The New Year started quietly, but children are resilient and by the 3rd, they were enthusiastic to head to Dudhsagar plantation. I have been going to Goa regularly, since 1973. I had made one trip to see the Dudhsagar falls in one of those early trips. After that I have crossed the mountains of Goa many a time by bus and on a few occasions by train, in the days when we travelled back and forth by land. In the last few years we fly in and out and the mountains get forgotten in the charm of the ocean. This time, I decided that the mountains needed some attention. And so I had found this small farm stay and booked a short stay.
A short 90′ drive took us to the destination, which is tucked away in a quiet corner of the state, the nearest towns of Sanverdem and Mollem being 15-20 KM away. The family which runs the place have converted their family property into a small facility with a few independent huts of variable sizes. We had one with 3 beds, and the amenities were clean and basic – but no A/C or room service for the picky types. The lounge area was an open hut (am not sure what happens in hotter times!) with basic seating and 24hr free wi-fi! There was no Airtel tower anywhere in the vicinity and so I was totally out of phone contact. Of course with wi-fi, there is always WhatsApp!! The food was basic and tasty as all ingredients were local and fresh.
So what did we do for 48 hrs? We walked the local walking trail, which had us wade across the Dudhsagar River both ways.
The 7-8 Km walk took us past a couple of local villages, and we got a small glimpse of the local life. The community is mainly agricultural and beside the paddy cultivation, cash crops such as betelnut, coconut and cashew are part of every house. We passed the local government primary school, a fairly new and nice building where the children were running out for their mid-morning break. I walked in and talked to the 2 young lady teachers – there are 40 odd students upto class 4. The children were all in neat uniforms and were too shy to talk, but smiled broadly.
We explored the plantation which had coconut and betel palms, but also had pepper vines creeping on the betel palms and vanilla and nutmeg trees. There were 10 cows and the kids watched the milking. They also made friends with the dogs (two of them accompanied us on out walk), and did not want to come away from the 2 little kittens.
There were 2 young girls who did the cooking, serving and looking after the other needs of the the residents. Both were Hindi speaking and came from Jharkhand. The other staff were also mostly from Jharkhand, with no local workers at all. The Eastern states of the country, seem to be providing the labour force for most of the country.
It was a real quiet retreat, with 100% pure air (an important point for us Gurgaonites), and it was a good get away!