Saturday, August 29, 2009

go-go-goa


I am just back after a much-needed relaxed break to India's favourite beach destination - Goa. I can be a bit of a contrarion when it comes to travelling, so while most of us rush to Goa during Christmas, I've always wanted to visit the place in monsoon. Goa is not much of a beach place in the monsoon, but I've never really been a beach person. Give me mountains anyday. That said, I find beaches extremely soothing and relaxing, as well. I can sit by the sea for hours and just bask in the breeze and loose track of time. Anyways, so after a bumpy and turbulent flight that gave me a few goosebumps here and there, we landed amidst heavy rain at Goa's Dabolim airport. The airport is still primitive....It was fun, though, getting wet when we got out of the airport coach and ran towards the airport terminal.

I was visiting Goa after a little more than 10 years. The place has changed a lot. Lots of development can be seen everywhere, but thankfully the place is still not as polluted and populated as say Mumbai or Pune. But then, you can't compare Mumbai and Pune with Goa. Lush green, though. Very, very green. It's just a very different Goa during monsoon. Everywhere and anywhere you could see acres of land covered with coconut trees. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I think a coconut tree must be amongst the most pleasing sights in the world. I just feel extremely relaxed looking at it. And old Goan homes. They look grand, yet warm and inviting. Painted in vibrant colours. Like Mysore and Coorg folks, Goans know to take care of their homes. You'll see their homes in all sorts of bright colours, but violet, blue, green and yellow seem to be the in-thing these days...
Monsoon is also the best time to visit Goa if you want a good deal at a five-star resort. And as fed-up as I am of listening to requests to eat Goan curry whilst in Goa, the Goan curry still tastes good. There wasn't much variety of fish to be had, but then in monsoon, my mother says that fish should be avoided. Food at the Taj Holiday Village is absolutely great. Between six restaurants (three in Holiday Village and the other three in Taj Fort Aguada Resort), you can get to taste multiple cuisines, each prepared by lots of love and warmth by their well-trained and much-talented staff. And warmth is what is amply available at the Taj. They go to great lengths to make their customers happy. I watched the two chefs admirably at the breakfast restaurant. Atleast 10 people must have been standing on their heads demanding eggs, omelettes and what-not, and each of the two chefs, though completely drenched in requests and demands not to forget exhaustion, were at a time manning four stoves!!!

But you couldn't help but notice happiness in them. Like this guy from neaby Sawantwadi village who has been working here for the past 25 years proudly telling me so. Or this guy at the restaurant who started his work here, 20 years back, in house-keeping and proudly telling me that he, then, got promoted to the restaurant staff. But I guess if you're happy working at a place, it just shows, doesn't it? You can genuinely make your customers happy too. They call it passion, but whatever! Perhaps those samples who make it a point to look around for new "exciting opportunities" as soon as they complete a year, can learn something.

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