Stories, photographs and thoughts from a travelling couple taking walks and mapping their routes, while backpacking around India, and parts of the world.
You know how time just slows down sometimes? Stretching with an unimaginable elasticity all the way to edge of the universe. Each second magnified to the power of infinity to contain a whole world in itself. Each hyper-aware, vivid second that seem to have slipped into a siesta, or escaped into a dark cave to hibernate, before it lazily wakes up and decides to crawl past you, languorously. Before the next second comes by, to unravel its never-ending stories. And you feel like you've witnessed the birth and death of the cosmos, in the span of just a few moments.
I experience this intense warping of time every time we head out to explore the villages around where we live. Goan villages have this way of trapping you in a dimension where time meets space in a completely different fashion. At least, very different from everything I've ever known as an urban-bred soul, who has never lived anywhere but in a big city. It took me years of travelling and discovering life outside Hyderabad to realize that everything you were taught about life and how it should be lived, directly goes against every natural law of existence. We were taught to alwaysbeinahurryneverstopbethefirstbeeverywherebutinthenow. Not that I ever subscribed to that way of life. Maybe, that's why I didn't quite fit in always. I would keep escaping into a slower world that my mind made for just me, with the help of all the books I read and my own imagination. But now, at this time in my life, the space I live in finally matches how I really feel inside.
Slow living — that's what they are calling this new lifestyle fad, endorsed by wellness gurus the world over right now. Slow breathing. Slow cooking. Slow yoga. Slow sipping on slowly-blended concoctions made of organic flaxseed, kale, chia seed or whatever is the hippest superfood right now. OK, I digress. What I am trying to say is that in Goan villages, slow living is just an regular, everyday state of being.
Every time, we ride or drive through a new village, with no particular purpose, but to explore it, I feel like we are transported back in time. Some of these villages look like they are still stuck somewhere in the 80s or 90s or at least, what I imagine those times looked like. There may be 24-hour electricity now (good), a permeation of smartphones (not sure how good) and cable television (absolutely pointless), but the way their time moves is just worth experiencing.
One evening, as we drove towards the Amona Bridge, which is a couple of kilometres from home, we decided to ride around on some unexplored roads around the Amona village and found ourselves in such a quaint little place. Pardon me, if I sound like I'm romanticizing a village life in a typical way that only the privileged tend to do… that's not my intention. But a beautiful riverside village on a lovely evening is truly a quaint sight.
Fishing boats bob on perfectly still river that reflects the puffy clouds like something out of a dream. Hundreds of birds swoop in and out of the river, the lucky ones with a fish in the mouth. A local lady running a very simple home-run restaurant, preps the day's catch. Old men sit around the local cafe, to chat about the day's happening. Little kids run around the small alleys as the evening gets darker, squealing louder and louder as if to make the most of the last few precious moments before they get called back home. A friendly canine follows us around curiously. An old man slowly brews tea for us in his old, old cafe that seems to have been in the same place since the beginning of time. There's an unhurried quality to every single movement.
And we watch. The seconds stretching into a lifetime as we soak it all in. Slowly, quietly, not daring to disturb the fabric of this universe that seems to have welcomed us wordlessly. And somehow, that one evening, became a whole eternity.