December 18 2016

A Bowl of Sole Curry and a Platter of Fish

After spending most of my life in a big city like Delhi, moving to Goa in the middle of hot summer was very difficult for me and my family. We were used to high temperatures but nothing could have prepared us for the soaring temperatures and the humidity in Goa. The excitement of the move to the home of my forefathers was dampened by my memories of Delhi. I disliked the feeling of sweat dripping from my forehead and I soon took to avoiding the kitchen altogether. My husband and son seemed more accommodating of the change in place. They took to wearing shorts and osho’s like they had been born in them while I looked longingly at my jhooti’s. They seemed like me, out of place in their surroundings. They weren’t made to walk in sand. I felt overwhelmed by the changes.

I missed a lot of things about Delhi, the feeling of solid earth below my feet, the dry weather, the khao gallies, the shopping sprees, the beautiful manicured gardens but most of all; I missed my best friend Diva. Diva was the person on whom I depended a lot, when we bid out last goodbye we wept like high school friends forgetting we were women in our late thirties with children. While she promised to write and email, I promised her that Goa wasn’t Timbuktu after all and I would visit her at least once in a couple of years.

The first few months in Goa, my laptop was my best friend. Hearing from Diva helped me keep my sanity in a world full of change. It wasn’t the same thing as speaking to her everyday but it was the best we could do. I missed our shopping’s, our discussions on our children and husbands and I missed having the personal counselor.

And then there were none of our lunch parties which I missed the most. Since were both were married to vegetarians, our kitchens were strictly vegetarian. Diva and I had found this nice little place called ‘simply fish’ that served varieties of wonderful fish. It was not just the fish; we went there for the sole curry too. It was something we tasted for the first time at ‘simply fish’ and after that we were addicted to it. We loved the ambiance of the place. It was laid back, and no one bothered you once they had laden your table with food. We spent precious moments laughing and discussing our dreams over bowls of sole curry and platters of fish. It was as if the rest of the world just ceased to exist during those few hours.

The monsoons hits Goa and I was glad for the respite from the heat but the humidity, it just would not go away. Still the sound of the rain was soothing and I felt I just had to give Goa a shot. One day when my son had left for the school and husband was at work, I decided to set about seeing Goa. Equipped with a map, I set about looking for a temple to worship at. All roads looked the same. On either side there were large expanses of sand. One hour into my search I felt frustrated, confused and lost. I had passed 5 churches in a radius of 7 kilometres but the temple alluded me. And then to make matters worse it began to pour in. my umbrella seemed insignificant against the wind and the Goan downpour and I stood on the road feeling totally spent. Tears the size of raindrops threatened to slide down my face and before I could succumb to the urge, someone materialized out of thin air and pushed me under a roof. I found myself standing under the awning of a beach resort.

I wiped my eyes and went inside. A cup of tea was just what I needed badly. I motioned to the waiter to get me a cup. He gave me a native grin and gestured to the menu. They did not serve tea. It seemed like the last straw and then my eyes spotted something else – ‘sole curry’. Quickly I scanned the rest of the menu. There was only fish, fish and some more fish. I ordered 2 bowls of sole curry and a platter of fried fish. It felt silly and wonderful at the same time. Suddenly Goa did not seem bad at all. For the first time since I arrived I felt that I could perhaps learn to think of this place as my home. My lips smiled of their own volition, and I started to make plans. I could make new friends and bring them to this place. I could sit down here and read my books enjoying sole curry while listening to the gentle sound of the waves. When Diva came to visit we could come up here and together toast our friendship, a friendship that would survive the miles. I lifted my bowl in a silent toast to my dear friend Diva. I could not care less that it was a silly thing to do. I toasted the nice little resort that had served me lunch. It had taken just two bowls of sole curry and a platter of fish to lessen my pain and strengthen my resolve.

“I am writing as part of the #Storytellers competition by The Gud1”.

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