Valentine’s day

Since Monsieur S. is miles away, I decided why not take my mom for a nice Valentine’s day treat. We have a new Honda active bike and it’s super zippy for the Goan roads. We rode all the way to Panjim, had a lovely Goan lunch at Anoshka’s. So a typical Goan lunch includes the staple rice, curry and friend fish. I ordered a beef dish to taste as well. After lunch, we rode across the Mandovi bridge towards the little town of Reis Magos to visit the Reis Magos Fort.
This was my first time ever visiting the Reis Magos Fort. It has recently been renovated with the gracious help of The Helen Hamlyn Trust. It’s a shame that our Indian multi-millionaires couldn’t care less for art and architecture. The Reis Magos fort is Goa’s oldest fort. It was built between 1551-1554 by the Portuguese rulers. My mother last saw the fort in ruins and she was moved to see the new shining monument. I would recommend Goans and tourists to visit the place, not only for its history but also for the breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea.
The fort is also a museum and there is a permanent Mario Miranda exhibition in some halls. Moreover there are lecture halls that you can rent out for lectures, book releases etc. You can also rent the place for your wedding (which I frankly think will be the photo op of the century!)
It’s essential to spend some time around the monument to get a sense of the ocean and it’s importance to Reis Magos. It’s a shame that so many hotels and private colonies/clubs have cropped up around this fishing town and the waters are slowly being polluted. I wouldn’t recommend the area for swimming, just walks on the beach here. 

In the evenings, you’ll see fishermen, pulling their little boats to shore. Sometimes you find the odd trawler coming in with a catch. You can get a good bargain for a few kilos of fresh fish :)

The star of the village is of course the Reis Magos church. Built shortly after the completion of the fort, the church really comes to it full glory in the beginning of January. Every 6th of January, the town celebrates the Feast of the Three Kings. I sincerely wish they would keep the place open during the year for worshippers and admirers alike to get a gist of the interiors. According the the Goa Tourism website, the church holds the tombstones of two former Goan viceroys. One of them being Dom Luis de Ataide, known for his legendary defense skills. You can read more here in Portuguese if this character interests you.

The final sunset/dusk light on the way back from a tiring but eventful day.

Home sweet home.

I’ve got my Masters in hand and some dreams to rebuild. I needed a short break from “la vie européenne”. I decided the best thing would be to take the flight back home to Goa and spend some quality time with my family. I have missed being home and being taken care of (in the Indian child comes home sort of way). 
On returning home, my grandmother’s absence is the most striking part of the household fabric. The love is still there from everybody but a big part of it is missing. There’s a lot of work to do now. I spend some time everyday in my grandmum’s room, sorting through her things. Quite often there is a faint lavender talc scent that fills the room when I open her armoire. That is my favorite scent for now. The ocean offers me comfort. I love experiencing that happy disposition, found only in that familiar place between the earth and the sky..

Sometime ago, in Goa.

When I returned home to renew my visa in June, all I wanted to do was get back to France. Now that I’m in France and lovely Par-ee all I want is to go home, sleep in my super comfy bed, under my mauve sheets, play with our pets and eat the great food my aunts make. France is great but it doesn’t hold a candle to the hospitality, the warmth, the honesty, the pure affection you receive in a nice Goan home. If I can boast that my life is filled with riches, it wouldn’t be wealth I’m referring to; it would be the simple yet exquisite things that make home so amazing. The things you overlooked while you were home and would give anything now to see them again.
Dogs and cats are the cutest. Although since our cat passed away, I will find it hard to not have any feline presence in the house.
“Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill, Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.” Rupert Brook
You fall in love with sea town stuff strewn around the coastal belt.
Finding wild ferns in my backyard always makes me happy! :)
Monsoons are gorgeous in Goa, farmers are sowing tiny rice saplings, raindrops stay on leaves, some people shut shop..
I miss ooh-ing and aah-ing whenever I pass colonial Portuguese houses filled with history. I wish I owned one :'(
Because then I would have a magnificent ballroom with chandeliers and a piano to accomodate my imagination and all the people living in it! I would probably have guests over too but wouldn’t let them use the antique furniture.
I would also have a beautiful façade with colorful ornate windows!
 If you get over your fear of creepy crawlies, you realize that they look good in photos.
 I miss plucking guavas from my grandma’s guava trees, eating them in the form of jam or Goa’s infamous guava cheese (it isn’t really cheese, it’s a chewy fudge-like candy made from fresh guavas, yum!)
 Sigh! Seashells on the sea shore. Who doesn’t love the crunch crunch sound they make beneath your feet :)
I even want a wind chime made of shells, how pretty is this! Seashells are a form of positive energy, no one ever gets tired admiring them.
 Oh how you love the beach. Especially during the rains when there is no one around! 
 You love it when the sun peeps out of the grey clouds, you love when the surf gently flows over your feet..
The best time to visit the beach in Goa? Anytime :)
 Goa is filled with religious buildings which are architectural marvels and you can’t help feeling proud of the unity in diversity, of the hundred religious groups who have decided to co-exist peacefully, you can’t help feeling proud of your India :)
Churches are a perfect example of Portuguese architecture that is still well preserved and appreciated.
Roads– some lead nowhere, some are filled with potholes and puddles, most are lined with coconut trees, some roads lead to the sea, you remember clearly all the roads that you trod on to get to where you are, but sometimes you wish you was on the road this carefree toddy tapper is taking, maybe the road that passes through the latin quarters or on the road leading up hill to your grandma, or simply the road to simplicity. Happiness.

Shades of home

Staying away from home can be tough! I miss the delicious food, my pets, the sea, and most of all my dysfunctional family! I wont be going home for christmas which is seriously sad :( My mom offered to pay for my ticket home but once I checked the prices, they were sky high! the cheapest return ticket Paris-Bombay is 1200 euros and it should cost a minimum 450 euros! I really don’t want to waste all that money and knowing my mum, she won’t ever let me forget it! I also need to buy a camera. I’m considering investing some money on a good professional camera. Since I was not taking the ticket offer from mum, I asked her to spend some of the cash on a camera. I’m still awaiting a response. hmpf!