As we drive through the familiar Goan roads lined with paddy fields and coconut palms, it makes me feel very nostalgic. Having lived in Goa for 25 years of my life, I have adjusted very well to the hectic life in Pune in the last few years. But still, every time I come to Goa, I feel like I have come home. The fresh air itself is a welcome change from the polluted roads in Pune.
The coconut palms, the familiar sight of people dressed in their best clothes and going to church on a Sunday and a pader (person selling Goan bread) riding his bicycle on the narrow roads gives me a sense of belonging. As I enter my home in Vasco, it makes me fondly reminisce about my childhood days. This house where I grew up, where I played with my little sister, where my mum used to feed both of us, where my grandfather would sit on his chair and watch us, where we would sit on the swing in the balcony and play, the memories are endless. Even now when I enter this home, I feel safe and protected, I feel like I am a child once again.
As I take my daughter for a stroll in the narrow street in front of my house, I am greeted warmly by old neighbours many of who have known me since I was a toddler with bai kashe asa?(meaning how are you). A simple greeting, but leaves me feeling overwhelmed, makes me feel welcome.
On a trip to Vasco market with my mother I am met with familiar sights like "hotel La-paz" the only good restaurant in Vasco where we have had many meals as a family for many years, “National cloth shop”, the only cloth shop in Vasco where we used to shop for clothes, the temple of lord Damodar where we used to go every Monday, and so on. Even the fruit and vegetables vendors know most of the customers personally and always greet them. This being the Christmas and New Year season, in the evenings many house are lit up with Christmas lights, reminding me of childhood days again. Every Diwali mum would send us off with Diwali sweets for our neighbours and every Christmas we would wait for their Christmas goodies . That tradition continues till date. It makes me feel proud about my Goan people always living in harmony.
Just yesterday I attended a typical Goan marriage once again found myself relating to each and everything, be it the wedding rituals or the typical marriage food or looking at the women clad in silk sarees and symbolic Goan jewellery from head to toe. Whether I like it or not, I was one of them.
This and numerous other incidents and sights in Goa take me on a trip down the memory lane. No matter where life takes me, these days will always be special.