Sunday, December 13, 2015

Goa and Hitchhiking

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist scholar, spoke about "why you must understand the root cause of suffering of another person to really be able to give them love." But it is hard to really understand another human being. I wish I could. It has been a long time since I sat down in front of another being, looked them in the eye, and really listened to what their heart told me. We all had a life goal to achieve. Sitting down for a conversation would interfere with our productivity.

The train leaves the station. I try using my laptop. I already regret bringing it along. It is too shaky. I shut it down and read Bill Bryson for a while. Bryson is such a fun writer. Soon I fall asleep. I like Keroauc too. He was a master wordsmith:

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” 
The heat in the cabin, wakes me up. It is 8 am. I walk out to coach entrance. Sunny Landscapes run by. I feel restless today. By 10 am, we reach the Mazgaon Station in Goa. I pack my bags, and walk onto the platform. Then came my first big blunder of the trip. Palolem is quite far away from this station. The only way to get there was to hire a super expensive taxi ride there. I was already short on money. I am worried. I walk around and end up at the ticket counter of the station. I had no option. If I did not buy the ticket now, it would get dark soon, and I would have to spend the night at the station. 

There was a well built man, standing in front of me. Torn fashionable jeans, a checked shirt. We strike up a conversation. I find out, that he is a policeman, from another place in South Goa. He planned to travel back to Mumbai the next day, to visit a friend and was thus here to buy a ticket. He told me that he would be heading back towards Palolem after purchasing the ticket. I thought hard. Should I ask him for a ride. This would be extremely inappropriate. We had just met. But it was either this or a couple of thousand rupees on the taxi. I decided to ask him, if he could drop me at Palolem on the way. He agreed. Thank God I asked. I walk around delighted. I have a ride. I have a ride. Tourists walk in and out of the station. Chips, cakes, cold drinks and the india masala chai is available for sale at the canteen nearby.

Vroooooooooooom. We zipped by building after building. Until we left the urban landscape behind. We were now on the open road. Man, could he drive. It seemed like we would get there in no time. This was fast. Really fast. Winding roads, straight long roads, one stop, and beautiful Goa. This was why I started this trip in the first place. I felt like I was flying.

Keroauc's words came back to me, as I saw people become tiny dots and then completely disappear in the distance. Long gone. Long behind. “What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

To be continued...

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