I was in the sixth semester of my college in Goa. The exams just got over and it was the morning of a holiday.
The alarm goes off, and I feel terrible. I am yet to throw the week of exams, and sleepless nights out of my mind. I amble down the road, towards the closest eatery for breakfast. “You made a few silly mistakes, Mayank. I checked your answers today”, my professor says sipping at a cup of coffee in the counter. I am already feeling dejected. I finish my breakfast along with speaking to my professor. Horrible day.
So I get to my room and call my friend, “Bro we need to go out for a day at beach. I want to get over the exams”. And in no time we are outside the gate of our college, only to discover today is the public transport strike. No public transport bus and of course no taxi. I gotta tell you going back to the hostel room was not even in the list of options. I bring up the thumb and start looking for a lift.
It is already 10 minutes and no one has stopped for us. Suddenly, a car crosses me and stops far away. The driver drives in reverse gear for 15 seconds before stopping in front of me. “Where do you guys wanna go?” says the flamboyant Goan, sitting in the driving seat of the car. He is wearing a hat, listening to jazz, and apparently enjoying the drive. The closest depiction of him is this picture.
“We are looking for a ride to Bogmalo beach, sir” my friend says. The stranger, with the gleaming eyes welcomes us, “Haha sure my car is empty and all yours. Get yourself comfortable in the car boys”. We get in the car as he volumes up the jazz music.
Stranger : (screaming) Do you like the jazz?
Me : Definitely sir the music suits the summer ride.
Stranger : So you both study at this college(pointing to my college building).
Friend : Yes sir. We both are third year students.
Stranger : Oh? you guys 3rd year students in an engineering college. This reminds me of my college days. I used to study in an engineering college in Bombay. (He volumes down the music) And the interesting thing is I dropped out of my college in the third year.
Me : You dropped out of the college?
Stranger : Haha you look surprised. I studied in a local Bombay college. In my third year, planned a trip to Goa. You won’t believe, when I visited Goa, I never went back to Bombay to finish my college. Am so attached to this place.
(I took a few seconds to interpret what he said just now)
Me : You came here for a visit and stayed forever? (I was unable to control my laughter) How about your living?
Stranger : Yes. Isn’t it funny? Actually I struggled a few years to set up my own business here in Goa. But after it was setup, I never regretted my decision.
Me : Wow that is amazing. How is your business going?
Stranger : You know people make millions and billions. My company pays me just enough to survive. I believe the amount of happiness and satisfaction the Goa beaches and jazz music has given to me can not be bought with loads and loads of money.
Friend : Your idea of life is very different. It takes courage to drop out of college and build the dream world of yours.
Stranger : Yes it does. But the idea of one day living a smooth life in Goa, away from all the hustle of materialistic world kept me going. And here we are.
(We reach the Bogmalo beach)
I get out of the car thanking the stranger, adjusting my bag, as he drives away. And then I look back at the car heading away, thinking about the magical ride to the beach. But the interesting thing is after a while, I’m starting to get kind of fired up. All those negative thoughts and the bad vibes of examinations start drifting away.
Suddenly, my off day becomes one of the best holidays ever. However, I am still pondering, “How can someone never go back to his college from a vacation?”