I’m back in Everett, Washington! This is where I live now, you know. I didn’t want to plaster my coming-back-to-here until I completely felt at ease with the changes. I don’t mean jet lag because really, what it that?! There’s something strange about air travel. The speed at which you move does not adequately keep up with your mind and before you know it, you’re somewhere new. Try flying the Bombay-Goa route and you’ll know what I mean. It was nice to be able to forget about this place for 3 months though.
And now the emotions! Oh hell. Try walking into an airport knowing that you won’t see this place you complained about year after year. If it wasn’t the heat, it was the way people drive or the utter lack of common sense/courtesy. I didn’t need to move countries to know that my last nerve was about to burst. I did however, need to move so I knew how much I didn’t mind. I woke up every morning knowing I was on the clock and even with nothing on the agenda, I was content. I was in no hurry to check things off an imaginary to-do list and the biggest of my concerns was should I or should I not fry the bombil. (Shouldn’t. Always. What a mess.)
Sitting in my corner right now, I can’t believe I was so stressed out about losing my greencard. I didn’t like how much time it took from me but I can find more than one silver linings from that time. For one, I got to spend time with old roommates/friends Swansy and Kusumita for at least 2 or 3 or 4 whole days. Nothing has changed. By that I mean I can still leave a heavy, antique silver letter-opener in the shape of a dagger in Swansy’s house and have her freak out about its mysterious appearance two days later. As for Kusumita, two years after me and she has a husband of her own. I am happy to report that I also scared her after her “I love Bombay” drive back home from the airport. Again, I didn’t have to try. All I did was stand right near the door of her stationary taxi and ask her if she needed help with her bag (up 4 floors). After 1 month in Durgapur, West Bengal, that can be translated as: “Hands up. Give me all your money. I am also a ghost.”
My other silver linings were my sister and new husband. Jane, who helped me with her mafia network of friends, also encouraged me to stand up at the back of a roofless Jeep. I don’t know if that makes any sense but day after day of being pissed off by the government the only thing that made sense was to drive to Farmer’s Choice at the back of that monster (by Goan standards) vehicle. It was perfect. Apart from making me photocopy every piece of official paperwork that I owned, brother-in-law was there with his Facebook account, every time I needed to change his status update and make myself laugh. Once he was done calling me “evil”, he pitched in and helped without having to ask him 10 billion times. I appreciated that and I also appreciated his Jeep.
My parents, I’m happy to report, haven’t changed at all. They will still stick out their necks to help us, their children. Before I flew to Goa, I had am imaginary list of things I wanted to do. I didn’t need to do them but I put them out into the universe anyway. Out of it, I got a picnic After many “ohh I don’t know if I’ll come…”, I am so glad my whole family was all part of it. Baga, the beach that made up every summer in my childhood book, was once again in a starring role. And there were (I don’t know how we’re related but we’re closer than actual-) cousins! I love LOVE when things come full circle. From there, delicious memories are made. This is the Goa I love and the Goa I’ll go to the ends of the earth for.
As for Gayle, all our memories revolved around food. From that pizza she made (which I threw up because who knew eating too much and too fast could make you sick?) to that pizza we ordered from Domino’s. Don’t tell my parents but we also secretly got them a new dog with zero watchdog ability and a lot of clothes-stealing ability. He will be neutered soon.
I had the time of my life at Miah and Ajay’s wedding, and added about eight thousand and nine “I love Goa” moments. Most of them happened in the most familiar places and how grateful I am for that. Nothing brings greater clarity than knowing you don’t have to have the world to do what you love. You just have to be present….in the same geographic location as a 5-year-old. That water fight was no fluke. Neither was the neon-lit dance party. Cynthia is an addiction. If I could wish things for people I know, I would wish her enthusiasm. There is no other way to live. I hope she never forgets how to be 5. I hope I don’t either.
Now I’m back here and I have to start worrying about a job and drive Matt crazy, while he returns the favour. There is this great loss you feel as you leave one part of your life and move to another. I don’t think it can be described in words. Instances would describe it better. It can come from a certain smell or a sudden rush of memories aroused by the most arbitrary things. There’s no way you can stop them, until they become normal and you accept them. Maybe I just can’t leave things behind easily. It is one of my favourite qualities. I will work through it with food.
It always works.
I made this breakfast on my last Sunday in Goa. I was going for the biggest, bestest breakfast memory and I pulled this out of the archives, with my mother by my side. It was fancified with some roasted cherry tomatoes on the top, but it is the same old same.
- 4 eggs
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 small tomato. chopped
- 1 green chilli, chopped fine
- Salt to taste
Break the eggs in your biggest coffee mug and beat them till they’re bubbly and fluffy. Add the onion, tomato and green chilli to the eggs and fold in. Sprinkle salt into the mix. Heat a non-stick pan with oil and pour in half of the mixture. Turn the flame to medium heat and let it completely cook on one side. Flip it over and cook for 2 more minutes or more, depending on how well-done you like your eggs. Fold it over and serve hot.
Extras: I topped the eggs with simple olive oil +garlic +rosemary oven-roasted cherry tomatoes. This is the recipe, with slight ingredient modifications.
I also cut up a chickoo, because it was the season and it’s my favourite milkshake fruit. I didn’t really need to tell you that but I just wanted to.
I hope your memories serve you well.