Goa in the rains

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It was my first Goa trip back in the year 2012, and a much anticipated one all because of the rains. We boarded the train and then soon I was greeted by lush green fields and hills as my window view while I read my Ruskin Bond book. There were lots of waterfalls, streams and tunnels that made my ride a dreamy one. Although I did start to feel a bit uncomfortable in my chair but the views didn’t let me care more.

We had booked a room at the beautiful Turiya – a boutique villa in South Goa. And when we made an entry, I was already getting into a calm zone, thanks to the fragrant incense sticks and candles everywhere. I was a bit disappointed to know that the bathroom was not attached to our room. But as it was an off-season, and there were no guests, I knew the space was all ours! I was pleasantly surprised to see the bath area and could see the designer touch that the owner Sandesh Prabhu had given to it. The open-air corner with a huge stone tub-like structure looked stunning, if not less. We had four days to be spent here and now I was thrilled!

The food came next and Sandesh’s sister and the caretaker, Tukaram, made us a delicious yet homely meal. I was already in heaven. The reading area or the patio with the drizzling rain in the open garden looked inviting, and we were already in a zen-like mood. The afternoon tea and snacks that we had made me totally forget about the long train ride.

I and my husband next hired a two-wheeler and I took the plunge to drive it. We visited the nearby beach, which was big enough, but as it was rainy season, we couldn’t really walk on the beach for long. It was getting a bit windy, and the tides were getting a bit high, which is why people didn’t allow us to go near the waves. But I have no regrets because what waited for us next was breathtaking!

We started driving around the area and discovered tiny yet clean beach corners with no one around. We parked our two-wheeler on the road many a time and kept walking in the bushes; and after getting welcomed by a secluded beach corner with a few wooden logs kept near the shore, it felt like a reward. Stopping on one of those tiny river bridges and laughing away without reason made me forget all the frustrations that the city life gave me.

One of the days, we drove a lot, so much so that there came a peak point where it was getting difficult to drive the two-wheeler, given the hilly road. We were heading to North Goa, I suppose. Luckily, I happened to look back and there we saw the coastal curve adorned with coconut palms and rocks. My metallic digital camera couldn’t capture the entire coastal range; it was that huge, the view. We just stopped the wheels and adored the view for as long as we could.

Sometimes, we used to park our vehicle to see young boys play football in lush fields in the rains. Those little pauses here and there were filled with empty noise but I totally loved the experience as I was busy soaking the greenery. And you know what, there were no irritating bikers around us that one usually finds during peak season. South Goa was lazy and tranquil at the same time. Soon came our last evening at the villa and I decided to go for a spa session at Turiya’s in-house spa. And that was like a cherry on the cake!

During the nights, we had the old Goan villa for us alone, with Tukaram somewhere in the kitchen area. And that was another experience altogether. While during the days, it was lovely to curl up with a book on a rocking chair in one of the balconies and watching people walk up the road or cats cross walls. And the yum and homely meals made it even better for us.

The neighbourhood seemed to be in sync with the weather with laziness in the air. We didn’t party with loud music or soaked the sun on the beach. But, what’s a relaxing holiday anyway? This was it.

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While going back to the station, we hired a cab and visited a beautiful church; I was almost out of words to see the grey sky in the backdrop. There was another secluded church that we found around the place; after climbing up the stairs, we could see the river Mandovi from afar. Ah, those early marriage days of mine when I giggled away looking at secret corners; after seven years now, I don’t think I would have been the same me. Just a thought.

A good thing about us as a couple is that we don’t take those mobile apps seriously. I mean, we don’t let five-star reviews run our trip. We can easily slow down and spend our holiday days simply without any to-do list. That’s something I have got from my husband; because only then you can face little adventures and your trip becomes even more memorable. I went to South Goa in July 2012; and I definitely want to relive those tranquil days if given a chance.

A hint of bitterness

Fenugreek seed is one of the superfoods in an Indian pantry. As a kid, however, and even today as a grown up 30-year-old, I haven’t developed much liking for it. And so, most of the times, I just remove it aside in my plate when I see it in my curry or Kadi (made with buttermilk). The elders in my family, however, love fenugreek seeds (methi or मेठी as we call). My dad used to try feeding me Methi ki Kadi–that my mum makes especially for him–ever since my childhood days, but I always ran away when he brought a big morsel towards my face.

With age, however, I have started liking the flavour it gives to the Kadi or any other dish, but there’s still a long way to go. Yesterday, my mum made Methi ki Kadi with a side dish called Methi ki Launji (or loon-jee). It’s extremely healthy as it keeps digestion in check and controls inflammation. But there’s more to it. Methi ki Launji is both sweet and tangy in taste, and has a hint of bitterness to it; at least I feel so, unlike my dad. The raisins in it add a soft element to the dish, and it surely gives you a break from the regular vegetable recipes.

Recipe: Methi ki Launji

Ingredients:

3/4 cup – fenugreek seeds, salt to taste, oil for tempering, 1/4 cup – raisins (soaked for half an hour), 1.5 tsp coriander powder, 3/4 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp mango powder, a pinch of cumin seeds and asafoetida.

Method:

Boil the fenugreek seeds (my mum simply boiled it for 20 minutes); once done, strain it and keep it aside. Now take a kadai (skillet), add oil (according to your preference), and let it heat up a bit. Add the asafoetida, cumin seeds, turmeric powder and quickly add the boiled fenugreek seeds and the raisins. Now add all the other spices, salt and sugar. Let the fenugreek seeds soak in the spices for about five minutes and switch off the flame. Serve it with a parantha or roti.

I think when I start eating Methi ki Kadi and Methi ki Launji wholeheartedly, my dad would surely be proud of me. For this, according to him, is the good stuff! Make this and tell me how you like it.