A visit to Goa, is a relaxing get away, which I try to build into my calender at least twice a year. Since it is not a holiday destination for me, but home, it includes a host of regular activities. One of these is the pleasure of taking my morning walk along the beach.
Another regular feature is dinner and movie at Inox with my niece, Pooja. This time, the movie options were few and we decided to catch the 10pm show of the latest Bollywood idea of cinema “Race 2”. For dinner she suggested a place called Terry’s, across the river. We took the ferry, which runs between Panaji and Tivim every 15′ both ways from 6am to 10 pm, and got back in time to see the movies, my views on which I shall keep in reserve except to say “Don’t waste your time”.
Another part of every visit is the trip to Calapore to have the excellent cooking of Pooja’s mother. They live in part of the ancestral house, which lies at the end of a predominantly Christian ‘wado’ or locality. During this visit, the fishing trawlers were on strike protesting against diesel price hike. The day I went to Calapore, the fish markets were closed, as a mark of support for the trawler owners. So I missed the fish curry, but the wonderful chicken dish and a shell fish ‘sukhen’ (dry preparation), were delectable.
Another regular activity is the visit to Nagueshi, our family temple. The concept of a family temple is fairly unique to Goa, as far as I know – each family has a family deity and the families attached to a particular temple are called the “Mahajans’ of that temple. The Hindus of this region were tortured by the Portugese rulers for many centuries and when faced with forced conversions, escaped with their Gods into the mountains. The original temples themselves were destroyed and were rebuilt in the latter part of the 17th century. They are clustered close to each other in the region known as Bardez and have a unique architecture, combining the elements of Hindu temple architecture principles with those of Muslim and church architecture in the exterior. The best known temple of the cluster is Magueshi, since it is after this village that Lata Mangeshkar’s family is named. Since the Mahajans try to visit their temple annually, even if residing outside Goa, these temples have built facilities for stay around the temple complex. The temples are also unique for the deepasthamba or lamp tower, which gets lit up on occasions.
I also found time to visit the new Public library that has come up in the Business sector of Panaji, near the bus station. It is a well stocked, modern facility with excellent amenities.
A visit to Goa is always an exhilarating experience and each time there is something new to learn and do.