The Last Leg…

At long last, here is my concluding post about the last leg of my last Indian trip. From Delhi I traveled to beautiful Goa to visit my mother’s sister and her husband. They live in Dona Paula, very close to the capital, Panjim. Goa is unlike any part of India. It has retained a certain attitude from its Portuguese history. I took a river cruise one evening that featured Goan traditional dances. I went for a South Goa tour but it was full so I settled for a North Goa tour. It was nice and we visited many places that testified to Portugal’s legacy. However, South Goa is home to one of my favourites: the  Bom Jesus Church, which houses the body of St-Francis Xavier.  I always visit Goa at the end of my visit as it allows me a chance to relax after my adventures and before my return to Canada. Near my uncle’s home there are several secluded beaches where I enjoy my daily sea bath; there’s nothing quite like it! It is such a contrast to the very touristy beaches that swarm with hawkers, liquor shops and tattoo parlours. I am very glad I only ever glimpse that aspect of Goa in passing.

From Goa I took a train to the very famous Mumbai (Bombay), the capitals of both Bollywood and Maharashtra state. I have three cousins and their families in Mumbai but luckily they all live in Andheri East. The city is spectacular and some parts would put New York to shame! Like Bangalore, the ultra-modern city is spattered with elements of “old India”. I enjoyed perusing the ware of the street side booksellers. They have walls of books piled up but nonetheless have an exact knowledge of their merchandise. Another wondrous site is the delivery system that miraculously brings a man his wife’s prepared lunch. An army of men deliver (by any means necessary) hot lunches to office workers all over the vast city. The remarkable thing is that most of the delivery men are illiterate and so they rely on a colour-coded system. As any cosmopolitan city, Mumbai attracts Indians from every part of the country for business and work. As such, one can enjoy authentic cuisine from any region; you can even pick which state’s thali you want for lunch! Most enjoyable was my introduction to Maharashtran chaat. This refers to any number of snacks that are savoury, spicy and sweet, usually on or in something fried. The blend of flavours and textures makes for quite the taste experience.

As always, I would suggest that everyone visit India once in their lives. It is a marvelous adventure and learning experience. It will open your eyes to the world in such a way that you can no longer look at your home the same way. I had an amazing three month journey: 1 month doing the course in Tamil Nadu; 1 month in Kerala visiting family; and 1 month travelling North India for the first time. I always feel very at home in India, well South India at least. Yes I miss it, especially the food but India isn’t going anywhere and I’m sure I’ll be back there soon enough. I humbly thank Bharata Mata (Mother India) for gracing me with this journey and teaching me so much.

I am always happy to talk to people about India, especially those preparing to go; so don’t hesitate if you have any questions. I hope you’ve enjoyed my travels. Pranams.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jbilodo
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 12:08:19

    This is a great series of posts. You should take up travel reporting professionally.

    Reply

  2. John Karpat
    Sep 29, 2012 @ 09:03:49

    Shantidas,

    I have always looked forward to reading your posts. Interesting to read the points of view of someone who travels off the beaten path. And yes I will consult you on my trip to India.
    Om Shanti

    Reply

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