The OH and I finally took that beach vacation we had been craving for, since oh-so-long. We went to Goa, Baga in particular. Of late, all our travels, if any, have been hectic and coloured by some personal issue or the other. We wanted this holiday to be utterly lazy and relaxed, free of any major sight-seeing, free of any sign of hectic-ness. Eating, lounging around on beach beds, playing in the waters, watching TV, reading on the beach, loads of talking and sleeping… this is all we really set out to do this time. I must say, we succeeded in doing that, to a large extent. We left Bangalore without a real agenda in mind, and let the days take shape as our moods dictated.
A lot of travel magazines and blogs urge you to explore the Goa beyond the beaches, tell you that there is a lot more – and there is, indeed, but sometimes a beach is all you need. I don’t think the beaches of Goa are over-rated. There are some rather pretty ones, some very quiet ones. There are some with a high degree of commercialisation, too, but even they hold a charm, for me. And, you can always choose to avoid the commercial aspects, if you really want to.
There are few things in life more therapeutic than sitting in the sea a little farther down from the bank, and letting the salty waters wash over you, sometimes teasing your legs, sometimes splashing your face, sometimes lashing at your waist. I find that the best way to play in the sea. Standing in the waters and letting the waters gently lap at your feet, covering them with a mound of sand if you stay at the same place for too long – I find that extremely relaxing.
There is very little more stress-busting than lounging around on the sunbeds after a nice hour-long splash in the sea, pretending that you are a vegetable. Nibble at the bites that the shacks around you are more than happy to get you, sip on lemonade, sleep away to glory, read or people-watch. Or just spend a quiet time with your partner. Or really talk to him/her. A beach bed is great to build a connection with people.
Beaches are great levellers. They speak to everyone – Indian, American, Russian, English or Chinese – in their own language. They embrace everyone. They don’t discriminate. They are great spaces to learn about lifestyles and people from different countries, very, very far away from yours. I always find that beautiful. This holiday was no exception.
Watching the sea change colour with the passage of the day, the sun go up and then turn a fiery pink and go completely down – nothing beats that, I think. It is so hugely relaxing. And, need I even say anything about the soothing qualities of a walk down the beach, barefoot on the cold sand, by moonlight?
The sea makes you contemplate. It makes you think of all sorts of things. For instance, how many millions of feet have trodden on these sands? Exactly how far is that horizon, that appears to be endless? Occasionally, the sea gifts you a small token, like a bit of beautiful shell or a pretty little piece of seaweed to wrap around your neck like a necklace. That opens up a whole new world of wonder for me, about the treasure that lies beneath all the water that I can see.
Being on the beaches of Goa in the night-time is a celebration, every single day, and I say this in spite of not being a drinker or a night-club-goer or a party-hopper. There is something special about listening to soulful music on the beach, watching the shacks come alive with strings and strings of electric lights, gazing at the fireworks and looking up to spot the constellations of stars in a seemingly endless expanse of sky.
I find it extremely romantic to sit on one of those little tables that the shacks set up alongside the beach every night, and dine on delicious food by candlelight, with the sound of the waves in my ears, the husband looking utterly peaceful and smiling beside me. And when I spot a table being specially decorated for a honeymooning couple, with balloons and candles in the shape of a heart all around, I always hope for the girl’s heart to almost burst with joy and love on seeing it. I know mine would.