Mission Goa – The Concluding Part

The Last Day in Goa

The Last Day in Goa

So we woke up early and got ready before the bus comes for the South Goa tour. We decided to take some pics in and outside the hotel, not because we loved the place soooo much, but because we wanted to keep the memory of one of our best struggles alive in our minds and hearts. As the bus came, we were all surprised because it was almost a semi Volvo and we were all in doubt that just for Rs 150 per head, how can they give us such a nice bus to us for South Goa Darshan. We went inside without making any inquiries because certainly we didn’t want to give them any ideas ;). After reaching a certain place, they asked us to climb down and wait for another bus, and our suspicions started increasing about the credibility of the Travels. One person from them was waiting along with us so we were a bit assured that at least they wont leave us here only. But just after 20 mins, a mini bus came (like the Setwin bus of Hyderabad) and he asked us to get in it. This was it now! We started fighting like anything with that guy. We argued that initially they bring such nice bus and then they take us in this Khatara. Since we were 6 guys, the driver decided against fighting with us and assured us that we will go in the very bus we came in and he will drop us till that bus. Happily we got inside and this time there was no problem. We landed safely in the bus we came in. 

The rest of the South Goa tour was quite smooth and we didn’t face much problem apart from scattered showers at some places. In the evening, we also enjoyed the cruise. The cruise, by the way, didn’t seem that attractive to me as the hype about is. They dance and they have a disco but it was not worth spending a whole evening over there I felt. Anyhow, today we didn’t screw up at all and we went to bed with peace and satisfaction in our mind and believing that.. “Dukh bhare din beete re bhaiya… ab such aayo re!!” (Sad days have gone and happy days are here again!!). Tomorrow we will catch the train and we will be back to home with splendind stories to tell our friends and burn their as*es. But as Mr Murphy’s curse was not ready to leave us, we were going to have the biggest shock of our whole journey. 

(Those who have read Part 1 & 2 must be thinking what bigger a shock.. keep reading ahead.. there is plenty of entertainment for you!) 

We had arranged for a cab in the early morning for 600 Rs to take us till Vasco station and don’t think that the cab ditched us, it was dot on time. We reached station 45 mins before departure time and we were happy to see the train waiting for us on Platform No 1. You’ll be thinking, ‘what can go wrong now’ right? Listen now. Due to the smartness one of us possessed, he suggested to check our names in the chart. We all started making fun of him that even after we have a confirmed ticket, whats the need to check name? He was still not satisfied so we went ahead since there was nothing else for us to pass our time with. As we went their and started looking for S11, our coach number. But the list ended at S9 only. We thought these guys must have gone out of paper (in a government organization, we make such assumptions also!!!) or out of mind; so we decided to check our bogie. We kept walking… S5… S6..S7..S8..S9.. General and that’s it!! Our hearts started thumping rapidly. We thought S10 and rest might be ahead, so lets go and check. As we were walking, the wise guy asked one of the cleaners on the train where S10 & S11 were and he told these coaches were cancelled!! 

Can you imagine?? Not the whole train, but only 2 coaches were cancelled!! Now you got how you can get screwed in the least expected scenarios???? Let me explain you why this happened. The train which goes from Hyderabad to Vasco is not a whole train but only a bunch of bogies. A train which goes to Yashwantpur from Hyderabad, carries these bogies with itself upto some station. These bogies are there released, and another train, which comes from Yashwantpur carries these bogies towards Vasco. The same happens in the reverse journey as well. And due to the floods in Andhra Pradesh, the train which was supposed to come from Yashwantpur didn’t come yesterday and so our bogies also didn’t come with it. So naturally, there were no bogies for us and moreover, all the trains going to Andhra Pradesh from Goa were cancelled!! Now we were stuck in a grand screwing program where we couldn’t even leave the station because we had to reach Hyderabad tomorrow at any cost and we also couldn’t go to Hyderabad since there was no conveyance. 

We decided to follow Kareena’s foot-steps. Didn’t get?? Arey we went to the station master’s cabin just the way she goes in Jab We Met 😛 . He suggested that we can go till Guntakal in the same train and catch the Yashwantpur train from there till Hyderabad. This sounded like a cool idea. We asked, ‘so in which coach we can get in, Sir?’. He told that these tickets were no more valid, so we can only travel in General coach. Now those who have traveled in General coach can only guess our agony. To make the matter worse, let me tell you that this train was going till Hawda, so all the passengers in General coach were long term ones’ and none of them was going to get down before. Still, without any real options, we decided to take the path our angel had suggested to us and bought 5 General tickets till Guntakal.

 Now let me tell you some facts about General coaches in India. The first and foremost thing is that if you are traveling through General coach, forget your natural pressures like going to Toilet and all. Because once you are fixed at a place, you cant move, even if you want to! And if you are lucky to get a seat, then you are even unluckier than those who are standing. Because first of all, you wont be able to move your legs for a bit. Secondly, every now and then, someone will ask you to move ‘little bit’ to make place for them. And you end up moving in virtually no place at all. And if you are standing, you are constantly worried about your pockets. Every now and then someone asks you to make passage for them since they want to go to bathroom. There are sooooo many problems that one whole post will be required for them to be listed. In short, we faced all this problems. I got a place in the above shelf which was too near to the ceiling of the coach and I had to hold the ‘pressure’ for almost 3 hours. 2 more of us were sitting downwards and with the ‘same’ expressions on their faces. The rest of 2 had already surrendered and decided to sit in the Sleeper Coach and they said they will pay the penalty but wont sit there. We also decided the same after 3 hours of agony! But the problem was that we had the whole luggage of 5 people with us and there was no way we would be able to transfer it all to the nearest sleeper coach at any station owing to the really packed General coach.

 But still like the Ocean’s 11… oops… Ocean’s 5, we all demonstrated great coordination and shifted all of the bags to the next sleeper coach and sat there expecting a TT to come any moment and rip us apart. And guess what! The worst of your fears always become true and the best of your desires always unfulfilled!! Just after 20 mins, the TC showed up!! He asked for the ticket and we showed the one which was already cancelled. And he told us the same. When such situation comes, my loyal friends always decide to stay mum, leaving the whole dealing stuff on my poor shoulders. Now I had to satisfy this person who was not interested in taking any bribes. I didn’t ask him for any, but normally in such situations, they only tell the ‘way out’. But this guy brought his penalty book and started putting the carbon papers in it. I was impressed with his honesty and ashamed of our dishonesty, but what could we do!! We had the ticket but the rains screwed us!!

 I looked at him surprised when he told that our ticket was invalid. I lied that the previous TT allowed us to sit here with these tickets and also told us to get down at Guntakal to catch the same train! He believed me and told that yes, that previous guy (who didn’t exist!) was right that we should catch the train from Guntakal but this ticket will not do and we’ll have to pay the fine. I showed him the general tickets till Guntakal which I told him that we bought just ‘in case’ required. He praised us for buying the ticket but still pressed for paying the difference between general and sleeper. We all had already empty wallets (luckily!!) and I had only 400 Rs. I said, ‘see sir, we are not traveling without ticket and also we are not doing this too fool Indian Railways. Our coaches got cancelled and we cannot do anything about it. At the same time, we also cannot leave this train due to our official commitments. If your duty requires us to pay the penalty then all I can offer at this time is only 400 Rs which is only penalty for 1 person. The rest I can give you at Guntakal if there is an ATM (which I was sure wont be there by hearing the name!!) and more than this I cannot do. Now you decide what the best way is.’

 That guy became really sentimental and took the 400 Rs and gave us the receipt. And also gave us firm instructions on which train to catch from Guntakal and what time it will come and all. I was relieved after getting rid of another problem and we all reached Guntakal while sitting on the stairs of the sleeper coach!

 Against my belief, Guntakal was a really good, neat and comparatively Hitech station. All the displays were digital and the enquiry counter also had a microphone with him so that people don’t have to peek in to listen to him. We were really hungry so enquired about good hotels and decided to take an auto till there. Now for us, who stay in metro cities, auto walas of railway stations are a big headache. Because they wont settle for less than 2 times the actual fare. We went and asked a auto wala ow much it will cost for 5 people with luggage till that hotel. He said 30 Rs. We asked 30 rs per head??? He said No, total 30 Rs. We were awestruck. We thought all the Hyderabad auto walas should be brought here and taught about honesty from these noble people. We had the same experience at the hotel also. The food was really delicious and on a roof top garden hotel, where we ate like we never ate before, our per head bill was not more than 70 Rs. Happily we left the place and went to station to wait for our train.

 Here also the same problem was going to repeat. We were strategizing about our struggle in the night since here also we don’t have any ticket and we’ll have to stay in front of the toilet for the whole night. As the arrival time was approaching, there were many like us on the station because 3 out of 4 trains were cancelled till Hyderabad and this was the only train so every one wanted to catch this one. People started encircling the Station Master to get a possible birth in the train. We heard the news that the train was pretty empty and possibly we might get a birth. But we decided not to get over-excited, owing to the events which had already played a huge part in the fiasco of the grand Goa program. As soon as the train came, we got into it. And the coach we got in was quite filled. We were standing in front of one of the toilets where one of the ‘over-smart’ passengers asked why we were standing there. We told about our problem but he asked us to leave that place at once or else he’ll call the TT. Cursing him, we went to the next bogie and guess what!! Almost the entire coach was empty. We all took one birth each for ourselves and went to sleep. Let the TT come, we’ll take care of him. And luckily enough, this night, the TT never showed up!

 We reached Hyderabad safe and sound. The whole Goa program went 180 degree from what was decided. There were no chicks, no paragliding, no speed-boating and no fun on the beaches. But to be frank, this was one of the best tours I ever had! But this doesn’t mean I want it to be repeated!!

 

Journey on the steps of Sleeper Coach

Journey on the steps of Sleeper Coach

Mission Goa Part 2

-:The Journey Begins:-

From Left to Right: Amit, Yogesh, Vatsal, Prashant & Shailesh

From Left to Right: Amit, Yogesh, Vatsal, Prashant & Shailesh

We all were awake at 6AM since we wanted to reach the beach early to cover up what we had lost yesterday due to series of unexpected bad things happening to us. But the lady bad-luck was not yet ready to leave us. When Yogesh went to have bath, we came to know that there was no hot water in the hotel. When we asked the receptionist about this, he told that the water heater is a solar one and since it was raining continuously from 2 days, water was not hot. And they wont heat the water for only 5 people! ‘Never mind’, we again consoled ourselves, ‘the fun, masti and maza of Goa is worth this!’ and we started for the dream journey to Calangute beach, which is considered the best beach of Goa, we had been planning since July, dreams of paragliding, speed-boating, banana-riding and most importantly, unlimited window shopping!!! 😉

The hotel staff was kind enough to inform us that we need to go to Panjim and then to board the bus till Calangute. Another 2 Km walk and we reached the bus stand where the bus arrived in 2 mins and we were at Panjim in 10 mins. The Calangute bus was also ready and we boarded it. In the way, rain again started pouring in and the bus driver was literally filling glasses of water falling from the roof of bus and throwing it on the inside of the front glass to make the road a bit visible. I and Shailesh were sitting on the first seat and we could actually see the bull of Yamraj running ahead of our bus!!

As soon as we got down, we entered a restaurant which was also empty. Normally you can hardly manage to get one empty table on such restaurants on the beach but they were all empty since it was raining from so many days. We had hell lot of breakfast since we all knew that once on beach, no one is going to waste time in having lunch and missing out on the opportunity of staring at the last beautiful foreigner on the beach! After the breakfast, we entered a shop to purchase some funky cheap beach outfits and took almost half an hour deciding clothes for each one. Now we all know how much fair are the prices of commodities on such tourist spots so we had decided to bargain from 50% of whatever price is told to us. But we were disappointed when we were outrightedly denied even 1% discount considering the fact that someone else was the owner of the shop and the shopkeeper is just an employee who doesn’t have any power to decide on discount.

Dejected, we came out of that shop and entered another one where we got 5 similar looking sets of Bermudas and T-Shirts for 600 Rs only. We were all excited since we had got each set for a cheap 120 Rs and came out of the shop happily. As soon as we stepped out, another shop-keeper came running to us screaming “5 T-Shirts for 175 Rs only!!”. We all looked at each other and decided in eyes that no one had heard him and we shall keep feeling that we had the best deal!

The beach was visible now and the visions of me hanging from a parachute which is dragged by a speed-boat was becoming more and more clear now! But whats this?? As soon as we stepped on the beach, we noticed that we were the only tourists on the best beach of Goa apart from a couple of scattered groups ‘trying’ to enjoy!!! This is not done. Where are the parachutes and speed-boats? Where are the surfer-boards?? Where are all the hotties we were chasing in our dreams since last 3 months??? Where are the foreigners who dont give a damn to the Indians staring at them???

There was a strange red cloth, almost torn, tied on a pole in the middle of the beach which was waving vigorously in the heavy rain. I came to know its significance only when the jeep of Life Guards passed by us announcing that there was a threat of cyclone and no one was allowed to enter the sea!! All plans went in vain. The shit had hit the fan!! No paragliding, no speed-boating, no banana-riding, no surfing and most important of all… no window shopping!! I mean can you imagine that you find an empty beach in Goa at 11AM?? We were all devastated and the heavy rain was almost tearing out our skins. We decided to take shelter under the small house of Life Guards which resembled with the house of Bay-Watch, the only difference was that there was no sexy guard in this one!!

Now was the strategy time. We couldn’t afford to waste the most planned holiday of our life just because the sea had decided to wear a cyclone and the rain didnt stop pissing. We had burnt the as*es of our friends who couldn’t join us with imaginative stories of what ways we will be enjoying in Goa and this was definitely the opposite of what we told them. Also we required proof of the masti we had had in Goa in form of pictures, or else they’ll eat us alive. At the same time, we also didnt want to underestimate the mother nature and we all knew equally that one huge tide and we all will vanish like the smoke in air!! So we decided to go out once the rain stops a bit and have fun in the waves. Fortunately, the rain halted somewhat with sprinkles still on and we went ahead and started playing like Calangute, the best beach of Goa, was our personal beach. We had some snaps there and again the rain woke up from the small nap and started showering. It was worse this time and we took shelter in a hut which was selling hot masala tea on the beach. This was much needed!!

As we were ‘trying’ to dry ourselves, we suddenly saw our dreams becoming reality, when a very attractive girl, with really long legs and with the smallest micro mini I have ever seen, with a really ‘deep’ top and long flowing hair, a mermaid like girl came running towards our hut and started drying her hair like a bollywood item girl under the waterfall in white saree!! All the mishappenings were suddenly wiped from our brains and our mouths were hanging such that a whole bottle could be inserted inside with the space left for a straw!! As we were staring at her shamelessly, a really huge hunk came to the hut. We didnt want to look at him and also didnt want to lose the rare opportunity of the only possible window shopping we would have on the beach of Goa, when we came to know that he was actually her boyfriend and they both started smoking and boozing in front of us, making us feel ashamed of the fact that we had the company of the people of ‘same sex’!!

After having a huge setback at Calangute and once the rain again stopped, we started walking towards Bagha beach which is connected with Calangute with the same shore and which was almost 4 Kms away. On that beach, there was some public, but none of them was applicable for us. There were kids, families with fat aunties whose clothes stuck to their ugly tummies and youngsters like us who were also searching for some ‘water in the desert’!! Now we decided that leave the girls. It is all moh-maaya!! We shall enjoy like these are all our private beaches and started playing in the waters. We had the best time of our life and took some really funny snaps there. We didnt realize that we spent almost 3 hours over there and had to reach back to hotel since there wont be any conveyance after 8.30. Some of us were still hopeful and wanted to go back to Calangute just to verify if some squirrels had come out after the rain had stopped. So we again walked back to Calangute, just to find the empty beach again!

There was no point in staying back and we decided to leave the place. Now we wanted to go to Panjim and book a ticket for the tour of South Goa and a cruise ride in the evening for the next day. We caught the very next bus to Panjim which again took 45 minutes and booked the tickets. Now we had to go back to hotel and also we had to take dinner.

Some of the faces were naturally gloomy since we didnt have the fun we decided but we were also happy that we got the rare empty beaches in Goa and had the fun of our life-time. Being a dry day, the boozers were disappointed that they’ll have to remain content with only non-veg tonight. We reached the hotel, had shower and again started for the agonizing 2 Km walk till the main road for dinner. We requested the receptionist to give his torch since it was really dark outside and without any street lights, any car could smash us at any blind turning on the kuchcha road. He refused bluntly saying that the battery was needed at the hotel. I also said that if you give it to us just for an hour, it might save our lives, but the words fell on deaf ears and he again started staring at the doors of the hotel from which no one will enter. We couldn’t even leave the hotel because we had paid in advance and if we had left, the whole money was gone. So we went to the main road and had dinner at the same place where we ate yesterday. Came back and fell asleep at once because we were tired after all the struggle of the long day and we didn’t want the same to be repeated tomorrow.

‘The South Goa Tour and the Cruise will compensate for the fun we missed today and we will enjoy to the maximum tomorrow’, we promised ourselves while going to bed. What optimism!!

To be continued…

Mission Goa Part – 1

Jaane kya hoga raama re!!

From Left to Right: Prashant, Vatsal, Shailesh, Yogesh and an uncle who was stuck with us!! Photo by: Amit

It starts with..

One thing I dont know why

It doesn’t even matter how hard you try..

It applies to us completely. We roomies had been planning to go to Goa from past one year. We ended up booking the tickets in this September when we got the approval from all those who managed to take a leave from their office, but the most enthusiastic fellow, Nisarg, couldn’t commit for this because he was posted to Gurgaon at that time. And when we were starting for Goa this wednesday evening, he was the most gloomy face because he is back in Hyderabad as he has got a splendind opportunity in HSBC. But while leaving, all of 5 of us promised him that we will have fun of his part also (like hindi movie..”Maa.. main tera badla le kar rahunga… kutte… kamineyyy..” 😀 )

As being software engineers, it is a very bad habit we get is to book everything in advance and that too we prefer everything to be done online. The same we applied when we went to book the hotel for Goa and the royal screwing started at that moment itself. Let me tell you one thing. If possible, please book the tickets once you visit the hotel and do not prefer online booking since mostly you end up paying more than what what you would normally pay. We saw a good hotel with very cheap price available and called up the portal’s customer care to book the hotel. There they told us that we were getting AC room in a 3 star hotel for 3 persons for only 800 Rs. As soon as we heard this, we were all ga-ga over this offer and none of us wanted to loose such an opportunity. We told them to book 2 rooms, 3 persons in 1st and 2 in 2nd room. They  said we can book only 1 room at a time. So we thought that if a room for 3 costs 800 then obviously the 2nd room should cast us much less and we went ahead and booked the 1st room for 3 days, with a choona of 2400 Rs on the credit card. After that, when we asked for the 2nd room, they said it will cost us 1400 Rs per day for 2 persons. We were shocked. We asked why they suddenly changed the rates, and we got the answer that this was the last room of the hotel and they have raised the price, we cant do anything. After arguing for another 10 minutes, we were left with no option than paying for the 2nd room and ended up paying 5000 Rs over all. ‘Never mind’, we told ourselves, ‘the fun, masti and maza of Goa is worth all this’. And we all slept with dreams of Goan ‘beauties’ ;).

The journey to Goa was really fun, watching Doodh Sagar falls from train is a treat to eyes. The real fun started when we reached Margao. We figured that our hotel was 60 Kms away from the railway station and no taxi would take less than 500 rs. Autos were asking even more than this. So we landed in a taxi with a chandan of 500 Rs on our fore-head. ‘Never mind’, we again told ourselves, ‘the fun, masti and maza of Goa is worth all this’, and we started enjoying the ride till hotel.

But whats this? The hotel was almost 2 Kms inside the main road with only one kachchi sadak going till the hotel and no lights on either side of it. Not only the hotel was in interior part, but also we found that we were the only guests in the hotel (remember ‘this was the last room of the hotel and they have raised the price, we cant do anything’???.. so you can guess who raised the price at the right time to cover the marvellous discount we enjoyed while booking the first room 😉 ). The receptionist was a 70 year old man resembling more with the watchman of Ramsey Brother’s films protecting haunted Hawelis. We actually thought that he will jump off from his seat and warn us to leave this cursed place or else all of us will get killed!!

The swimming pool of the hotel was looking like it hasn’t been cleaned for months and the staff must have stopped using the toilets due to proximity of the pool 😉 . The rooms were real tacky and smelly and we had to change the room because the room given to us didnt have even one charging point working. You cant imagine that a 3 star hotel doesn’t have intercom facility to call room service and we had to go to receptionist for every single problem.

Rain was not stopping since we put our first step in Goa and all these difficulties were eating our brains out. ‘Never mind’, we again told ourselves, ‘the fun, masti and maza of Goa is worth all this’. Since the hotel was really interior, it was raining cats and dogs and we had reached there almost at 7pm, we decided to drop the plan to go anywhere in the first night. We thought we’ll have dinner and sleep early to wake up early the next day to cover up the excitement we would be missing today. So we took the agonizing walk from the hotel till the main road to find a decent hotel since our hotel wouldn’t cook for only 5 guests. Now since I and Amit are pure Veg and Yogesh, Shailesh and Prashant didn’t want to have even smell of Veg once they entered Goa, we had to find a perfect combination where both Veg and Non Veg are available, with affordable price, with authentic taste and which all of us should like. After 1 hour and a walk of 3 kms back and forth, we agreed uplon going to one hotel which was looking decent. After the dinner, everybody was tired as well as bored of all the dipressing events and wanted to sleep as early as possible.

Before going to bed, we all took an oath that this will the first and only day in Goa which sucked and going forward, we’ll have such fun which none of our friends had ever imagined and we shall burn their as*es to the bleakest possible point. And we went in bed, thinking again, ‘Never mind, the fun, masti and maza of Goa is worth all this’!!!

To be continued…