I’ve never really had a happy place, except maybe airports in general, their bustle, sense of purpose and anonymity, abundance of love, airplanes taking off and airplanes turning down. And, Goa, perhaps. Easily among the most beautiful, diverse, places of peace in the country.
Growing up, we always turned to Goa for a few hours in the sun, hours riding the waves, prawn curry and rice. When I grew a little older, we discovered a Goa for all seasons. A November Goa for a whirlwind girls trip before a wedding, a Goa in the rains, and on more recent occasions a Goa halfway into summer, hot in the day…mellow at night, a happy place just the same.
I no longer know where Goa is lost, or perhaps where I lost Goa. Where it stopped being my happy place- comforting, and unending in every discovery, and easy. Goa, this weekend welcomed me with a hundred odd pot-bellied men in a swimming pool, their Harleys roaring for attention, their music anything but that which rhythms with sea. Goa’s nightlife had morphed into catcalls and much too much alcohol; we spend hours watching drunks being carried into their hotel rooms.
The beaches boast red flags, but really it is her streets, I cannot remember being more comfortable in a Goa in my jeans? The night sings in catcalls, men alternate between grinding into each on the dance floor, and ogling at women. Women occasionally, uncontrollably fall in pairs to the sand.
We are admittedly disgruntled. We want to soak in the night by the pool, but cannot help but think… What have we done? What have we done to our wild and free? What have we done to Goa?
Or maybe everybody’s happy place can never be ours.