six months ago i learned how to drive rather reluctantly...hated the idea of driving in bombay's manic traffic...but that drive to taleigaon on the bom-pune expressway changed all that. goa began to appear in the horizon of my fledgling car ambitions. sent my baby for a complete overhaul n had her ready just the day before we were to leave. meanwhile, i had already figured that a full tank of lpg n a full tank of petrol would take me over 750kms! goa was well within!
we - my sister mira n her friends in their car - set off early on 31st morning. we'd decided to do it nice n easy considering this was my first time. no way was i going to do it in one go. so we planned an overnight stop at tarkarli about 540km away!
i'd always dreamed of this - to be able to stop enroute n take in those gorgeous sights which one is unable to do while in a bus or train. my fiat sienna was as happy as me to be get out of the city, open up the throttle n zip down the straights at 110kmph! but it was those vedi vaakdi valuns that pounded the heart while mira grabbed the door handle firmly trying to calm her nerves.
such fun it was, tho not so much fun when one maniacal bus driver wanted to overtake a trailer down a hairpin bend as i was revving up-ghat. many gaalis later, we continued...phew! lunch at sangameshwar, powernap n off were went. now, tarkarli was futher than i had imagined...light was fading fast n i was growing increasinly uneasy. mercifully, the turn off to tarkarli came soon afterdark...those blinding headlights totally suck!
crawled into bed exhausted n woke up eaarly to this fab mtdc resort on the beach at tarkarli...cool, clean n desolate. such bliss!... walking down the beach, in the distance there seemed to be much excitement. the seagulls were going crazy, women n children were seen filling their plastic bags while the men hauled in a mountain of tarlas...i mean, two trucks weren't enough to take this mornings bounty away!
back on the road, we decided to ditch nh17 n go down the sagari mahamarg up to vengurla n then on to the mangeshi calgutkar mandir at assnora in north goa - amol's family ka presiding deity. so many lifetimes ago, the temple chief priest had a dream that the christians were going to be coming so take her inland to save her. that explained why calangute-kars came to assnora...
the short drive to verna was uneventful...but i felt weird to be driving in goa...complete disbelief!...no scramble to hire a kinetic, no manoj to call for a pick-up, no thumbing a lift...it felt rather nice, in fact ;)