Goa, with its sun-kissed beaches and green rural interiors, stole my heart on my first visit there in 2016. In early March 2020, my husband D and I travelled to Goa again. So immersive was our experience at the beach at Calangute (pronounced kal-an-GOOT) one evening that I impulsively penned a poem.
Little did I know that this would be my last excursion beyond the gates of my apartment complex for the next few months. A week after we returned home to Delhi, India went into a lockdown due to COVID-19 and the world changed for me and millions. I wonder if the ‘new normal’ that awaits us on the other side of this crisis can ever feature the same lively scenes I witnessed at Calangute. Meanwhile, I can still revel in my memories of that happy evening spent at Calangute before the tide rose. And I can almost smell the luscious scent of the sea that I drew into my soul mask-free.
Calangute Joyous screams at crashing waves. Glow rings worn at nightly raves. Beer mugs clink in celebration. Swimsuits cause much consternation. Shoes are lost to the rising tide. Shady tattoo salons abide. Skimpy wear prompts many stares. From yon beach shacks music blares. Cane chairs circle grimy tables. Fried prawns taste like vegetables. Foot massages to relax. A drunken swimmer's carried lax. Speedboats zip from sea to shore. Stray dogs wander, watch or snore. Parasailers speckle the sky. Lifeguards warn the tide is high. Sneaky louts snatch bags and run. The sky blushes at setting sun. Calm and excess, love and loot, All are found at Calangute.
Photographs taken March 2020, Goa
© Shreya Bhat 2020. All rights reserved.