A Party, a Phone-call & a Reunion…of sorts

Have been busy as a bee this weekend! I’m still getting used to the feeling. Before Ishaan, both Hubby and I preferred quiet, lazy weekends with only each other for company. We are not party animals and Hubby especially needed the time to unwind from a hectic corporate schedule (that’s if he was in town at all!). With Ishaan, we feel the need to make an effort to do stuff with him…take him out, to the beach, to the park, for a drive…you get the picture.

As you know, spent Saturday morning with a peacock on Vagator. Spent the evening with (I wish I could say peacocks of the human kind here! But…they were all good people :P), humans, partying. It was a seriously rollicking party…loud, noisy and fun-filled! Left Ishaan @ home with Mom and proceeded to enjoy 4 guilt-free hours, of adult conversation and banter with gay abandon 🙂 (Don’t scoff people and NEVER underestimate the therapeutic value of adult banter. I won’t!). No watching my language, no worrying about being a role-model and setting a good example and (here’s my favorite), guzzling down obscene amounts of Thums Up, without having to hide from Ishaan’s hawk-eyes 😉 Bliss 🙂 I must mention the ‘egg pakodas’…they were a marvel those pakodas! Piping hot, fried to a crispy, crunchy golden-yellow batter on the outside, enclosing a succulent bite of boiled egg within! Heaven! Was a glutton to add to my other sins 😉

The perfect ingredients for a gluttonous evening...Egg pakodas...
...and Thums Up!

Then there were the games! It’s been a while since I played games, other than cricket with Ishaan! My cousin K, our host, is quite the whiz, especially at Bollywood-based games and these were no different. Interesting and well thought-out. We were 5 teams and had to figure out in turn, the lead pair of a movie from its title (harder than you think!); the debut film of a given actor (ditto); and actors on whom a particular song had been picturized (toughest one this, especially since you only heard a garbled bit of the song for 20 sec!). Amidst much shouting and screaming and cries of “No fair!”, our team won all 3 games in spectacular fashion, thanks to P, who apart from being a Mills & Boon addict, also has a PhD in Bollywood Science 😉 Wicked skills P!! I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in a long time 🙂

Also realized that I’m quite the local celebrity (well in my limited friend-circle) as a blog-writer! That fact can cheer me up on my darkest days, and this one was far from it. I do hope I was suitably modest and humble, but I can tell you right now, I was bursting with pride and joy 🙂 A friend, I shall call S was especially kind 🙂 She called herself a ‘Fan’ and said there should have been a button that says as much, so she could click it on my posts!! Aaaaaaaaaw S…you’re very sweet and I’m very flattered and now it’s on ‘record’ so you can’t retract it later 😉 LOL…seriously though, I’m very grateful that you take time out to read my scribbles 🙂 However, to be fair, I must add that when I let S know that the party and its people would probably find themselves in my next post, her exuberance did taper a little! “You’re dangerous!”, she said, “Very dangerous!”, she announced to all those listening, before erupting into a bout of uncontrollable giggles 🙂 S & the afore-mentioned P are related (who isn’t in Goa?!), and yet while P has the Bollywood PhD, S is…well lets just keep it simple and say, she’s  Bollywood-challenged 😉 And yet thanks to her knack for making the right sort of friends, she had the largest pile of chocolates (that’s what we won for all our troubles!), at the end of the games session, without winning a single one! But that’s S…smart, witty, tongue-firmly-in-cheek! Here’s to you S…enjoyed your company & for what’s it worth, am a ‘Fan’ too – yours 😉

At 9.30, I made the mandatory call (good mother that I am), to check on the doings of my little devil. That led to the most amusing if rather weird phone conversation I have ever had! Mom picked up the phone and informed me that they were all still at the dinner table, and that Ishaan in his high-chair was in one of his crazy moods or should I say sugar-highs?! He had them enthralled with crazy talk and faces and they were all in splits! I must admit at that moment any teenie-weenie vestiges of guilt I may have felt for leaving him behind, magically evaporated! He was having a good time and so was I, and what could be better? 😀 Ishaan then came on (phone conversations are his new area of interest these days), and burst into an amusing incoherent monologue, punctuated occasionally with meaningful phrases like ‘Beggin yo! Sandwich khali. Nani asa.” (Come quickly! Ate a sandwich. Grandma’s here.). He went on in this vein for a good 15 -20 minutes, while I asked him questions in the hopes of improving his coherence, trying hard to control my laughter that threatened to ruin everything! Finally, after a particularly long diatribe, Mom managed to get the phone back and rather reluctantly, with Ishaan still yelling at the top of his voice in the background, we hung up. It really was too funny! We finally got home after midnight (we gave the karaoke session a miss :(), to be told that Ishaan has just fallen asleep not  10 minutes ago!! Looking down at his peaceful, sleeping face, I’m seized by a sudden urge to wake him up, tickle him and have a chance to say Good-night…but I resist (see, I am truly a good Mom!). It’s been a wonderful evening 🙂

Sunday morning and Hubby & Ishaan sleep in until 10 am! I should be so lucky! Still, I wrestle out of the bed by 8.30 and wandering downstairs decide to clean up the living room, which these days looks like a permanent war-zone! I’m expecting a friend in the evening and if I don’t get to it, she and her kids will have to squat on the floor like refugees 😛 There’s something you should know about me…I’m the world’s laziest person except when I’m possessed by a fiendish form of the cleaning-fairy. Then I can be clinically brutal. I spent the morning happily banishing Ishaan’s  innumerable toys to obscure corners, rearranging and dusting furniture, and sprucing up cushions. When I was done, the room was once again fit for human habitation. The evening was an extremely pleasant and memorable one 🙂 M arrived with her Mom and twins and we talked ourselves hoarse! A little background…M is related to me (Didn’t I tell you before that’s how it is in Goa!), and has visited our home, several times as a young girl. She’s my brother’s age though and I must confess that until she found and wrote me on Fb, I had no clue she even existed! She however had wonderful memories of time spent with my brother at home, on the beach, eating ice-cream and the like, which she was happy to share and we were more than happy to relive 🙂 The twins are 3 and a 1/2, adorable and Ishaan enjoyed their company. M is just as I thought she would be! You know how disappointing it is when you think you know someone and are then cruelly disappointed on the actual meeting? I’m happy to report, M met and exceeded every one of my expectations such as they were! We hit it off splendidly as I had known we would and my only wish was for more time together, a wish I hoped M shares 🙂 She did as I got to know from her very sweet message later that night 🙂 I do hope we get to catch up again, just the two of us over lunch. As always with women, there’s so much more to talk about 😉

A thoroughly enjoyable weekend…one that I’ll remember for a long time to come.

And now, Happy Monday Folks 🙂

A Peacock @ the Top of the World…

This morning we took Lady for a spin. If you’re a regular reader, you’re familiar with Lady.

A couple of months ago, I described our visit to Vagator beach. Here’s a recap for the interested.  I had mentioned then the fact that we would ‘do’ the Chapora Fort in another trip, preferably on a dry and sunny day. Today is the day.

The Fort is perched atop a hill and overlooks the confluence of the Chapora river and the Arabian Sea. A strategic location and one guaranteeing stunning vistas all around 🙂 We arrive at the base of the hill-fort and the first thing we come across, much to our delight is this chap…

Peacock on the Hill!

I try to get as close as I possibly can while trying to be as silent as I possibly can. I’m also trying to whisper to Ishaan so he doesn’t miss the sight. Hubby shushes my racket as the peacock wanders off downhill and disappears into the shrubbery. I’m convinced he’s part of a flock of 8 or 10 peacocks we saw one morning on another hill – Aguada. Hubby thinks I’m a nut, but that’s of no consequence. He’s not the naturalist in this family!

We make our way up the hill with its deceptive gradient that serves only to remind us how out of shape we are. A couple of minutes and we’re panting like thirsty dogs (No really! Not a pretty picture.). Hats off to Hubby here…he’s carrying Ishaan, who in his infinite child-like wisdom has chosen the best way up 😉 We rest ever so often on the way up, taking in the resplendent view of the Sea each time. It’s like a hike to the top of the World, figuratively speaking (And yet the way my body still feels, 3 hours after the climb, the tiny hill may as well have been Mt. Everest!).

View from the Top of the World 🙂

It takes us a good 15 or 20 minutes to get up to the Fort, with its ancient brick wall, dotted with trees and vines.

The Chapora Fort
The Chapora River...the sun was right in my face though!

We look for a way in but don’t find one and abandoning the search give ourselves up to the splendid vista. On our left stretches the Arabian Sea and far below, down the sheer cliff face is the sandy strip of Vagator Beach dotted with coconut palms and ant-people out for an early morning dip 🙂 To our right is the Chapora river, also dotted with houses that hug its banks and the ubiquitous coconut palms. There’s no sound except for the occasional buzzing of a scavenging bee and the gentle whir of dragonfly wings. Butterflies abound, staging a glorious silent symphony. This right here, I think, in this moment, is what Life is all about. Peace, nature in all her beauty and where if you listen carefully, you can hear the whispers of your soul. It’s a moment. An awesome one 🙂

We stay for a while taking it all in and resting our aching calves, catching our breath. On our way down, we spy a couple, in what looks like the middle of a tree! They obviously need privacy, but I’m thinking, who do they expect to run into here at the Top of the World…except for an adventurous couple with their inquisitive toddler? But we mean no harm nor I’m sure does the other couple we see making their way up, as we make our way down, no doubt looking for a sanctum of their own! The Fort now is obviously a hangout for lovers, although the gorgeous views are lost on them 😉

On our way down we also see this fellow…

Kingfisher...I think 😛

When we’re safely at the base, the Peacock has reappeared and left us a memento (I like to think) in the form of this…

Peacock plume

I pick it up for luck (though there are those who believe it’s unlucky!). I have never found a plume before with its source wandering nearby! And then we’re off, on our way home with Ishaan predictably falling asleep. A wonderful morning and a great beginning to what promises to be a busy weekend 🙂

Happy Weekending Folks!!

Vagator Wanderings…

Just back from a wonderful drive to Vagator beach!

We started off after lunch and made our way toward Mapusa and onward to Vagator, following our map. Again, winding roads lush with greenery and flanked by paddy fields…a Goan hallmark 🙂 We were headed to the Chapora Fort, that hubby had never been to and that I had vague recollections of from a school trip, aeons ago!

The fort sits on top of the Chapora hill and offers gorgeous views of the Arabian Sea, but although we got there, we didn’t walk the last 10 mins up to it. It was raining and the steep rocky path up to the summit, was dangerously slippery. We didn’t want to risk it with Ishaan in tow, and so that part of the trip will have to wait for dry, sunny day. We did see some wonderful birds though, blue-bellied with russet wings and lots of butterflies. Ishaan was thrilled to see a black and white spotted mongrel and was very eager to touch it! Not something I encouraged, much as I love dogs!

Just as we were ready to leave, we saw a girl, a foreigner, come walking down from the fort and we asked whether she would like a lift back down the steep slope. She acquiesced and we set off down the hill. I thought she was very brave to have gone on up to the Fort alone, given it’s isolated location! I wouldn’t have ventured there on my own and I’m a local! As we got talking, we discovered she was on a 2-month visit to India from Germany, and had already visited Rajasthan, Delhi and Bombay. She was now working her way down south – next stop – the Backwaters in Kerala. She seemed relieved that we spoke understandable, unaccented English and we decided to go to Vagator beach together and help her find a place to grab a bite on the way. It was siesta-hour, so naturally every restaurant was closed :P, and we decided to hit the beach first.

Vagator beach can be viewed from atop a craggy overhang and I had a sense of deja vu, like this was Tiracol all over again, that ‘end of the world’, remote, windswept, faraway feeling! There was a chilly breeze and a light drizzle. High tide had reduced the beach below to a slim strip of sand, the sea was rough and fishing eagles circled at eye-level looking for a meal! It was wild, wonderful and magical – there was ‘Atmosphere’ and then some, if you get what I mean! There were only a few Indian tourists, some of whom came up to our friend and requested a picture, to which she graciously assented! I found it strange, but apparently this happened to her quite often! I guess to millions of small-town Indians, seeing a foreigner and getting their picture taken, is still an exotic experience, much sought after and fondly cherished. As hubby points out to me, annoyingly at times (only ‘coz he’s right you understand ;-)), I’m hardly representative of the average Indian, with my privileged upbringing and urban lifestyle complete with frequent jaunts abroad! It’s easy for people like me to forget that the majority of Indians still live in her villages and although rapid progress is fast eroding their innocence in some ways, in others, they are still naive. Sometimes touchingly so. When she later shared that some Indian families she had requested for pictures, had asked for money in return, however – that just made me sad 😦

We sat there for a while, strangers, newly bonded by our shared experience and soaked in the ‘atmosphere’, while a couple of vendors approached our friend with beaded jewelery. They ignored us completely of course 😉 It was a memorable half hour 🙂 All to soon, the strengthening downpour signaled it was time to leave. On the way back we dropped our friend off at The Mango Tree, a bar, which seemed like a hangout for foreigners and where she would hopefully find friends and a bite to eat, after first exchanging e-mails and Facebook ids, so I could mail her the pics we took. With much waving and wishing her a safe journey ahead, we parted ways, certainly for us with fond memories of a chance encounter and I hope for her too 🙂

Another memorable addition to the Priolcar family archives!!