The author has written this narrative in 1st person, present tense
while under the influence of copious amounts of Big Boss Cashew Fenny.
Send all grammatical complaints to:
Global Spirits & Foods,
P-59, B-5 Pilerne Industrial Estate,
For Tonmoy Hemady.
To an old friendship still walking on older knees.
Over the ghat at 35 and loving every minute of it;
a native’s journey upstream to paradise.
Going to Goa
Goa, by plane from Bombay, is a mere 45 minutes away. By the time you finish gagging on a horrid veg. sandwich, you’re there, circling over lush paddy fields, golden ribbons of sandy beaches, and palm trees that look like giant green flowers.
By road on a regular bus, it’s 16 hours; less if you take the manic Night Queen. Bus trips aren’t much fun. Cramped seats, bumpy roads, and a grainy, old Hindi movie on the bus’s TV. Woe is the passenger making the return leg to Bombay on the same bus. The suffering is the same as earlier. What makes it worse is being subjected to a rerun of the same movie since sleep on these buses is bloody impossible, luxury coach with tilting seats and air suspension be damned.
By sea in a steamer ship in the good old days (Konkan Seva and Konkan Shakti) it took a whole 24 hours. Time ebbed by to the strumming of guitars, homemade roast beef sandwiches and card games: maindy coat, seven hands and lades for the grown-ups, jod-patta, bluff and donkey donkey for the kids, and the most looked forward to time-pass of all, tambola or housie (bingo to the Yanks) held in the ship’s mess in the evening. I never did the quicker journey by the Damania catamaran, where, I’m told, liquor was officially dispensed at a bar. Not a big deal. As the astute Goan globetrotter always travels with the Bible in breast pocket, rest being crammed with liquor. A gentleman’s with hipflasks. Uncle Peter’s, quarter bottles.
By road, astride a 350cc Bullet, the 588 km journey takes exactly 26½ hours. This is how.
Meet the gang
It’s evening when I park my bike at the meeting point somewhere near Mantralaya, Bombay’s political nerve centre. On working days, Bombay’s elected gather at Mantralaya to have fun. On weekends, the electorate. Not at M. but in the adjoining area of Nariman Point where the promenade from Marine Drive ends.
It’s Sunday evening and all of Bombay’s zillion million-strong janta is out on the streets. The air is manic with the blaring of car horns, clip-clop of ponies’ hooves, cries of food vendors, various desi accents and the popping of an occasional gas balloon.
I smoke a cigarette as I wait for the rest of the gang. A few puffs down and Tonmoy turns up. Tonmoy is an old friend from way, way back. Together we wait for Dilip, better known as Kalia on football grounds from Mumbai to Meghalaya. More about this bloke later. Ditto for Tonmoy as well. Once Kalia is present and accounted for, we head to Panvel to pick up my pillion rider, Sunil. His nickname is Bagla, an Indian bird with a strange gait.
While on the subject, my moniker is Dempo after the famous Goan football club.
Tonmoy, at present, has no such labels.
My Bullet is a silver-black Royal Enfield Electra with a 350 cc engine, front disc brake, gas-filled rear shock absorbers, electric starter and a five-speed gearbox with gear lever on the left.
1730 hrs: Depart Bombay, To Panvel
Bombay is an ugly city to ride through, especially the dock area roads. There’s one long stretch that’s lined with hutments on either side teeming with Bangladeshis. It’s a dirty, miserable sight, palatable only to a politician in search of a vote bank. Which, of course, is how these poor wretches got to live here in the first place. Bombay, baby! Anything goes. However, once we’re on the ‘private’ Bombay Port Trust road, things get better. Not for long though, for no sooner we get back to the main road, I get stuck behind an overladen garbage truck for a couple of clicks. Recently, wearing a helmet was made compulsory in Bombay. Kudos (Ha! I always wanted to use this word) to the authorities responsible for this regulation. Sometimes a helmet can protect you for entirely different reasons.
1930 hrs: At Panvel
We make to Panvel where Bagla is to meet us at a restaurant called Bharat. If you’re ever passing through Panvel, make it a point to stop there for a plate of vada-paus liberally smeared with ghati masala and green mint chutney, extra green chillies optional. They’re real good. Bagla keeps us waiting there for close to two hours. It’s an easy wait in the company of vada-paus, gallons of sweet tea, and a pack of bada Gold Flakes.
You know how it is. You’re zipping along thinking about nothing in particular, perhaps about Pammy’s whammies or mayhap whether you’ve left the geyser on in the bathroom, when out of the blue, a thought crashes into your consciousness, hangs around for a while and makes you think. More than a fair share of S.T.s struck me, Bombay to Goa. The following is one of many breaks you’ll encounter as you journey through this narrative.
Stray Thought No.1: USAF leather bomber jacket
As any self-respecting rider will tell you, there are two things that can keep you warm on a road trip.
1. A busty blonde.
2. A jacket, preferably leather.
Not possessing the former, I had no choice but to acquire a leather jacket. Besides, ever tried swathing a blonde around the shoulders? Easy, if you’re Tarzan. Otherwise, not. I got my hands on a cool job made in Asia’s finest slum-cum-emporium, Dharavi. Designed along the lines of the famous USAF bomber jacket, it set me back by only Rs.2,500, VAT included. Incidentally, it goes really well with my rip-off, large-frame black Gucci sunglasses.
Cool jacket, I think to myself, as I ride into the chilly night towards Penn.
2130 hrs: Depart Panvel, to Penn
What a fucking nightmare. If you’ve never done a night ride in India, here’s a bit of advice. Keep it that way.
Brush aside the author’s honest admission that for a while he rode in the dark with helmet visor down (a visor with a crack that caught starbursts of blinding light when confronted by an oncoming, onrushing behemoth). Here’s some free ‘tried-tested-and-survived’ advice: Ride at night using your balls as a brake, pull your asshole over your head on to your mouth and use it as a horn, do any stupid thing you want but never, ever, ever, ever put your visor down. Damn!
Forget the fact that the roads are narrow and ill lit.
Laugh lightly when you hit a fork with no signpost and go whizzing down the wrong road.
Ignore the occasional hazards: Rocks (S, M, L, Sly Stallone), gravel patches, fallen branches, darting animals and broken-down trucks ringed only by a row of stones as an advance visual warning.
What really puts sand into your mental tank and deflates your air of confidence are the motherfuckers, let me say it once more, real slowly, m o t h e r f u c k e r s, who drive with high beams ablaze. I mean, take one (or more) of the above facts, viz. dark roads, random perils, Rocky VI, etc. Now, add rays that rape your retina and render you right blind, and there you have it, Randolph, the reason why it’s a better thing to remain in your room, rolling a reefer and re-eyeballing another rerun of Easy Rider.
Man, I lost count of the times I almost came close to punching my ticket and/or crapping myself with fear. The day I’m Dictator Of The World, the first against the wall will be these bastards. No blindfolds. Only high beams shooting into their faces as they squint into the glare wondering when the bullets will fly.
Briefly, I try to make it safely to Penn by sticking behind a State Transport (ST) bus to get my bearings.
Mistake No.1: These buses make frequent stops, picking and dropping passengers at their convenience. With much gritting of teeth, I decide to strike out on my own.
Mistake No.2: As ranted about above, a helmet with visor down at night on an Indian highway is as useful as a pair of tits on Mr. Universe. So up goes the visor and for a while all is good.
Mistake No.3: I forget to muffle my nose. Result: I inhale all the carbon monoxide on the road to Penn.
That’s how I make to Penn taluka, ladies and gents. Eyes streaming with tears. Nose dripping snot. Dirt and dust pancaked over visible section of face. Grit in my mouth. Phlegm in my throat. And a funny throbbing in my chest. What’s that? It’s my heart. It’s still beating. I’m still alive.
Prof T’s highway riding technique
Over a cigarette held with a slightly shaky hand (it could have been the cold) at Penn, I confess to Tonmoy that the ride is turning out to be awful.
Prof. T. points out the flaw in my technique. I was moving to the extreme left side of the road when faced by oncoming bastard vehicles that seemed like they wanted to put a headstone over my ass. This is dangerous since one could slip off the road.
‘Rather,’ he went on professorially, ‘get a bearing by keeping an eye on the centre line. Most vehicles toe that line. So you can get enough judgement to avoid the vehicle rather than fall off the road’s edge and hey ho! off to an early Judgement Day.’
‘Also,’ Prof. T. states, ‘truckers are not all that bad. Strange as it may seem, most of them stick to the centre line. It’s the private cars you’ve got to watch out for.’
Trrrrrringgggg! End of lecture.
030 hrs: Depart Penn, to Mahad
Taking strength from Prof. T’s counsel, I stiffen spine and gun my Bullet onto the highway. Nose muffled. Head helmeted. Neck scarved. Central nervous system nicotined. Man, I am ready for anything. Well almost, for it is a fucking nightmare all over again. Before you say, Tony stop being such a whining vagina and get a move on, just hear me out.
I face an endless procession of trucks, ST buses, luxury buses, cars, 4x4s, small and big three-wheeler tempos and flying saucers, I shit you not! Picture this. Dark road. Your lights are good enough to see ahead. Then out of the darkness emerges this big black rush of wind with bright blazing eyes. The world dissolves into a blur of light. And on, and on till everything loses texture. Its either jet black or bright yellow. It is like being trapped in a video game where the only way to get to the next level is by dipping left to avoid losing a life.
Also, my muffled and helmeted head feels like it is in a cocoon. I begin to feel sleepy and actually doze off for a fraction of a second. Just when I am about to stop, park and curl up moaning on the side of the road, I spot Tonmoy leaning against a tree smoking a languid cigarette. We’ve reached! I gear down only to see T. gesture at us to carry on. Mahad is another five clicks away.
Behenchod! Ma ka bhosda! Chutiya! Chootmarika! Lundfakir! Laude ka baal! Kyo main apni gaand mara rahan hoon yaha pe! By lapsing into such motivational exhortations, I agonize through 20 minutes of riding, before, hey presto, Mahad. Over another shaky cigarette (this time it was the cold) I figure the only reason I didn’t throw in the towel is because I had left home with a set of industrial strength, all-weather, lifetime warranty cojones.
Mucho gracias, Dios.
Stray Thought No. 2: Odometer spotting
Having done most of my long distance driving in the UAE and Oman, one thing I used to get a kick out of was keeping an eye on the odometer. Foot planted firmly on accelerator pedal, I took great pleasure in seeing the counter trip faster than a heroin-addled junkie’s pulse.
Now, hunched over the bike’s handlebars, throttle at full, I take quick glance at the odometer. It reads 000675. Exactly after 15 minutes of hard riding, another quick check. 000679. WTF? After travelling at what I think is warp speed, I’d covered a mere four clicks. Further experiments throw up the same results. It gets to a point where I ride like a madman only to see the counter crawling at snail pace. Pretty agonizing.
You really have to earn each mile, I think to myself, as I ride into the chilly night towards Mahad.
230 hrs. At Hotel Royal Treat, Mahad
Ah, such a beguiling name. Hotel Royal Treat. Set amidst a huge dusty mud compound, it is sparsely dotted with plastic table and chairs. At the rear, in the centre, is a square concrete shed barely illuminated by a few tubelights. It’s the kind of bar I call a Jain bar since the shelves behind the counter are packed only with soft drinks. The menu is handwritten on a tin board. The spellings of the dishes are the kind you see parodied in ads for schools that teach English. You could fault the place for its scant knowledge of the Queen’s English, but the chikun masala curry is good, the mutun masala curry is even better, while the dal fry is simply superb. Full marks to the cook.
You know these restaurants with attentive, cheerful, smiley trained waiters, sporting nametags like – Hi, I’m Ray – who go down on one knee and take your order, and basically act like their world is one dreary plague spot till you came into their lives. Well, these places could take a tip or two from the waiter at Hotel Royal Treat. The bloke appears at the right intervals with hot chapattis the moment we devour the earlier batch. No bright, fake smile, no obsequious behaviour, no bowing and scraping, no breaking into a little jig for our amusement. Just prompt service, plain and simple. We ate our money’s worth, and spread handsome tips all around.
The plan is to take a break to grab some sleep for an hour or so. I stretch myself on a table. The others get cosy on terra firma with bags under their heads. Just when I am getting comfortable on my makeshift bed a squadron of mosquitoes launch a merciless attack. The cook counters by burning a bunch of twigs. Wonderful. The wind blows fumes my way, the insects beat a retreat leaving me unbitten but enveloped by an acrid haze. Then, mercifully, the wind changes direction chasing away the choking vapour and brings back the second wave. Annoyed, I wake up and take a massive dump.
Stray Thought No.3: Travel pooping
Sorry to introduce such a crappy subject but the author’s aim is not to induce regurgitation or put your off your feed. It’s just that it is such a critical aspect of road travel; I’m surprised it never ever is factored in when a trip is planned. I’ve seen the most jolly and enthusiastic of travellers blanch when they learn the facilities en route are not up to W.H.O. standards. There they are then, grim-faced with cheeks tightly clenched, mincing about with all the joy and laughter sucked out of them. A cigarette is refused with an irritated wave of the hand. ‘Say cheese’ is greeted with the finger (hand raised slowly so as to not cause any untoward incident). The nice garam chai I’m quaffing is glared at with ferocity. Now imagine hauling this surly piece of shite mile after mile on your bike. All I’m saying is if you’re going to gnaw on the juicy bone of road tripping, be prepared, for you never know when nature will get you on speed dial. Enough of this shit, I think to myself, as I emerge from the gloom and head towards a nice smoke and a garma-garam chai.
500 hrs. Depart Mahad, to Chiplun
We leave HRT at five o’clock. Finally, I am settling into the ride. I ditch the helmet for a beanie. My face and neck is swathed and well protected from the elements. Made in Dharavi is doing a stellar job of keeping out the cold. Paisa vasool, yaar.
It’s an hour to daylight and the roads are practically devoid of traffic. This part of the ride is turning out to be a doddle. We hit a major ghat, which takes more than an hour to breast. Dawn comes slowly, stealthily staining the sky with the first blush of the sun’s rays. The great slabs of darkness change into mountains, the trees grow green, the earth turns red, and the foreboding sensation that had hitched a ride gets cast away.
The road stretches like a runway, inviting me to take off into the wild blue yonder. Man, this is what a ride is all about. Straights. Curves. Dips. Bends. My Bullet performs these exercises with aplomb and soon we descend into Chiplun. A wada-pau at a roadside stall with a few cups of sweet adrakh-infused chai and we’re fresh and raring to go.
830 hrs. Depart Chiplun, to Raigad/Ratnagiri
I don’t recall much about this section of the ride. Only one thing stands out. We are well over 300 clicks away from Goa. I tell Tonmoy, I want to ride hell for leather till we reach a milestone that read Goa: 199 kms. I promise I would not stop before that. Going by our average speed of 30-40 clicks an hour, this means three hours plus of riding, not counting smoke/chai/pee breaks. Fuck!
Stray Thought No.4: A botanical lesson
When is the last time you’ve come across a plant called Mimosa pudica? Or touch-me-nots?
There are two reasons why they’re called so.
One: Owing to its biological make-up, the leaves of this tiny little plant shrink and fold onto its branches when touched.
Two: I peed on a bunch of them between Raigad and Ratnagiri, right behind the billboard for Modistone tyres. People, you have been warned, I think to myself as I get on to the bike.
1200 hrs. Below almond tree en route through Raigad/Ratnagiri
No sooner I zip past Magic Milestone No.199, the thought of sleep, which is as distant as our destination, wakes up and clamours for attention. Both Tonmoy and I hadn’t slept for over 24 hours. A brief conference over a cigarette, and we decide to grab some zoph at the first comfortable place we find. A few miles down, we come across a little clearing by the road that rests in the shade of a huge almond tree.
My mind is shutting down. I am worrying about a bird dropping doo-doo on my face. Just as I am getting comfortable and drifting off, Kalia starts to talk about snakes. Great. Now I have two things to worry about.
1400 hrs. Some restaurant in Raigad/Ratnagiri
Fresh from the nap, we ride till our stomachs call a halt. We stop and reward the gut with a fish thali. Chapatis, big mound of rice, curry with a miniscule piece of surmai, crisp, large fried piece of same, and best of all, sol kadi. Yum.
Stray Thought No.5: Sore butt
You know you’ve ridden hard and long when you have the underwear manufacturer’s label imprinted on the back of your waist.
1445 hrs. Depart Raigad/Ratnagiri to Sawantwadi.
Onwards to Sawantwadi, 101 kms away. We are there by evening. Sawantwadi is a nice little town punctuated by a picturesque talao ringed by a stone perimeter. Nice spot to linger at over a smoke. Which is exactly what Tonmoy is doing. Fucker! He waves a hand, indicating I should join him. No way, Jose. Not when darkness is lurking around the corner and danger stalks the roads with high beams on! I skip the scenic thing and push on. I’m doing good time when I am busted by the cops. According to the rulebook, I’m guilty on three counts. 1. Riding without a helmet. 2. Travelling without original vehicle papers. 3. Absence of P.U.C. certification.
I try to argue my way out. Next, sweet talk. No dice. They’re doing the good cop, bad cop routine with such panache, I do not know whether to laugh or cry. Most possibly cry since daylight is fast fading.
Bagla steps in. He tries the Maharashtrian brotherhood wheeze. No chance. Starskykar and Hutchkar show no inclination towards any son-of-the-soil bonding. Soon, having exhausted every means of verbal resolution, Bagla has no other choice but to involve Mahatma Gandhi in the imbroglio. In this post-colonial India of ours, Gandhian ideals like ahimsa, stayagraha and hartal, have no currency. But wave about a few banknotes adorned with Bapu’s visage, and in a flash, your argument is rich with eloquence. To my surprise, the cops decline. Jesus! How ironical. Of all the cops in the country, we stumble across two who actually live by the Mahatma’s precepts. Not really. It’s only that they revere Gandhi a great deal; they want to see more of him. We seal the deal and gain our independence.
Stray thought on highway chais
On the entire journey, we down umpteen chais. Now there is nothing sweeter than stopping en route for a cuppa. In fact, there is nothing sweeter. Every chai we have, flavoured either with adhrak, elaichi, chai masala or just plain tea, comes generously loaded with tons of sugar. Here, I must admit to a bias. Give me a Coke, and I am apt go on and on about the harmful sugar content in the real thing. Yet, hand me a sugar-laden chai, and I murmur my thanks before quickly quaffing it. In the words of another patriotic Indian, Quickgun Murugun, ‘What to do? We are like this only’.
1700 hrs. Whiz throught Sawantwadi, to Pernem
The sun sinks out of sight as we hit the Goan border at Pernem by six. I’m a bit mentally agitated since it’s yet a 50km ride to Panjim. Only the thought of sinking a few beers keeps me going. Fuck a few. I resolve to down a distillery’s worth. What a pathetic way to get motivated. But pissed and alive is so much better than sober and dead.
It is a horrendous ride but once we scamper through Mapusa, get to the bridge spanning the Mandovi river and pass the familiar Kadamba bus stand, short of doing wheelies, I’m all good cheer and bonhomie.
We’re home and dry in Panjim proper by 2000 hrs.
Or exactly in 26½ hours since we left Bombay.
2030 hrs. Panjim
Tony: ‘Waiter, one Arlem.’
Waiter: ‘One only, sir?’
Tony: ‘Yes, at a time.’
Interlude aka Potholes
Snippets of some welcome bumps
on a journey to paradise.
You’ve coasted your way through the earlier narrative and are crying tears of relief in the knowledge that the ordeal is over. Far from it, my friend. Think of this narrative like a DVD. You know, there’s the main bit and bonus shite.
Well, here’s the bonus shite.
I could write reams about Tonmoy Hemady. About his talent as a sportsman. His skill as a biker (though he’d hate to be called that). His unpretentiousness at all times. His generosity as a human being. His compassion for the less fortunate among us. His love for animals. But I’ll start with a sample of the amazing conversations we’ve had over the years.
1987, Bombay, 7.00 a.m., an Irani restaurant in Colaba called Persian Cafe.
Tony: Yup. Chai?
All right. I’ve exaggerated it a bit. We did exchange a few more words. The restaurant being located opposite Colaba Bus Stop, there was a constant procession of people going to school, college, work, fuck knows where. More specifically, women. A bit of Ms. Universe style judging, and succinct comments, thereby, did take place. Whenever there was a lull in eye-candy, we laconically discussed football. Good times. Good stuff.
A couple more things about this bloke that I’ll never forget.
His ability to play top quality rasta football, feet shod in rubber slippers. Apart from being the numero uno pick for football matches by various teams. Besides playing professionally for Orkay Mills, the erstwhile Bombay Super League team.
And the time he bailed me out at Mondegar’s, a beer bar near Regal cinema. A pal and me had knocked back tons of beer; each thinking the other had enough dough to foot the bill. The billing system at Mondy’s used to be quite simple. The empties were left on the table. One generally stopped when the table ran out of space. When you gave the waiter the nod, he ambled up, counted the bottles, and handed over the bill.
Of course, we were skint. Me, an impoverished trainee writer with a weakness for books. Guru, a freelance writer with a habit of commuting only by taxi. I remember I’d picked a couple of books off the street opposite the Central Telegraph Office near Flora Fountain before we cabbed to Mondy’s.
These were the days before mobile phones, ATMs and credit cards. We were stumped and humped till I got an idea (the only good one in my first few years in advertising). I gave Tonmoy a call. Luckily he was at home and responded with alacrity. Fifteen minutes later he popped in, wordlessly handed me around four or five hundred bucks and vamooses. Having enough to cover the bill and more to spare, we ordered a fresh brace of beers, which were promptly deposited on a cleared up table. Lifesavers, huh? I mean, beer and good friends.
I doubt if Kalia has broken many hearts in terms of romance. But when it comes to football, as a stopper back, the man has roughed up enough knees to keep more surgeons in business than the I.R.A.
From the streets and maidans of Bombay to the turf of Cooperage and football grounds all over the country, the man is a legend. Ask any striker about him and you’ll be rewarded with a gush of expletives in 19 Indian languages and their myriad dialects. Imagine learning the Tulu word for motherfucker or the Bengali term for cocksucker. It sure can come in handy when the boss calls you in to work on Sunday (or Friday) morning.
The man is a scythe, plain and simple. His principle is: You might get the ball past me, but you WILL NOT. Definitely, a good bloke to have on your side when the going gets rough.
On, and off, the football field.
I’ve just met this kid so I don’t know much about him. He has a sleepy, slow air about him. But looking back on his decisive handling of cops, Starskykar and Hutchkar, the guy knows how to handle things in a crunch.
This And That
We stayed at a place called Bharat Boarding & Lodging. One room, four cots, Rs. 300 per day. Downside, common loo. But what the hell? Like Calvin’s dad would say, ‘It builds character.’
Dinners mostly were at a tiny, little Goan Hindu restaurant below the lodge. Lots of rice, two big rotis, fish curry and option of fresh fried kingfish, promfret, mackerel or squid. Simple fare, magnificent taste. All for the princely sum of Rs.25. Address will be supplied on demand.
Had some awful Goa pork sausages at St. Anthony’s, Baga, which, by the way has become bloody expensive. Old Goa hands will recall St. Anthony’s as a great place for good, cheap food. Sadly, no more.
Ate some really decent roast beef tongue at a place called Martin’s down the Secretariat road towards Miramar. Watch out for the surly, deaf waiter, though.
Otherwise, it was mostly fish. Good for the brain and all that sort of stuff. Think of a number. 6561? Square root? 81. See, it works. Next question?
Yeah, no need to go into detail. Discovered a new beer. Kings; in pint bottles. Quite good.
Baga, all right, as always. Anjuna, ditto. But the Anjuna flea market. The pits. Flee!
It’s said you can stand in Times Square and bump into a friend, sooner or later.
Here’s what I say. You can sit and order a drink at Baga, and bump into two friends, before it arrives.
For those who know Suresh Manian and Bharat Chari, I’m sure you will agree that they’re just the kind of bright blokes to happen on in sunny Goa.
We spent every day at the beach. I got so dark (all right, I have a head start) it would make the Fair & Lovely marketers throw up their hands in despair.
1. A lone eater at a crowded restaurant in Anjuna. Sipping on a beer, slowing shovelling rice and curry in mouth, head moving to the beat of a Pankaj Udhas ghazal playing in his head.
2. A jolly Goan uncle at St. Anthony’s with Canadian pal and wife. A sprightly old bugger with a loud voice. We had no choice but to listen to his yarns about living large in London as a student and a brawl with an Englishman called Bruce.
3. A North Indian bloke discreetly taking ‘bumcrack’ pix of a chick in low waist jeans, on his cell phone. Or so he thought. An aside: Some Goan wag must have come up with this term to alert pals about the presence of woman wearing low waist apparel. It’s ABCD. Aago Bai, Cheddi Dista (Hey Girl, Your Panties Are Showing). Not to be confused with American Born Confused Desi.
4. A beknakar clicking photos of a bare-breasted old European lady at Anujna. I don’t know who looked happier. A beknakar is an out of-town desi hick who walks around beaches in Goa, munching on beknas (Konkani for peanuts), while ogling at white touristas.
5. Another lot of beknakars clustered around a well-stacked Russian babe in a skimpy black two-piece bikini. She’s prancing about in waves that are strong enough to knock one down. It was a funny sight to see. A bit like synchronised swimming. The beknakars timed their jump with hers. The babe would go under with arms flailing. The beknakars with arms tautly raised above heads so their vision of her breasts remained unimpaired. Strangely enough, the babe was barely flustered. Maybe she thought it was some kind of Goan ‘Mexican’ wave.
6. Some blokes swimming and playing football all day long in the sun instead of lounging on deckchairs, chugging beer and ogling the odd skimpily-clad beauty. What bunch of weirdoes we must have seemed to someone observing us?
Goa to Bombay
I won’t go into details for obvious reasons. Just the best bit:
Which was Sachin scoring his 35th test century. I caught him getting to 100 in a restaurant in Mahad while having a plate of fiery misal pav. There couldn’t have been a better place to witness it. The place was full, and the cheer that went around was deafening.