Sunday, December 13, 2015

Food and Reflection

I am in Palolem, Goa. After a long afternoon nap, I wake up by 4 3o pm. It is still blazing hot. I am drenched in sweat. The stupid fan did not do its job. Ughh. Wash my face, change my sweat drenched clothes and walk out of the shack for some lunch. I settle down at a beach shack come restaurant, with an open sea view. Buy some rice and chicken, for my starving stomach. Then just wait. Look at all the people out there on the beach. There is so much shade here, there is none there. Can you store some in a jar and sell it on the beach?
Strike up a conversation with a man and his dog. He described how he drove to Palolem once every couple of months. He was  a businessman and brought his dog along for company. He tells me about the history of Palolem. How it was once a serene paradise. With the influx of tourists, things are changing rapidly. There are large cross during the holiday season. When they are gone, the beach is exploited. They come back again after a few months. The beach has found a way to rejuvenate itself, only to be exploited again. Unlike the more popular Baga and Calangute beaches of North Goa, Palolem is relatively less crowded. You go to North Goa to have fine. You come to Palolem, South Goa to find yourself. You cannot book a room online here. Rather you just have to come and find an empty shack that suits your needs once you are here. I buy some bread, biscuits, and readymade food and head back to my room, after watching the sunset. I try reading a little  bit, but you can do only so much after a 10 hour train journey and a hot first day in March in Goa. I lie down and sleep like a baby. The fan seemed to work alright.

"One must create with joy, or not create at all."  - Ray Bradbury

As I start my morning stroll around the beach, I think about what I am going to do with my life. No direction to go in. No fixed path. So much uncertainty. But deep within, I knew I wanted to create. Create from a place of joy. Create from a place of love.   The independence and freedom, a reward of the value I am able to add, to another individual’s life. 

I walk the whole stretch of the beach. It is less crowded now. The heat keeps people in, on most morning here. I click pictures, with a digital camera I had brought along. Photography is such a powerful expression medium. But echoing Susan Sontag on Photography, I believe there is so much more to a moment, then a photograph can explain. Sometimes, I am scared that I will remember my life, only through the photographs I have clicked and collected. What about those unsaid emotions the camera is not able to capture? What about those broken dreams? What about your longing for a lost love one? Will a good photographer, help me capture these emotions too? But I keep clicking away. The slanting tree, the lone-  long haired -blonde - rockstar beach jogger, the surf board by the shack, the lazy man reading a book. Click, click, click away. When I reach the other end of the beach, I don't know what to do. So I keep walking. And walking. A little hungry now, so I buy some chocos and flavored water at a grocery store I stumble into. Notice that there are so many little restaurants.   

Each one trying to differentiate themselves from the other in a variety of ways. One serves italian, another does a free movie screening. One has performers, the other has sheesha. But I keep walking. It is a good life lesson, I picked up along the way. If you are lost in life, go for a long walk, just keep walking. I kept walking. But now, I think that I was a little too optimistic, because I did not know how I would get back to my shack. I lost track of the number of left and right turns, I had taken. Not again. What are you doing, you stupid dimwit. You should have at least left a choco trail. Tired after this 2 hour morning walk, I decided to have some breakfast at a cafe nearby.

Scrambled eggs and black tea are served. I gobble all of it up. The food has helped me look at the world in new light. I am determined to find my way back home. I ask ten to fifteen people for directions and eventually reach my comfortable bed in my very uncomfortable shack. I spend the afternoon reading and lazying around. I knew I wanted to read a lot on this trip. What genre I wanted to focus on. I did not know? I just felt like some of the answers I was looking for, were in these books. I read enough. I may just find them. Then I can pack my bags and go back home. No need to find myself on this whacko journey I am on. Why do people even need to find themselves. Why can't you just be who you are?

James Baldwin once said, "You have got to tell the world how to treat you. Otherwise you are in trouble."

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