Tart it up

A giant biscuit tart the size of a large pizza, first with a layer of fresh sliced bananas.  Then a layer of fresh cream, followed by a layer of farm fresh strawberries and fresh cream after. Now a layer of butterscotch cake and ice cream is added and topped off with a generous amount of caramel sauce. The tart would feel like winter finally arrived.

A bite of something this delicious and sweet is required because it finally hit me. The fact that I’m going to be leaving, I’ll be gone and wouldn’t want to come back has arrived. It’s sad, slightly painful and just a little cold (but the cold never bothered me, anyway). I’m not depressed, I still want to leave and go ahead but I can’t seem to shake off the little sad feeling lurking around in the dark.

Where the hell can I go find such a huge tart? And why aren’t I satisfied? I just want to be able to move on without being held back or caught in a spider web.

Day 4, bye Goa

The day before we leave, it’s time to beach hop again. We started at the far off corner, the Querim beach. It was almost empty, quite-ish, peaceful and food less.

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Querim Beach

After Querim beach we followed Google maps to reach the next beach in this order: Arambol, Harambol, Ashwem, Mandrem, Morjim, Vagator and finally Anjuna. The hopping was tedious and lucky for me on the way, I saw antique store and bought pretty wooden boxes.

At arambol beach I got some awful ice tea, sister got a terrible mango lasi and my mum played it smart by getting herself a coca cola. We drank all this over fries while watching the cows slowly tread through the beach. 

We next headed to Morjhim, it was a peacefully empty beach and I got myself a crazy tee shirt with the Jack Daniel whiskey print on it, at the shack outside the beach. Then our long journey to vagator beach began and so did my regret to come on this trip.
We got to the Vagator beach road, had a quick and peaceful lunch and then hunted before heading to the beach. We reached the beach and my sister and dad went parasailing whole I tried to take artsy pictures of my shoes.

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Urge to be artsy, Vagator beach.

It started getting late and I gave up on making to the Wednesday flee market at Anjuna beach. I went ahead and took a swim while they took forever to finish. Then on our hunt for petrol, a conversation about an expensive holiday started. I said, “Even if my first book turns into a world’s number one, I don’t think I’d be able to afford the fanciest vacation Goa can offer.”

Dad: ” Nobody on this planet would read something you wrote.”

It hit a nerve. We headed to Anjuna beach and the flee market has shut down by the time we got there and we took a walk on the blissfully quite beach before heading back to our room in Lar Amarosa.

After quick showers and a bicker, we went out to get dinner. This is where my discovery happened, service time in Goa, in general is a few hours. We ordered food around 9:20, our starter reached at 9:50, main course at 10:20 and we finished dinner at 11. 

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Starter: Chicken Tandoori

I discovered service in all Goan restaurants is late, always. Hopefully I send out my post cards tomorrow at 9, thank God my flights at 1. Bye, bye Goa.

All the pictures on this post belong to me.

© Vinay, 2016

Goa, day 2

​We woke up late. Not just me but all of us, we got to breakfast only at 9:30 because they’d not serve us breakfast after that, we thought. Then we only left our rooms by 12 in the afternoon and no regrets there, it was relaxing and kinda carefree. I guess at least the care free part of the vacation is happening and I was good with it for now.

We headed to Divar island but landed in Chorão Island which was also a river island with a bird Sanctuary that was closed. Then we got off the island to find the next ferry to take us across the Monrovia river. The weather gets hot but the humidity balances it out and a fan makes living comfortable.

The real trouble was when my dad didn’t stop at the stretchs of grass to take pictures but stopped 2 kms later at the Mandovi river back waters. This was the spot where we’d get the ferry to old Goa, a nice ride.

We got off the ferry to run into the Church of St Catherine and then the Basilica of bom jesus. Beautiful pieces of pre-colonisation architecture and every step on the floor felt like it was a step back in to history. 

Then we went to eat at the first visible restaurant, Green yard Restaurant and the food was served after an hour of waiting. It wasn’t great food or bad food but it killed our dinner appetite, that was very disappointing.

Shopping on 18th June street and was a plan , but we didn’t really shop because there wasn’t anything local. Our walk helped us discover a coffee place there, it reminded me of Bangalore’s Indian Coffee house. The food looked so good but I couldn’t eat anything  because of the heavy stomach from a late and sad lunch, but the coffee place was worth sitting and exploring their variety of  cheaply priced food.

Another swim in the pool but I decided to watch TV while my parents chilled and then we had ice cream and fruits for dinner. I also heated some leftover chicken sukka from the previous night. Now we slept, in our warm beds and a cold AC.

Goa dia um (day one)

We got out of the airport to discover my mom dropped my jacket inside the airport. I had to show my boarding pass to the watchman before going in, but thankfully found it inside. I’ve lost and found it way too many times, so I decided to leave it packed inside the luggage till we get back to Bangalore.

The Goa airport was nothing like the Bangalore airport and it was disappointing. My dad hadn’t booked a cab or reserved a hotel till we landed but we managed to finalise our room in the exotic Portuguese home turned hotel, Lar Amorosa

We went down to the road from Lar Amorosa to get breakfast from a little hole in the wall hotel, called Hotel Grace. We had a very quick breakfast of bhaji pao and omelettes, my mother didn’t want to eat there and my dad wanted to eat there just to seem cool out out of hunger. I hated the red plastic that was coated with a dark black coat of paint.
We got back to the room and we took an hour long nap while my dad got a car and chatted away with them people. We headed to Calangute beach, then went to a cute looking café for lunch. Nothing great, but descent food and wasn’t worth remembering the name. The swim in Calangute beach was exciting and exhaustive, leaving me weak for the beautiful Bagha beache.

At Bhaga beach we watched the clean beach, it’s pristine white soil and dead fish. I spotted a bunch of dead fish, a lotta crustaceans while I tried to collect shells, most were living so I ended up picking stones.

We went to Aguada fort, took some touristy photograps and then to the Sinquerim beach near it. From there we headed back to the luxury of our room.

I took a swim in the pool and we headed out to Kamalabai restaurant for some lip smacking fish dinner. We got back a Goan chicken dry that we are due dinner the next night.

Chai chowk and Chilly-chicken

Chai Chowk is my new favourite place. They have a khadak (strong) ginger chai for Rs 10/- a minty, lemony and sugary Sulaimani chai for Rs 8/- and they have bun omelette for 35/- which I think is a ripoff. They have some really good Chilly-chicken, but it was made in the Indian-Chinese style and I was craving Andhra style chilly-chicken that is a staple in Mayura Hotel on JC road and all the Nandini and Nadhana’s along with the randomly placed Swathi and Maharaja restaurants.

The food at home is no different from a meal from any of the above restaurant and yet when we are out, my weirdo family still wants to eat the same. I get the faithfulness my family should show towards Biryani and Chilly-chicken but why meals? Then I try them and realised my mum’s an amazing cook but sometimes the same dish in someone elses house is prepared better and my mum changes how she cooks after the tasting. We made mutton dry fry at home only after trying it at Nandini Palace in Jayanagar where the meat was having a sanskari orgy with the pepper, curry leaves and fried cashew. Everyone was a winner after that lunch, thank god we had to go to Lovely dresses in Jayanagar to buy my school uniform.

Munching chicken biryani at home, I’ve decided Chinese style Chilly-chicken isn’t my thing and that I won’t indulge unless I’m super hungry, because the red Chinese isn’t my scene, it’s always going to be the green Andhra-style chilly chicken. Punit and I were at Chowk after a private music gig and at 7:45 we ordered chicken that came after 15 minutes. We talked, while I sipped tea and then our chicken arrived. I devoured the boneless chicken with him and we got a second plate of chilly-chicken and that lathed with tomato sauce and random capsicums floating about.

This is my new favourite place after college, I sit at stone bench and table right next to the wall which is open slightly and the best table there. There have been many days where Edwin and I would wait for hours for the table and still wouldn’t get it. I’ve spent the last two weeks here, almost every alternate day. Edwin said this is the second place he’d get a date, if the date can survive Chin-Lungs and Chai-Chowk then it’s meant to be, apparently.

I’ve been dying to write about Chowks blue wall at my spot, the dying old table, shabby looking floors, the intellectual looking Uncle who makes bun-omelette & rolls, and the polite waiter who is really nice to gives me a very toothy smile that he gives all the regulars I feel bad that I don’t know the name of my favourite waiter, will ask him his name the next time I go. The crazy people who come here, their loud and boisterous conversations are entertaining. Women don’t frequent this place enough, but you randomly get to see a family with an infant or an older women in conversation with someone and drinking the ginger chai with swag that only Rajni can compete with. Now I want to go to Chowk and have some ginger chai.

Reasons

For reasons I still can’t fathom I wanted to make a list of things in other people that in the past made me skip a heartbeat. I feel this blog post is partly to blame too. Anyways my list has a pretty simple start but as you go deeper I can’t promise anything about what you’d read.

 

Pokémon

I almost dated someone who loved the show, games and everything as much as I did, at 24, she’s one of my closest friends now. People who love Pokémon or know their stuff always, I promise always get brownie points. Even if that person is my mortal enemy.

Smile

There are very pretty smiles, then there brutally honest smiles, beautiful bitchy smiles and I know what you did last night smiles. My favourite is always when you smile or laugh before you think.

Honesty

I fell in love with someone who was so honest, his words would cut till you bleed, but he never knew how to stop. It was easy to trust and probably why I feel in love. Honesty hurts, but it’s worth pain, BDSM too.

Coffee

If you can enjoy a cup of filter coffee (or kappi) or more, this will work wonders. I can make coffee and if you can keep the conversation, we should get married. The Ross in me gets triggered by the “M” word.

Music

Your playlist could be how I feel in love with you and the first line of the book about us. A good playlist can make me swoon.

Food

If you can eat breakfast at home, lunch from your lunch box, dink tea at the chai shop on the shady galli, samosa jalebi from the hole in the wall on our way home and dinner somewhere fancy, I think the impossible is attained. Let’s sell our souls to the devil for good food and books.

Going out with myself

“Yemo kushi dantla” “there’s joy in that” said this older uncle collecting the ten, ten rupee coins for his hundred note from the waiter. I typed the previous line in Helvetica font and I didn’t like the way it looked, then I instantly tried changing the font size and it didn’t look any better. So I picked Book Antiqua and the font size was 12, but on my blog the font style and size are different, so you’ll never see any of this. I stopped the previous line at ‘was’ because my friend showed up, so I shut the laptop, put it back in my bag and shifted my attention to her.

Her arrival was the end of my date with myself, like a therapy session it was short, but long enough. During the date, I had a coffee and chicken puff while I wrote an email to a friend that I’ll mail at the end of this sentence. I sent the email, texted a couple of people and I’m hoping the head ache will go away if I ignore it. If only that worked, let’s hope the head ache gets the message because I usually don’t. Hypocrite alert.

I’m gonna get back to work because the date with myself was too intense for me to deal with right now.

It took me three weeks to slowly unpack everything that went through over the date and weeks later after three trials of finding the right playlist I’m writing again. The playlist is Anoushka Shanker’s album “Anourag”with two Kannada songs and two songs from Coke Studio Pakistan (obviously, the clearly have the better Coke Studio). These discoveries have been pretty simple, if I continue to ignore the pain it’ll only get worse. Everything needs to be grieved and mourned, but longer than needed it turns into a pity party.

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My wall out of focus

So my pity parties are getting considerably shorter, I seem to be happier in general. Letting people go is the best way to start, also staying hydrated and regular exercise helps but like can only pick one, so bye, bye peeps. Closure or cutting things off cleanly always helps. The flowers in my room need water change and a cutting of the stem every alternate day it helps them live longer.

We’ve all been taken out of the mother planet, do whatever you can to stay alive.

Fs

Food. “How to write about food? ” is a very popular topic in my creative writing class.
We have the curly haired teacher who isn’t very fond of the clichéd phrase like “melted in my mouth” or “fireworks” and some other clichés I can’t think of right now.
We have this damn cool, stud type professor, who also takes creative writing sessions and is the boss at whatever he does. His way of writing about food isn’t taking a bite of the  food, describing the texture, taste and smell, but doing all of that with style and creating a whole journey of arriving at the table and eating the food.
I was thinking about all this while munching on a Carrot cake that was perfect like sunshine, from Café Terra, oily Samosa that had peanuts in them and a diabetic brownie topped with a few dry fruits. There was also some superb muruku waiting to be devoured in the red lid Tupperware box.

The Biting Game

“It’s been over fifteen years and mum still has the bite mark on the back of her shoulder” said my first cousin Kavitha at a family lunch.
A month ago we were at my dad’s cousins house for lunch for the first time since they moved into it. There was a lot of food, enough to drown in and die of satisfaction.
We started the meal with Ragi muddhe (hot Ragi balls) and nati-chicken (local protein rich variety of chicken) curry, and there was a plate of sliced onions and cucumber in the centre and another plate of deep fried chicken – that we call kabab- was served to each of us, along with the spicey chicken gravy.
The second course of the meal was chicken Biryani, a raitha (curd salad) and a plate of fried goat intestines (boti). The goat intestines are boiled to softness first, then fried with onions, tomatoes, garlic, salt, home made chicken masala, fried corriander seed powder and all of that in refined vegetable oil.

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Boti fry being made

Taking a bite of boti feels like a tapori song in my mouth, after each bite the music gets faster, the juices fill my mouth and Jyothi Lakshmi is inviting me to join her.
There was some -plain or white- rice, rasam, curd and few more things I didn’t have space for. I don’t remember if there was dessert because my brain took a nap.
My family has a weird habit, at family lunches we gang up to discuss family history, scandal’s, and end the evening with jokes and humour. It started with a session of bitching, talking about an alternative future and moved on to sharing anecdotes. Kavitha had shared the story of me biting my aunt (her mom) when she was holding me back from tagging with my relatives, who I’m being told were heading out on their honeymoon. To be fair, I was only two years old. Then my mother retold Kavitha’s favorite story, ‘the biting game.’
“Vini started screaming loudly all of sudde; it was the night after Kavitha’s wedding, her parents had taken vini and Renu (my sister) home from the wedding and I was with Kavitha at her in-laws (Brides family members come along and stay a few days with newlyweds family, some custom). Renu asked him to play ‘the biting game’ with her and took the first bite. The screams got Kavitha’s mom who smacked Renu and this one (me-vini) says ‘aunty my sister only know, it’s okay don’t hit her.’ This pissed her off and she smacked him instead” said my mother.

Day 7: Stranger then ever

We are strangers in a strange land
Talking strangely,
Smoking strange things
Eating strange food,
Absorbed in a strange life.

Our strange interests make us crazy and our strange choices bring us close to a stranger. Strangely we find comfort in the arms of a stranger, and decide to spend a lifetime with that stranger.

Sometimes they last, sometimes the stranger does strange things and its time to leave. The life or planet depends on the strange decision made.