Thursday, 31 May 2018

Gorai calling




-Brian Mendonça

Gorai was always on the backburner when we were in Mumbai.  I was also nostalgic that my brother-in-law in Mumbai had offered to take us there -- but he reached the pearly gates before that.

So, last weekend in May we decided to just get up and go.  We were in Kharghar.  Borivali West was 68 kms. away.  However, all the three nieces – my brother-in-law’s children – were free that Saturday.

We ditched the harbour line train service and took an Uber right up to B. Henriques Beach Resort, Gorai beach (via Bhayander). Farrys  Resort, which had a swimming pool – was full.

An attendant was sent to receive us.  As we walked behind him, the East Indian locals were murmuring, ‘High tide.’ The guide led us virtually into the mouth of the sea. There were shrieks of delight all around. We carefully made our way atop the steps nearby and clambered on to the resort property. The waves were licking the wall of the resort. The vast infinity of the sea lay in the background.

We kept our things at the quaint cottage which was our accommodation for the night. Seated on a stone table which seemed from Stonehenge, we strummed Konkani dulpods on the guitar.

Lunch comprised of Bombay ducks, fried fish (Mandeli), fish curry, rice, dal and salad. A stray cat and dog were pestering us for some scraps of food. The food was served on a raised platform, like an observation deck, which looked out on to the sea. In the distance we saw the boats bringing in their catch. As they neared land, they jettisoned their sacks of fish overboard. The boats then turned back to sea. They seemed to be avoiding something near the land.
After lunch we sipped port wine and played Rummy.

Around 5 p.m. the tide started receding. What emerged was a long strip of land like an arrow jutting out into the sea. This was what the boats were avoiding.

The idyllic afternoon gave way to the insistencies of the evening.  Car after car came onto the seashore and parked near the handcart sellers who had descended there as well. Fisherwomen sold fresh fish.

It was time for a swim. We played with the gentle waves and watched the sun ebb to rest surrounded in a haze in the distance. One of us was moved to write a poem. The elaichi chai was very good.

On the way back after dinner I enquired about the refuse left on the sea shore by the evening’s indulgences.  ‘The high tide will come and take it,’ I was told.

As we headed back next morning to civilization, a group of boys were still playing beach football with abandon.

This year the East Indian Mahotsav 2018 was held at the shrine of Our Lady of Vailankanni at Uttan (9 kms. from Gorai) on 22 May 2018. The Mahotsav is a rallying point for East Indians and for those who have lost their ancestral lands here for infrastructural projects.
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Published in Gomantak Times, Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday, 27 May 2018. Pix of us taken at the waterfront, Henriques Beach Resort, Gorai on Saturday, 19 May 2019.

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