It all began with a Facebook post put up by a colleague Mr B. The post was a picture of him, Mr A and another colleague at a restaurant on the way for a road trip. Me as usual commented on the post in good humour. What followed was a reply…….and finally when I met Mr B at the workplace  I was like “let me know if ull are going again ” . He was like “ok maybe after a week”. And after a week it all began ……….

A small introduction to the characters you will be coming across. Me ….well I like to travel ,but over the years of panic attacks and digestive problem, I have developed a chicken heart. So although I long to travel, some fear keeps me from doing so.

Ms Barbie ……well it was just a couple of months since I got to know her. But there are some people with whom we just instantaneously bond. She was was one of those. Although almost 5 years younger to me she was both matured and innocent.

Mr B and Mr A……hmm well these both were my colleagues for about 4 years, but I had hardly interacted with them. Infact I never even knew that they were good friends. Sometimes when we cross the walls created around  us we see people in a different light. This trip would be changing my perception about people around me.

Ok getting back to the trip…..after a week Mr B informed me about a trip to Malvan in the weekend to follow. I was under the impression that many of my female friends would be excited to join. So one by one I started asking them…..but to my utter dismay, all I got was rejection. Everybody had an excuse ready. Finally Ms Barbie was brought a smile to face. She agreed to come inspite of her family commitments.I had a female accomplice now but I still had to make arrangements at home. My mother dear had to cut short her trip and returned 2 days earlier so that I could make it for the trip.

Finally the day arrived, I woke up early ….out of anxiety or excitement?…. I don’t know. I got ready too early and since I was feeling bored waiting at home I decide to go and collect Ms Barbie who lives a few villages across. We then moved on to Mr A’s residence .From there we moved on to pick Mr B. Mr A’s car was our official vehicle for the trip.

Frankly speaking me and Ms Barbie had no clue of what the trip was going to be like. The only detail we knew was that we were going to Malvan.But whatever it was we were determined to enjoy the experience.

We reached malvan after almost a 3 hour drive.Malvan looked like a typical village with narrow roads and small houses. Winding the car through the narrow roads, we checked 2 -3 places for lodging. Finally we settled on one. The hotel was very close to the beach. I dont know how but Mr A and Mr B got in touch with the agent for the watersports.

The rooms looked highly posh and were more than we could expect for our short stay.We kept are bags in the rooms and had our lunch at the hotel itself. Our lunch was the authentic Malvan thali. The fish as expected was the speciality.

After the quick lunch we were set for the first activity……scuba diving. It sounded interesting but I must admit, me and Ms Barbie were equally anxious. I was more because i felt responsible for her. But there was no being spoilsport or backing out now.
Tarkali Beach…..a beautiful beach , but equally dirty. From the beach we had a view of the sindhdurg fort. We were asked to board a small boat which would take us to the spot where the scuba diving would be carried off. I guess we all imagined ourselves to be underwater together hence we didn’t want to risk our phones getting robbed, so we left them all in the car. What we took along was only a SD card.

Finally on reaching the spot we had to move on to another boat which was anchored at one place. A few people were already in the water. If you have watched zindagi Na milegi dobara….then i am sure that you, like me would imagine all of us scuba diving together. But I was wrong……. Each one was taken separately down into the water , with a few helpers.

I don’t know whether I was scared or shy. But whenever i am in such a situation  I follow a simple funda….” When scared,  Go first “. So I opted to go for the training first. But i admit I never understood how to breath underwater though.

After all of us passed our snorkeling tutorials we were set for the underwater experience. Ms Barbie was taken first. I followed her. As I was being taken to the spot by two helpers, I noticed that Ms Barbie was gasping on the side. I was tensed because she was my responsibility afteralll.Little did I realise that I would be struggling for my own breath. I was pulled ahead and taken down. Once down I was supposed to apply the breathing technique taught. That’s where I messed up. Somehow I couldn’t do it. Water kept seeping into the snorkel. Even tough the water was turbid , it was still beautiful being underwater. I spotted a few fish and wondered how beautifully God had made the world. Suddenly again I was struggling for my breath…. I kept telling myself that I was hallucinating. But after almost a minute I signalled the L for me to be taken up. Once up we realised that the cylinder was over. So it was almost the end of my trip.

I was led back to the boat. I heaved a sigh of relief on seeing Ms Barbie fine and happy . Mr B and Mr A went next. For them it looked like a child’s play. They went down gave the best of poses, saw the best of fish and were back content. They must have been mermen in their previous life πŸ™‚

We were dropped back to the shore. We next decided to walk to the Sindhdurg fort which looked like it was approachable from a narrow stretch of land from the shore. As we reached a little ahead we realised that we might need some money to cross over to the fort by a boat. Me and Ms Barbie walked back to the car to get the cash. In our absence the 2 men made good use of their time clicking pics of themselves in meditative poses. Finally on our return we realised that there was no way we could get to the fort from where we were. The idea to visit the fort was dropped and we walked back to the car in the scorching sun.
The car had to be carefully manoeuvred through the beach sand to avoid it from getting stuck. And I must say Mr A and Mr B did well.

The next stop was at Rock garden.

With the help of GPS and winding through the narrow roads we reached the spot. As the name suggests there was a small garden across which was a rocky cliff life formation. A beautiful place to sit by and relax. The sea waves were full of life ….just hitting the rocks and spraying water into the air. We made ourselves comfortable on the rocks. Then began the talks and the gossip…..(the only bad part of the trip ). Gossips are bad …..be it in any form. And I accept I indulged myself in them.

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So after spending quite some time we decided to make a move. We bought some ice cream and the boys bought a soft drink that they later suspected to be adulterated or duplicate πŸ™‚ 

On returning to the hotel we took a shower and settled for an early dinner. The food again was good enough with fish being the speciality. 

I expected to fall asleep as soon as I hit the bed. But unfortunately it was not so. Me and Ms Barbie chatted about various things for a while and then I guess she fell asleep. As for me …I waited and waited, but sleep didn’t seem to come. It was almost after 2 hours that I finally fell asleep.

I still remember it was 3:45 AM when I awoke. I thought I would fall asleep again but that didn’t seem to happen. I peeped out and it was still dark. So I lay on the bed hoping that the others would wake up early…….. But it was a long wait.

Finally after the other 3 got up and were ready,we took a walk along the beach.Me and Ms Barbie were all in a mood for some exercise , so we started our brisk walk. I don’t know what was wrong with the men ….they stopped us and asked us to follow them in the opposite direction. So we turned and followed …..and followed …..and followed. The men seemed lost in their conversations. Anyways they were fit people who didn’t require any walks.

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We clicked some pics of the rising sun. I tried viewing the fort with my binoculars and after awhile we were back to the hotel. Me and Ms Barbie left the boys at the hotel and walked a few kilometers more in search of an ATM. On the way we came across a small stream full of fish in it. As normal practice we clicked some pics. We returned, had our breakfast and were all set to check out. While leaving the hotel I encouraged Ms Barbie to steal a plant from the hotel garden. It was a beautiful flowering plant. We put our plant in a bottle and were happy about it.

Our next destination now was “Tsunami Island”. Don’t know what exactly is the history of the island. But as the name suggests it seems like it was formed after the 2004 tsunami. We had to hire a boat to take us to the island. We got into the boat and Mr A realised that he had not locked his car. But alas it was too late …we were far from reach. I guess he consoled himself thinking that there was nothing valuble inside. It was a nice and slow boat ride.We were moving through a river that was meeting the sea a little ahead. The boat driver (is that the right term?) was trying to tell us many things in Marathi. I managed to understand a few things. After a while I noticed that in the middle of the water there was a whole crowd of people in just knee deep water. Now that looked surprising. We crossed the people and we were taken to almost the mouth of the river. Then we turned and the boat was taken to the spot where we had seen the crowd of people earlier. That’s when the guide cum boat driver explained that it was the Tsunami island. Alas! the island was submerged πŸ™‚

The boat was docked. The water didn’t look deep but we didn’t come prepared for a submerged island. We didn’t want to get wet either. But since we came that far….we felt that we should be paying our respects to the island. So the men got down into the water first. One splash of a wave and they were almost entirely wet.

Then we 2 got down ….we got wet too. The boat was all rocking. I remember seeing small tea stalls perched up on some stilts in the water. People seemed to be enjoying themselves and we were….. πŸ™‚

On our way back we stood up most of the time in the boat …..why? Well to dry ourselves. I remember asking Mr A whether it would be a problem if we sat with our wet clothes in his car. To this replied ” do you plan to stand?” I had nothing more to say.

Next spot ….The Sindhdurg fort. So after our futile attempt to reach the fort on the previous day, we decide to make it today. We had to first search the main spot from where boats were leaving to the fort. After a small search along narrow winding roads, we finally reached the spot. There was a long queue at the ticket counter. And it was hot and sunny by now. Finally we got into our boat. Coincidentally there was a family from the hotel we put up at, in the same boat.I remember them and what I liked about the family was that they had their elderly mother with them who seemed to be having some kind of a psychiatric disorder. In this age of old age homes ….such gestures are rare.

So our boat was out finally sailing on the waves. The name of the boat was something like “Jesus 33” if I am not mistaken. On reaching the other end we had to walk through a little water because the tide was high then. We entered the fort. Like all forts it had a big entrance and the entire fortified area built up by a high wall. We walked along the fort walls. The walls were made of big rocks put together to create a strong defense and a beautiful collage of colours.

We walked quickly along the periphery of the fort. From above the fort there was a beautiful view of the sea. Historical structures have an aura which give you a glimpse of the glorious past.We managed to click some pics in the scorching sun and hurried back to the entrance. Most of our pics were clicked over an android app suggested by Ms. Barbie. “Beauty plus”. Yup thats the app that made us look more beautiful πŸ™‚ The sun was up now and it was getting hotter. We had to wait for a while till our boat came to pick us up. When we reached the car, it was like a heated oven and our poor plant was almost roasted up.

Next and our last stop was for lunch. This place was suggested by another colleague of ours. “Athiti Bamboo” is famous for its meals in Malvan. And it was pretty obvious on seeing the huge crowd at the place. We had to wait for atleast 20 min or more till we got place to sit. We ordered our meals. And since I was thirsty I remember I drank a lime soda. The meal comprised of light chapatis with side dishes of fish and prawns. Although the food was good I couldn’t finish it because my tummy was full with the lime soda. 

Finally it was over…..the end of our stay at Malvan. We started our drive back home. Mr B was driving us back because apparently Mr A had to take a nap after a heavy lunch. On the way seeing MrA sleep and Mr B probably bored, I volunteered to drive for some time. One Mr was like ” let’s pull over”, the next was like ” can you drive? “. It made me feel so stupid and dumb. ……..Anyways a couple of months later they both grew brave enough to hand over the wheel to me.

“Time is relative” it is said. And you really experience it when you are on a trip. The return trip is always shorter than the going trip. So I felt like we were back to Goa in a short duration. After dropping Mr B to his place, Mr A took over. We bid adeu to Mr A . Thanked him for the trip and left. I dropped Ms Barbie to her place and finally returned to mine.

As i got ready for a family trip to Delhi in a few days, i couldnt stop my mind from lingering into the memories of the unexpected short Malvan trip.

Finally I would express my gratitude to all the other 3 who made the trip possible for me. This trip surely marked the beginning of many more trips that came later in that year.Thanx n God bless.

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