interesting developments on professional front and wishing for many more vacations in days to come.