Friday, April 25, 2008

No, I've not been to Goa!

Last week I was told by my boss that I have to attend a Sales and Marketing Convention orgnised by the company.... in Goa! I have never visited Goa, though I have been dying to go for ages, so this news had me staring at him, dumbfounded with happiness, shaking his hand, barely listening to him giving out other details of the convention... I WAS FINALLY GOING TO GOA! That too company paid travel and hotel stay! A Free Trip! Can something be better than this?

Well to tell you the truth, a lot has been better than this.

I was so excited last Thursday, packing my stuff, taking clothes and accessories 'one requires at the beach!' I told my family, and they were so happy for me. Told my best friends, and they were jealous! Bragged about it to Rohit also, who had gone for a similar business convention to Goa last year only, without me ofcourse. I was on the top of the world, and I was all gung-ho when I reached the station that night.

And that is when it started. I came to know that we were boarding an unscheduled train to Goa. Which means no water or food or facilities provided during the journey, which itself is unpredictable, as unscheduled trains have no fixed timings, since other trains are given priority at signals. We boarded, not sure when we will reach Goa.

We woke up early Friday morning when some vendors came in selling breakfast. We managed to eat something in the morning, after being hungry all night, barely surviving on the few bottles of water and packets of chips we managed to buy from some station. We arrived in Goa 2 hours late, and in the scorching heat, made our way to the hotel in a thankfully AC bus. When we reached the hotel, more disappointment was to follow.

The hotel was recently taken over, the staff was on strike. The rooms were unkempt and stuffy and smelly, the AC did not work in our room, the plumbing was disastrous, there was no water provided, and forget about the toiletries and snacks freebies. An unresponsive room service, and PATHETIC FOOD, ruined our afternoon. Tired from the long journey and unrelenting heat, we slept till evening, when we went out and roamed around on a boring and empty beach in one corner of south Goa, which might as well have been any beach in Mumbai... you would not know the difference. It just did not FEEL like Goa.

After a terrible dinner that night, we woke up early Saturday morning to a worst breakfast, and managed to start the convention by 9 am. While the presentations and activities planned were interesting and gave lots of learning, the experience was a disaster. 200 people crammed in a hall, where the ACs were not working, and for 8 hours, we sat there, breaking only for an unexciting lunch, in the sweltering heat with not even cold water available to drink. We could not be gladder when the convention ended, halfway through people had lost all interest thanks to the insufferable environment.

That evening was the only silver lining in the otherwise dark cloud, when the hotel had prepared some entertainment. We were all given sea shell necklaces and straw hats, a face painter and a music band provided some entertainment. We retired late after a forgettable dinner, and Sunday afternoon, we were chucked out without being given lunch. Hungry and hot, we reached the railway station only to realise the train has been delayed. We finally had food in the railway station restaurant, which actually served worse food than the hotel, which I did not think was possible. After forcing ourselves to eat to stay alive, we sat in the sweltering heat for 5 hours before the train arrived, and again ran around every stop, trying to buy dinner.

None of us could be happier when we reached home on Monday afternoon, tired and hot and hungry. It was one of the worst trips ever, be it the travel arrangements, the hotel facilities or the weather. I appreciate my colleagues from HR, they tried hard to make the trip work, but frankly none of us were sad to end the disastrous trip.

And thus, since i did not experience the fun, the sun, the sands, the festivities, the awesome hotels, the food, the firangis, the feni, the ferry rides, the booze, the markets, the water sports etc., just like everything they did in Dil Chahta Hai, I still consider myself as someone who has NEVER been to Goa. Better think this way, than have the worst trip be the memory of my first trip to Magical Goa! I hope I get to go to Goa soon, and have a completely different and truly memorable experience!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Last evening I found a huge horrible lizard in the loo, and ever since that discovery, I refused to go, until the maid came in the morning and confirmed the loo is lizard free. Although I locked up the slimy creature in the loo, I could hardly sleep all night for the fear it will somehow escape and run towards me! I got up in the middle of the night, shut every door and window to stop any lizards from coming. Not that an army was waiting to enter my room, but I always feel that all the lizards are out to get me whenever I see one.

I hate these reptilian monsters... Yeah you are damn right they are like monsters to me. Though you can make me watch as many Nat Geo series on reptiles, if I see one in front of me, I am either repulsed or scared out of my wits. God only knows why he made such creatures, like lizards and cockroaches and frogs. (I know there is a scientific reason for the existence of every creature, the food chain etc etc... as you know this is a rhetoric question, just a crib!)

Speaking of frogs, they are pretty harmless and not so ugly looking but they still freaked me out. At the IIMA campus, my room was next to a small bog which filled with water during monsoons, and as you can imagine, became a haven for these ribbitting creatures. Paro, my neighbour, would remember the umpteen number of times we girls living in the basement floor chucked out frogs out of our rooms. Rather Paro chucked them out for us. She was our knight in shining armour... rescuing us from the ambush of roaches and lizards and croaky toads, without a hint of fear on her face.

I must admit it was only after I started staying at my dorm in IIMA that I managed to be somehow tolerable of these creatures, especially lizards, who coexisted with us in our bedrroms and bathrooms peacefully. I am kinda intolerant of them now as I sleep on the floor, and I dream of these creatures crawling all over me. It has happened a few times with me at home. Whenever I sleep in my parents' room when guests are sleeping in mine, I sleep on the mattress on the floor, and invariably im woken up by a cockroach climbing up my leg.. Eeeeks!

Back at home I always had my doggie Tiffany, who loved to hunt those unfortunate lizards who dared to leave the security of high walls and crawl on the floors. I mean seriously, night or day, anytime you say "chhipkali" and Tiffany would rise and run around the house, scanning the walls for any sign of these disgusting things, and if she managed to find one on the floor, the poor thing was killed in a matter of seconds. Mind you my dog was very intelligent. She really understood the meaning of words. Like when u said chhipkali she looked at the walls, when you said chuha she scanned the floor's nooks and crannies, and when you said kabootar, she would look outside the window and scare them away with her barking! She also knew doggie, billi, bhains (she really hated buffalos, would bark her head off at them, but did not care much for cows... maybe she was racist?) But Tiffany was a brave dog. She killed more than half a dozen lizards, and more than a dozen mice in her lifetime. However there was only one skeleton in her closet - she used to get smacked by cats on her nose... even kittens. Cats were her nemesis, and no matter how much she pretended to scare them to impress us, we all knew in hearts of our hearts that Tiffany is no match for a cat. Any cat.

Anyway back to lizards... I dont know why I am scared of them so much. I guess it runs in my family. I remember, about 15 years or so ago, when all of us cousins used to visit grandparents in Calcutta. I remember that day when all my cousins and aunts were in his room, playing scrabble and chatting away at night, when suddenly my cousin shrieked... there was a lizard in the room! Everyone started to scramble, while we little kids all aged 6 and below, were quite unsure of what was happening. My elder sisters and aunts, all cowards, ran to the other corner of the room, huddled together, shivering with fear. And then, the heroine rose to the occasion. Rather she was forced to. They gave a a long jhaadu and made me stand on the corner of the bed next to the lizard and shoo it out of the room. Can you imagine? In a room full of adult women, a small 6 year old girl was shooing away the lizard!! I certainly felt important and brave that time, but not so much right now. I guess even I am turning into a scaredy cat when it comes to reptiles and insects. The only creatures I am not afraid of are ticks.. I used to search my doggie's coat for ticks all the time and they are teh only insects I have been able to hold and kill. Otherwise even the smallest of these things makes me cry out loud!

Anyway I think I have rambled on enough for this random post, will rush to get ready for office now, please pray for me that the lizard is not waiting for me in a corner in there, poised to attack me! Cuz of all the people in the world, I don't want to become lucky by having a lizard fall on my head or anywhere else for that matter!