Random musings…
The ones that got written down.

spiralling out

It started on the day before we were scheduled to leave Goa…
I called up the information office for Dr. Salim Ali bird sanctuary to ask about the boat ride and they gave me another number. I called up that number they gave me another number, I called there and the person said that a Judge and his family are coming later today so there might be a problem but if you come by 4:30PM which is high tide time we can do the boat ride. I said great and we drove out. 25km, 40 minutes not an unattainable feat. Got on the ferry at exactly 4:10PM and were on the other side by 4:25. “No sir no boat, Government of Goa is not paying only for the petrol”. I said but you charge us 1200 bucks what is that for? No sir judge and family are coming so boat not free. But I pay taxes to pay the salaries for the effing judge how come he gets precedence over his maalik log? No sir that is how it is sir here is a private operators number please call him and talk to him if he can take you out to sea. I called up the guy but same story “sir judge and family coming”. I then called up the Forest official who is supposed to manage all this and he’s like no sir I will give you number you speak to that guy he will figure this out for you. I was at this point being physically assaulted by the girls for being so overt about reporting the ongoing corruption at Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary Goa. They wanted to promote the private operators over the government boats and so were making all these excuses. The wife said “are you out of your mind, we are on an island with your daughters in tow and you know how these people are all working together, they will call each other up that official will tip off the operators on this end and before you know it you will be getting lynched for just having a Khan in your name, reason be damned why do you want to get into a stupid fight which isn’t even yours to begin with”. Anyway, I swung the car around and got onto the waiting ferry. After a few tense moments, where I pictured goons clambering up the gangway with machetes and dragging me out, the ferry pushed off…

so what if we couldn’t do the boat trip at the bird sanctuary. My friends, the birds, find me at the most unexpected of times and most unusual of places. Just as we were getting up to go home from the beach after watching the sunrise this Kingfisher flew overhead screaming at us to sit our butts right back down because the show was just about to begin. I have seen kingfishers fly, I’ve seen them sing their signature songs as well. I have never seen them do both at the same time.

Next we thought lets go to INOX at Panaji which is in this beautiful looking building and spend time there instead of running into any other sarkari initiative, so much for “na khaaoongaa na khaane doonga”. As we were reaching there the girls let out another collective groan. The only movie available was “The Kerala Story” like seriously man! I anyway parked and figured we would just check the building, it also houses some palace and then go to Miramar for the sunset. Turns out the building where I parked is an office for the team managing the G20 programs in Goa and visitors are not welcome. So much for staying out of the sarkars way and avoiding heart aches… Anyway so I turned around and we figured it’s ok the drive is great, the view is wonderful with some stretches where the sea runs parallel to the road lets go to Little Vagator for the last sunset of our trip to Goa. This was a vacation which had so far been excellent and rightfully so because Ria is now in class 10 and there is very little chance that we would get much of a vacation in over the next 2-3 years. The last day though… So as we were reaching North Goa I thought let’s park at Infantaria (our happy place in Goa). So we parked and then we ate to our hearts content. By the time we were done it was pretty dark, Ira actually commented “I think we missed the sunset”. We looked at each other and we were like “yeah well we saw a lot of sunsets over the past two weeks, abhi apple pie pe concentrate karte hain”…

Later that evening I figured I should go get a bottle of locally made Gin, apparently Goa has become quite good at Gin production in recent years, for a friend back home (ahem yeah me)… I identified a Samsara Grapefruit and Rose. So as per the locals as well as everyone on reddit and quora and google and GoI websites, you are allowed to carry 5 litres of alcohol out of Goa if flying back home. There is a problem if you are driving or travelling by train. So anyway I paid the requisite amount got it packed absolutely nicely in bubble wrap and all picked up wine for the missus and a stout beer for myself for a late night cap and went back home. I figured I was already 10kilos overweight from all the debauchery while at Goa another beer wont harm me much.

Cut to next evening at Hyderabad airport. As I brought down the laptop bags and the cabin bags that the kids were carrying I realized that one of their water bottles had leaked, like pretty heavily. Sonalis’ bag was soaking wet. That one had her work laptop, a 2L rupee write off I figured apart from the work data etc.. Anyway I just kept it to myself and didn’t hand it over to her. I walked ahead, quietly opened the bag while still walking and took out her laptop. It was dry, that is when I told her what had happened. She checked the rest of the bag. Turns out she had a waterproof files folder for documents that had protected the laptop as well. Lucky break I thought and handed the bag over to her.

As we moved out of the luggage carousel with our bags we were accosted (practically just outside the airport) by a bunch of policemen. They were stopping everyone who had gotten off the flight from Goa. This lady cop (possibly I looked like I might be better behaved if a lady did the talking) came up to me and asked me “where are you coming from?” I said “Goa, is there a problem” “do you have any alcohol in your baggage?” I said “oh yes one bottle” wrong move but I am Raja Harishchandra in most circumstances. I was smiling so far and had charm mode fully on the funny part the police woman also was smiling and almost saying in her head “why did you have to speak the truth you dear chomu”… but she said “sir it is not allowed”. I looked confused and asked her “what is not allowed? I have a bill for the purchase and I was told I can carry 5Litres of the stuff”. “No sir the Government of Telangana changed the rule a few days back now it is not allowed and yes they are saying it is allowed to everyone and selling but this rule is told to Government of Goa as well”. I am like yeah well I’ve been having a great 24 hours so far… go ahead GoI fleece more. So anyway I asked “now what to do? should I start running with you guys shooting at me?”…. she laughed and called her senior officer. This guy was equally amused because I was holding up this small 750ml bottle of Samsara Rose and Grapefruit Gin while there were suitcases full of JD and what not lying open in front of me which they had confiscated from other fellow flyers. He said sir you can give your details and surrender the bottle it will go to the excise department you can fight the case there, if you want. I was like “does it look like a mad dog bit me in Goa?” and I turned to the lady cop because the senior cop did not get my sense of humour at all. I asked her what is my option. She said “Go”. I went leaving the bottle in her hands. No details given no name nothing. Ira the younger one was angry beyond words. “What is their damn problem if we bring 1 bottle or 500 bottles? We have a bill it’s not like we stole the bottle, why is the Government so stupid”. Ria the elder one was plain amused, last night she and her mom had been wondering how drunk is he going to be with that big a bottle of Gin at home! Well now we know. Besides she was also amused at how she spotted a teacher from school and her husband having a heated argument with the policemen who had stopped the Goa flyers. Those two had between them around 10 bottles of whiskey (a suitcase full apparently). She was like they’re still arguing back at the airport once we were out.

While waiting for the taxi to pull up I reflected on how every state of the country today wants to in effect secede from the nation. Rules are not uniform across states, laws are being drafted on the fly and as you cross boundaries every state government thinks they are the rulers and the owners of this state. That there is no common central law authority that dictates what is ok and what is not is so clearly evident. I along with some of my Marwari, Brahmin and Tamil friends at Goa enjoyed the best beef steaks (and Goa has real beef not the buff that passes for beef in the rest of the country). I have never had beef outside of Goa in my entire life. Only because the states define their own laws. Where is the respect for a union of states when every state is working hard at pulling away from the union and drafting it’s own laws? Anyway so this was the last of my woes on the last day of the vacation…. OR so I thought.

I had placed the lunch orders on the way and when we got home after quickly unpacking and lunch I figured lets get some work done. Connected the laptop back at my desk and boom…. it wont switch on. The adaptor was probably shot because even without the battery it did not power on the laptop… This was going to be catastrophic. As I was contemplating switching over to one of the kids’ machines Sonali gave me her home laptop which we had purchased just about a couple of years back and which has been used sparingly… I placed an order for the adapter and we went off to sleep hoping this was the end of our bad run and that there would be no work emergencies till the replacement adapter arrived… oh did I mention how I picked up a fight with one of my newer clients regarding, scope and remuneration, while at Goa and practically resigned the job… yeah well that happened as well… I had left the laptop connected to the wall socket on the bad adapter.

Anyway morning came and on a whim I re-did the connections and lo and behold the laptop turned on… Later at 11 when I was about to break my fast (6PM-11AM I eat nothing, not even milk in my coffees)… I weighed myself and it showed that I had gained not 10 but a pretty manageable 1.3kilos only. So yeah vacations, even workations like this one was, may be great but it is always better, much better to be back home!

to every harrowing day there is an end. To every stormy sea there is a shore that will break the waves. To every dark cloud there is a silver lining. It is never too late to make amends, to make a change to focus on the fix and to come back home.

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