Disconnect... And Let Go!

The intention was simple - an escape from life; from the stress, commitments, the daily do’s and don’ts, noise in the head and in the city, just leave life behind for a while. 10th month of the year and I hadn’t treated myself with a trip. By trip I mean, all by myself for 4 days doing nothing but just letting it be with Nature. 
Oct 13th – 27th turned out to be MY BEST time of the year.

Happy Birthday to Me!
You can call it my long extended birthday week, coz life surprised for 15 days straight.

So it all started in May when our well planned summer trek to Valley of flowers got cancelled. I promised I would go away for my birthday, come what may. And for once it looked like Nature had it all planned for me. One week prior, I put down my papers, served a week’s notice at work and just googled for a few hours on the destination of the getaway. I owe it to my colleague who said “You can try this place Malvan, 200 kms from Ratnagiri, not sure if you want to travel so much.” It took me only 5 minutes on Google Images to make up my mind that this was what I was looking for.
Now as I have mentioned above, the whole idea of this trip was to be by myself. Yes, I meant travel alone. But a week ago, my boy Santosh calls up saying “Hey! I’m so excited! I have a week off from college, I can accompany you for your travel.” I gave in. As much as I wanted to do this by myself, maybe it is not all that bad to involve a friend in your travel and this one is among my favorites, so yea! Turns out after this trip, Santosh has become my default partner for travel/gig/just anything.  After a mad, long, and super fun birthday brunch with sis, Sharat, Santosh and Daaku we headed out. Again, apart from tickets, homestay and general details I knew nothing more so it was absolutely random.
Time of Departure    – 2045 hours, 13th Oct ‘13
Destination              - Malvan, Maharashtra
Arrival at Goa          – 0800 hours, 14th October ‘13
Arrival at Malvan      – 1230 hours, 14th October ‘13
Total Travel Time    – 15 hours (worth every bit)

Chivla Beach, Malvan
All I knew about the place was it was coastal. It was a major transition in climate – From cool winter breeze to heat and humidity. The only route to get to Malvan from Bangalore is to pitstop at Goa and take any bus towards Maharshtra. If you are among those who love Goa, I’m sorry Malvan is not meant for you. This city is for those who want their holidays to be as quiet as it can get; non commercial private beaches, cheap local cuisine and beer at MRP. Malvan can also be a quiet escape with that special one, have the most of each other and a lot of love!

Day 1 - Running an hour late, we got into an auto to head to our homestay – Mayekars, Chivla Beach.  A short auto ride, I crossed my fingers and just hoped Google wouldn’t fool me this time. When you are alone, you can always find a way to kill time. But with a friend who has his own expectations of the holiday, you do not want anything to go wrong. And then as we entered this narrow lane, we faintly saw a boat parked and we looked at each other. The heat had blinded us both so much that we did not notice the clear blue waters ahead of the boat. That awesome moment when you traveled so far to just keep yourself happy and Nature just gave you what you asked for. We knew it right then that the next 2 days would be just beautiful.

View from our room
Our homestay owners were awaiting our arrival. My mind just jumped three levels of peace when he opened the door for us. Green paint on the floor of the real small seating area outside to just lighten up the surrounding and make you feel it were grass, dark brown room walls, roofs above, wooden flooring, a small wash basin towards the corner beside the washroom and a double bed. Our favourite bit – There is only one window in the room and it faces the sea. So all through the day, however you move, you do not miss a glance of the sea.

We took our own sweet time to freshen up, had a late lunch at one of the hotels around and it was time for sunset. We walked the whole stretch twice that evening and there were just 6 people on the beach, including us. 2 men preparing their nets to go out fishing, a father playing with his tot in the water. #SmallJoys. Its amazing when you have this friend who understands you totally, just does not budge into your space when you need it the most. More like we were disconnected but still connected! And yes, I should thank him for coming along coz the moment was meant to be shared.

A long dinner with some beer and we called it a night. Oh! We went for another walk around 11 pm, couldn’t resist the view so we went again after that heavy meal. And out of nowhere without any sign Santosh just twirled me around! Now I can't scream at 11 in the night, can I? Well ask him what was he high on! Much rest needed, we got back. I somehow couldn't sleep well; new place, new environment or just that excitement that you finally got what you wanted. I woke up around 5 only to see our man still up and tripping at the view. How do I explain the sight? Faint moonlight and the sound of the waves at 5 am and this adorable friend smiling to glory! How could you sleep to such a beauty?  Life never felt so easy and at peace.

Day 2 –
A lazy late morning and Poha for breakfast. God, I was in love. The heat wouldn't let us sit outside for long so we quickly finished breakfast and sat in front of the window again, hooked like some kid watching a race. We had our time in the room- from rock to trance to some random yapping and rolling on the bed like kids, much fun was had. Google told us the beaches in the city had sport activities and the owner’s wife was sweet enough to give us more details. It was a short walk to Sindhdurg beach and we were just on time. The jetty picked us up to the point and voila, Scuba Diving off the bucket list! Santosh caught a dead octopus in his session while I got a chance to feed ‘pav’ to the fishes apart the joys of experiencing life underwater, sight of weeds and reefs and just that 10 second joy of being with Nature, literally. AMAZING!

We thought we could make it to the other island the same day but we got late.Instead, enjoyed some local fish thali! On our way back we had some company; kids coming out of their schools, some rushing to the Xerox center for their test the next day, girls gossiping, boys being the cool ones and some of them rushing to the nearest store to get lollies! Lollies for Rs.5 only! We grabbed the last two and walked back. Santosh took a power nap while I quietly slid myself outside; got my diary out and just scribbled something. I wanted that moment so bad - me sitting by the shores, jotting anything that passed my mind. 
A nice hot shower, chilled beer, nonstop yap and again fish for dinner – Sorted!

Day 3 –

The two us were up by 4 am to not miss out on the view one last time. We just stood by the window and glared for about 15 mins. I remember saying – “Enjoy the nothingness” and he gave that sly smile like as if he didn't know.  We had a long day ahead so tried catching up some sleep for 2 hours, but it was really difficult to get out of bed on Wednesday coz we had to vacate the room in a few hours. Omlette for breakfast and we left to island soon. The heart ached to say goodbye to that absobeautiful time we had - the city so simple, owners so humble that it reflects on the food, nothing at all do yet you feel at peace, 3 days away from media/everything possible and you didn't feel a thing! It was just humbling, disconnect in the real sense.
We hired an auto to the Tsunami island for our next activity – Parasailing. Let’s not get into the details, all I would sum up to – Insane rush of adrenaline, one of those things that gets you high on life in just seconds.  INCREDIBLE! 

Now we had to head back to Goa and split ways- I was to leave to Mangalore for a wedding and Santosh back home. But this return journey turned to be a mad adventure. We missed the only bus back to Goa so had to take 2 buses to get there. Upon reaching Goa, we realized all buses to Mangalore were full, which meant we had to figure out another route. Thanks to this damn sweet conductor of a KSRTC bus headed to Hubli, he encouraged we get on to the bus and hop into the Hyderabad express at 2.30 am. To our bad luck, no seats available. So here’s how our return journey turned out –
1330 hours – Left to Tsunami Island, Devbhag
1700 hours – Bus from Kudal to Sawantwadi
1830 hours – Sawantwadi to Panjim
2020 hours – Arrival at Panjim
2115 hours – Departed from Goa
0200 hours – Arrival at Hubli
0300 hours – Departed to Bhatkal (That tad bit of network on santosh’s phone told us the only option to get to Mangalore was to cross the entire western ghat)
0800 hours – Arrival at Bhatkal
0815 hours – Departed to Mangalore
1330 hours – Touchdown Mangalore
PHEW!! 24 hours non stop journey with only water in our system coz our country does not sell food during midnight. A heavy lunch (Fish fry, chicken curry, kori rotti + beer) at Hotel Surabhi, a hot shower to ease those muscles and 2 ice creams each at Pabba’s – Earned!
Santosh left back to Bangalore the same night, of course with a heavy heart, while I went back to meet my boys for their plan kudi session. The wedding went all smooth on Friday and I got back to the room for some rest.

Now that was 13th-18th . What followed this, well I will try and keep it as short as I can. I woke up at 6 am with the bus driver making his way into the Bangalore traffic. Hoping to catch up on the lost sleep I tried making my bed but the mind would just not listen. I stepped out for a small walk, yes inspite of all that fatigue I walked for a while, to not lose out on the peace my mind had gotten used to in the past week. 
Bangalore was celebrating the TGIOF that weekend, which meant I still could carry forward the good times. And so I start cleaning my room and pinged this friend of mine to confirm we were going together. All done, Sharath and I were to leave by 4 pm. Sharp 1.30 pm I received a call from Delhi, a call that literally stopped my heart for a second. I had just won an all expense paid trip to watch the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh Circuit by Sahara Force India!! Now tell me who would not fall off the bed and start dancing? Ideally you would call a friend to share this joy but I did not. I wanted to show the boys in writing and see their reaction myself. Sharath did not believe what he read, all through the ride our man kept applying brakes coz I would just not stop screaming. Apologies, my friend. Santosh read the letter and fell on the floor. Well of course he was happy but we all knew he wanted it more than anyone. 2 days of music, beer & friends, 2 more days of rest + chores and a weekend of living a long awaited dream.  WHATTEY WEEK!
Good Times at the Oktoberfest 2013
To SharathSantosh and Amit (Daaku) for giving me a super fun birthday, to Malvan for being so humble and to the Universe for showering me with surprises. Again, I cannot thank Santosh enough for all that madness and for simply being there, disconnect could also mean sharing yourself with someone. Thank you all!
And Life my friend, Is Always Good. 

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  1. I enjyd readin it...i liked the secnd last sentence the mst..'discnnct cld also mean sharin ur slf wit smeon..'.

  2. Great post Vijetha! Love the attention to detail. Good choice of photos chosen to highlight all the good times we had. And thank you for having me on one of your eccentric journeys. Much love! - Santosh.


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