At dawn, the Dolphin Cruise beckoned us as we got into life jackets, along with two other couples, on a boat with two crew members. Picturesque trawlers dotted the horizon, and suddenly there they were, a family of dolphins that bobbed up, did their somersaults in perfect unison as we squealed in excitement, and then went under to reappear at a totally different spot. It was like a match at Wimbledon with all of us swivelling our heads every time they surfaced.
Breakfast done, we decided to leave our footprints on the sands and take a stroll along the beach, the sun beating down on our backs. The little waves lapped at our feet, as the larger breakers surged in, salt crystals on our lips, and every time the tide ran out, up would pop tiny shells, with glittery bits of mica diamonds, as hermit crabs scuttled away into temporary shelters. Just as I was about to pass out, we discovered a little beach shack. “Chilled drinks and magnificent fried prawns!” got rid of my exhaustion rather effectively. Alongside was another shack selling trinkets, bright T Shirts, shell necklaces, and a saleswoman who slashed costs when I spoke to her in Hindi.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa is as famous as butter chicken in Punjab. As I walked down the Francis Xavier aisle, my eyes turned as big as saucers. Talk of having a saint on every wall, and in such mint condition! The workmanship was superb, the flooring marble and the features divine. Blue and gold, a typically Christian combination, works beautifully adding to the glory of the creation. The magnificence within kept us all in a state of awe, a state that lasted even after we got out. “Cat got your tongue?” was what got me out of it!
That evening was an enchanted one. Even as we sat savouring prawns and fried rice at the Polynesian Hut, three gentlemen came up, strumming on their guitars, and serenaded us with the most romantic songs possible. The scent of the sea, the shimmering sands in the moonlight and the heady wine – and this was “Paradise enow”!
In our room we found a reminder of our silver anniversary - a luscious chocolate cake that the hotel had so kindly rustled up for us. And as we left the next morning, our luggage seemed unusually heavy, with many wonderful memories we had been burdened with, and the one solemn promise that we would be back one day!