Published: January 9th 2010December 18th 2009
love 'em or hate 'em, they are here to stay.
the cows in india, that is. who else?
the gods must have signed the title deed of india over to the cows because they behave as though they rule every street and corner of the bovine-fearing nation. they poo all over town. they stake claim on prime property at the busiest and least opportune of times. they are responsible for many a traffic congestion but point their hoofs at humans for producing too many auto-rickshaws/babies. they swat unsuspecting passersby with their tails for no rhyme or reason without even pretending to be apologetic about it.
"love us or hate us, we are here to stay. now, move out of the way!"
so mooed the spokescow of the cows for the unethical treatment of mankind in india (cutmi).
i admit i am not a bovine lover. they ain't pretty and they stink. i even stopped eating their kind many years ago. i prefer them on the beaches where there is more than enough space for the bovine and human races to co-exist without crossing each other's paths. besides, they add a uniquely indian flavour to your sunset
pictures. watch out though, some cows are known for their diva-esque temperament. you don't wanna get bitch-swatted by them for capturing their bad side.
jokes aside, cows in india do not lead a charmed life as we thought. they are actually very pitiful. many of them are filthy, grossly emaciated and their source of food is the garbage. so much for their 'sacred' status.
back to goa. "one month of travel can be very trying in a country like india," an indian businessman said to me on the train about a week into my sojourn. i thought nothing of it at that time. although not a complete stranger to the indian culture, i was fascinated by the real india to be too bothered by hiccups here and there.
another week had passed. what used to intrigue fast became mundane chores i had to deal with on a daily basis. my nerves were frayed and temper flared too easily. i knew i needed a break. i needed a beach holiday. anywhere cheap and convenient would do. hell, i would settle for a sandbox and a puddle of salt water if i had to. lucky for me, goa was
just around the corner.
i did not expect too much of goan beaches. they cannot compete with the white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters that are ubiquitous in southeast asia. that i already knew. expectations were further brought to a new low each time a jaded old-timer mourned the passing of the good ol' goa. haven't we all heard that one umpteen times before? somehow, we are always twenty years too late to discover the real [insert your next destination]. but i confess i was a bit concerned when i heard about the littering and the eroding beaches.
my worries were unfounded. i do not know about the rest, but palolem beach was pretty (and clean) enough for me. the sight of waving palm trees towering over the endless row of colourful beach huts and restaurants that lined the crescent shaped beach never grew old.
i was saying earlier how badly i needed to get away from india. not literally, of course. chilling at somewhere 'un-indian' [insert quizzical smiley] for a week or two and doing normal, routine stuff as one would at home was the much-needed remedy to preserve my sanity. routine may sound like
a bad word to many, but never was i happier to have it in my life. and i took great comfort in knowing that i was not alone in trying to cope with the insanity that is india. during my early morning run on the beach, i came across many familiar faces all doing what they were doing the day before at the same time, at the exact same spot. there might be even a regular support group meeting. enquire at your nearest beach shack. "hello, i am galacticnick. i was only this close to ripping off the throat of the auto-wallah who drove me here."
what the rest of goa is like, i am afraid i do not have a clue. patnem beach, just a few hundred metres south, was the furthest i ventured beyond the confines of palolem. i do not remember much of that week either, except just a lot of lazing on the beach, watching glorious sunsets and yes, 'holy' cows.
next and final stop, delhi.
There are more photos below