Thursday, January 14, 2016

Of friends, holidays and foot massages

Readers of this blog know that I never leave my house unless necessary, definitely haven't left town on my own outside of work (which is once in the last 6 years) and have never done holidays or things for entertainment without K. Not that the opportunities did not exist, or that he or I prohibited it, they just did not happen. Then 4 years ago we got Sage, for the first one year I was stuck to the house caring for a high maintenance puppy, later he turned epileptic and to cut a long story short, I've never left the house for more than 4 hours at a stretch in all of this time.

Each time my friend N comes to India we think of a girls holiday, twice we cancelled, it has been a sore point. My namesake moved to Singapore, had one baby and then another and all this while I haven't been able to see her in that country because, well, read above.

Sometimes I look at the lives of other women my age and how they take off, some of them often, some very rarely, but take off they do on holidays.... they cross the city, the state, sometimes the country to spend time as just themselves, sans their other roles, with friends, family or people they've just met and I sigh, sometimes too loudly.

So what started as a random statement on our school girls whatsapp group, finally took shape. A friend was going to be in India for a few weeks, and we thought it was a good time to take a trip somewhere. Amidst hysterical fits and madcap texting, spread over 2 months, most of the time it looked like "its a great plan and it wont materialize". I never mentioned anything to K because I know for me it is impossible to make any such plans with Sage's condition. I haven't been able to go anywhere "for fun" guiltlessly, leave alone making an overnight trip.

Anyway, last month, I randomly told K that the girls were wanting to do a weekend trip and had asked me, and he just as casually said to me "go, I will take care of Sage". I will admit that I booked my flight tickets a bit too quickly after that statement.

Plans were made, we chose Goa (duh) and picked a decent hotel in the middle of absolutely commercial Baga, to ensure there would be ample entertainment options and we didn't have to spend half the day commuting from one end to another. 

I was giddy on the day I had to leave, with excitement and guilt. Sage realised I was going someplace without him and he was not very happy. 

My friend S who's a doctor in the USA and I went a day ahead of P who works in finance in bangalore. We had some weird flight schedule which meant we would barely spend 22 hours in goa, so we chose to go a day earlier. P joined us on saturday morning. 

Friday was hot and sweaty as we landed, we checked in to our nicely rustic (and overpriced) hotel and took a walk to have lunch. Satiated, we headed to the stores, stopping at almost every one of them to pick up something. I had to literally peel S off from a few shacks to walk ahead. 

We walked some more, got a fish pedicure, walked along the sandy and crowded beach shacks trying to spot some good ones and then headed back in the dark through some really scary narrow and stinking alleys when I almost broke my ankle when I tripped!

Back in the hotel, showered and dressed up to enjoy the evening out. The place we stayed at has a live band playing on fridays and it suited us fine to just hang out there. We drank (a lot!), ate some really good food and caught up, all the while I couldn't believe I was alone and away on a holiday. The thing about goa is that it can be midnight and one can still quite safely walk around the shacks, we went to the beach which was rowdy and loud and resembled one big party with all the lights and people and vendors. Its a different kind of goa from what I have been used to the last few years. But it was one that was a welcome change for a weekend break. We sat at a shack and drank some more! then got back home to sleep. 

I woke up at the crack of dawn, with barely 4 hours of sleep and yet I was happy to have a morning of solitude. Two cups of self made hotel kettle tea later I realised I was too anxious not to call home. I spoke to K, mom and mil, imagine how much I missed them! All of them including K told me to calm down and have fun and not call back so often. 

P arrived around 9 which was when S woke up and we ambled along for breakfast, catching up on 25 years, filling in each other with details of life and such stuff. It was fun to talk of rubbish boys in class and needless heartaches, of lecherous PT teachers and crazy tuition teachers. The rest of the day went by in a haze, gifts were given (by them, I went empty handed - chee), we bathed and dressed and headed to the beach after atleast 10 stops at random stalls to buy (I already have too much of this stuff was the refrain) stuff, we had a couple of drinks on the beach bed and headed back. S and I wanted to have a fish thali and the girls were spoilt sports only in one thing, they didn't know to drive / ride a bike so all my plans (armed with sunscreen) to hire scooters and drive around were thwarted. We had a real epic fish thali and then headed back to rest. 

We got out again in the evening and headed out to Thalassa where we spent a major part of the evening, enjoying the amazing white wine Sangrias, the food and the vibe. One genuinely hot guy did a shirt open (non) dance and we squealed with delight! When we wound up from here, we headed to the night market, which turned out to be a big disappointment, we then went to a couple of clubs before finally heading back to sleep past 3 AM. We did a conference call with our other girl friends and squealed through it completely incomprehensible. I don't remember when I finally fell asleep. 

I was up again by 6 AM and decided I didn't want to toss and turn in bed waiting for everyone else to wake up. I headed out to the beach and walked up and down before finally settling for a beach bed. The friendly guys who rent them out are also masseurs on the cheap and I had a glorious foot massage. All that walking deeply appreciated the rubbing and pressing and though I was a little squeamish about a strange guy pressing my legs without the privacy of a pedicure tub, I finally calmed down and just enjoyed it.

To me this trip was much more than hanging out with school friends. It was just being able to finally pack a bag and leave home. To be able to deal with the guilt of leaving Sage bewildered, but I just had to do it. I think this is what they call 'Mommy guilt' only, in my case, since I feel it for a dog, it is way more weird.

When I got back home on sunday evening, I was grateful for the strengthened friendships, that I was able to comfortably negotiate a holiday with very different people and not have a bad moment, but most of all for the peace and quiet of just being with myself. 

No comments: