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The sliding doors were made of glass and had white curtains inside but... but... Why was there no latch to close the doors from inside?
A trip to Goa is an annual ritual for our family. We have been married twelve years and have been to Goa eleven years (leaving the one year in lockdown). We pre-book our flights and tickets months in advance and make it a point to at least spend a minimum of ten days there.
The first thing that strikes you when you enter Goa is how overdressed you are! You board the flight from the land of jeans and enter into a land of shorts. The first thing my husband said to me when we stepped into Goa was, “Look at us! All covered up in clothes. Need to change asap!”
Goa brings back so many memories- the sound of the waves, the beautiful sunsets on the beach, enjoying the picturesque view, grooving to good music- a drink in one hand, and French fries in the other but most of all it reminds me of the mess we somehow always land into.
There have been times when we decided to take a train back home and have been late reaching the station. I remember throwing my luggage on the train and running behind it in a typical filmi fashion just to board it. Finally entered the train and realised that my bag has opened and my clothes are lying all over the train floor.
Other times we’ve been stuck in traffic jams trying to reach the airport; calling my dad frantically asking him to web check-in for us and explaining the steps to him. (Please ignore the fact that I am trying to take the blame off me- yes I agree I need to manage my time better!) My dad simply switches off his phone whenever I travel now stating that I increase his blood pressure and he honestly doesn’t care anymore if his dear daughter and son-in-law miss their flight.
We are often joined by our friends and cousins on these trips. Mind you they are no better than us but we are working on it. In the year 2017, we went to North Goa with another couple and their son. We had the most amazing ten days full of craziness and euphoria.
The best part was that our rooms were adjacent to each other and had a connecting door. It was one big area for our children to play; the bathrooms were to die for! A wonderful combination of luxury and transparency! The sliding doors were made of glass and had white curtains inside but… but… Why was there no latch to close the doors from inside?
Imagine answering the call of nature with two kids around- one who is 5 years old and the other 10 years old. Neither one cares about your space or privacy! After multiple times of them barging in and having discussions inside the bathroom with complete disregard of our absolute embarrassment we decided to have one person who kept a watch outside so that the kids don’t enter.
My husband is a light sleeper as compared to me, the slightest sound wakes him up. One of the days in the wee hours of the morning, my friend’s alarm starts ringing(who puts an alarm on holidays anyway?). We could hear it ring on repeat for over an hour. My husband could hear it! I wouldn’t get up if I were in deep sleep even if the world was ending.
He finally decided to take things in his hands and entered their room through the common door to close the alarm. He even did that successfully but again they had a latch on the door only in our room. The door got shut and he stood in their room banging the connecting door asking me to open it. After a while and no response from his sleeping wife; he realised it would be better to exit their main door and then continue the banging on our main door lest our friends get up because of the disturbance.
My dear husband stood outside the main door of both rooms at 5 am and kept waiting for me to open the door. I did open it but after an hour or so and was so confused as to why he was outside at that hour but for obvious reasons he was in no mood for conversations then.
I am an avid book reader and hoarder. Everywhere I go I make sure I buy loads of books. The word ‘SALE’ in a book shop scares my husband. He knows his wife will be lost in her world for a couple of hours and will have to be forced to come out of the shop eventually.
I came across a book store that was about to close down and had great deals. I purchased around 30 books and trust me nothing has made me happier. Why I am talking about this in the middle of a travel blog is something we’ll get around to a little later.
On the day of our checkout, we were packed and ready to leave at two in the afternoon. Our flight was scheduled at 6 pm and the airport was hardly an hour away. We were as usual in our element, totally carefree! How could we possibly miss a flight when there was so much time on hand?
By 3 pm we were done with all the formalities of the check-out just one small thing was holding us back. We couldn’t find one of the keys to the rooms! We went into our rooms and started the search, opened all the bags, checked the Activa’s we used for travelling but no sign of the keys. In the meanwhile, my little one wanted to answer the call of nature. While we checked and re-checked our bags multiple times, he sat and whiled away his time in the washroom.
We finally decided it was getting late and we would miss our flight so we paid the fine and decided to get over with it. (In hindsight this is something we should have started doing in the first place instead of wasting all of that time). We reached the airport just in time; we were smart enough to do our web check-in this time. Everything seemed to be in control however we all know ‘being in control is a myth’!
There were two separate lines for security; the men’s line was twice as long as the women’s line; there were hardly thirty minutes to the flight while we stood in line. We hadn’t checked in our entire luggage, we decide to carry the books in separate bags that we could keep in the cabin. Typical Indian mentality-trying to save some money; who’s going to pay for extra weight?
We had six tickets in all so we figured we would be able to accommodate all my books in the four handbags and three backpacks we had. They were insanely heavy but we thought it is just for a little while anyway, after all, we saved so much money when we decided to carry them in the cabin.
Fifteen minutes to the flight and we were still nowhere close to boarding; we stood like idiots in the line. Sometimes I feel there is a collective loss of brain function while traveling in a group based on the kind of decisions that are taken.
My husband finally saw one of the ground staff of the airline we were travelling in and showed him our tickets asking him for suggestions. The first thing that man did was call someone on his walkie-talkie, “I found the last six passengers! They are in line. Sending them right away; please hold the flight!”
He was in a complete state of panic(Ideally we should have been the ones panicking)! He asked us why we hadn’t answered the fifty-odd calls they made on our mobile number. We looked at each other wondering whose number was mentioned on the tickets; someone needs to take the blame after all but I realised it was my number they were calling!
My phone was on silent in the backpack my husband was carrying and he assumed who would even call me so he never really bothered to check it. We stood there arguing, the husband blaming me that I should have carried my phone and me blaming the husband that he should have checked the phone. The ground staff was in no mood for all this though, he got us by security to boarding. The plane was stopped on the runway JUST FOR US and behind our plane were three other planes from different airlines waiting.
We were asked to run and reach the bus which was waiting for us to take us to our flight. We had to walk three floors down to reach the bus, we walked as fast as we could but walking fast was not enough in that situation. The staff stood at the gate and kept shouting in his loudest voice, “You can’t walk like that! You have to run!!”
And so we ran but our speed wasn’t good enough so he stood there and kept yelling,” Faster, you got to run faster… Don’t stop… keep running! You don’t understand running faster than that!!”
Running is generally easy and manageable but have you ever tried running with a backpack on your back that is killing you with its weight, a handbag in one hand which is full of books and again heavy beyond reason, a purse in your other hand, and your child holding the same hand while running? We were all in the same situation; after all, it was our decision not to check in the bags in the luggage.
We ran like nobody’s business; it was not easy but we had no choice. When you leave Goa to board a flight for Mumbai, you generally just wear a pair of slippers. You’ll rarely see anyone dressed in sneakers or jeans while on the way back. It is extremely difficult to run wearing slippers.
My husband realised that I couldn’t keep up with the rest so he decided to take both my handbags and just asked me to run with the kid. He had four bags, a backpack and he was still faster than me. Now you would think I am an unhealthy person who has zero fitness levels but let me tell you I have been a runner all my life! I have so many medals from school and college that I’ve lost count. Other than that I exercise regularly, dance, and even do yoga so ideally running is not a big deal. Then what was the problem?
I was ashamed to admit it but my pants were falling off. I was wearing pants that day that was just right; they didn’t move an inch when I walked so I decided not to wear a belt. If I had any idea I would be running, I would have worn a belt, track pants, and sneakers.
I ran five steps and stopped to pull my pant up then again five steps and repeat. The others were way ahead of me and there was no way to catch up. My husband finally realised that I am nowhere behind him and was in disbelief at my casual attitude of not keeping pace with the others. There was no time to discuss what the problem was in detail or to explain my predicament. I told him that he would have to handle the child as well coz my pants were falling off.
If the choice was between missing the flight and running in my underwear; I would choose the former. Now my husband had 4 handbags, a backpack, my purse, and our child in his arms while I ran empty-handed holding my pants from both sides. Believe me when I say it’s not easy to run even when you are holding your pants because some part of it is still falling and there is a possibility it could come off!
We finally reached the bus and entered it; one of the handbags belts was broken, my friend’s slipper was broken, the kids couldn’t stop laughing and we were severely dehydrated. We entered the flight which was especially halted for us; the air hostess was explaining the rules as she stood while every eye on the plane was on us. The six people who made the airlines halt one of their flights! We honestly didn’t care, all we wanted was water!
After this incident we decided to lay down some ground rules which included reaching the airport at least three hours early, wearing comfortable clothes (with belts), wearing sneakers, and not carrying any hand baggage.
A few months later I decided to go on an all-girls trip with two of my other friends. It was the best time we had, but as fate had it there was something in store for us this time as well.
On the day of our return flight, one of my friends decided to stop on the way to buy a gift for her husband- A bottle of ‘Jack Daniels’. We stood in the liquor shop while she bargained for a good rate. She even managed to reduce 1k which is unheard of while buying liquor.
We anticipated that we would reach the airport in an hour but we didn’t anticipate that we would find traffic on the way. We missed our flight and we had to pay 8k each for a new ticket (the one thousand rupee reduction for the ‘Jack Daniels’ bottle cost us twenty four thousand.) We didn’t get a flight till late at night and we spent the whole day aimlessly at the airport.
Our husbands still make fun of the fact that we stood bargaining in a liquor shop for a thousand rupees and ended up missing our flights.
The following year when we planned another girl trip to Goa; we decided to take the train. We thought that the possibility of missing a train is a lot lesser than the possibility of missing a flight.
My friend decided to book the chair car and it was an overnight train. What a bad decision it was, will require an entirely new blog! The journey was uncomfortable, we couldn’t sleep a wink and we spent the night staring at each other questioning our bad choices.
We looked forward to going to our hotel room and sleeping the next day but that was another major disappointment as my friend had booked a very questionable hotel to save a few bucks! I’ll leave that story for some other day!
The pandemic hit us soon after and we haven’t been able to make any trips since then. A lot of what happens is to be blamed on us and our bad decisions but other times ‘Shit just happens!’
It is Goa after all!!
Image Source: Still from short film Friendship/Content Ka Keeda, Youtube
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