Good times in Goa…
Sun, sea, sand, s** and more- and if that wasn’t enough, just the word GOA invokes images of good beaches, good food, good books+ , sometimes God too. For, if you happen to be the religious kind, it would not be hard to find prayer houses, churches and a host of others, tiny, or large, scattered all over the place, some so nondescript, that you will need to stare closely at what look like annexes to the building gates, but, on closer look, turn out to be little devout delights, built into the ubiquitous compound walls.
What you might see again, but not notice unless if you were particularly observant, is the dogs of Goa. Another sheer delight, and in all shapes and sizes, with one common characteristic, their friendly faces and wagging tails telling you that they are welcoming you, along with the locals, as a valued guest to Goa.
I usually thought that Cats were the creatures that populated the coastal areas, thanks to the abundance of fish, but Goa is different. And it has to be, right? It is so different from the rest of India with its relaxed beaches, its laid-back attitude, its Portuguese flavours. So what if coastal regions across India and globally ( Bali comes to mind) are thronged by cats? In Goa, dogs happen to be the mascots. Cute and friendly, and ever-wagging their tails, they are a touristy delight too.
This time, I met Speed, the Labrador who loves to read books- for he lives in the Literati bookshop ( which now stocks the recently released book -Ambling Indian ), and a large number of beach dogs who zealously guard their section of the beach, welcoming guests but shooing away cows bringing their unwelcome dung. What better way to keep the waters clean than to shoo away these creatures, who seem to love beach walks so much that they arrive in hordes every morning, but are so lacking in civic sense?
I met so many of them lolling around the various cafes and restaurants, and each one with their lovely smile- it was a delight for a dog lovers indeed.The icing on the cake was Tyson. The beach shack dog, a huge German shepherd with a great sense of humour (much like the Ambling Indian)- he loved to take a dip in the sea every now and then, and come out shaking his body violently, spraying everyone around with the salty mush. No offence meant, it was his good sense of humour at work! It was fun to see him lolling around on the beach, dunking in the sea, and generally having a good time. A great ambassador for Goa too, for who could resist the sea, having seen Tyson and his antics, making the best of it?
And so, this time, it was the Dogs of Goa that I discovered, and fell in love with. Another one of those hidden charms of the place that keep surfacing each time I visit.
On the topic of good books, don’t forget to take with you –the Ambling Indian when you go to Goa. Order on Amazon a week before, or on kindle instantly.
And if you happen to visit a small bookstore cum café called Literati in Calangute, you will find the book in the new releases section too.