So, we asked each other what would it take to build such monuments again. The loan repaying, middle class mindsets that pervade us, forgot everything else. Like art, architecture, class etc and echoed in unison : ‘larger EMI’ !
The Church of St.Francis of Assisi was built in 1661 ! Whew ! To see it stand in so much splendour till date is a wonder in itself.
Somewhere in Chiplun, we refilled. The petrol station was right on the NH 17. It only made sense for us to glide in to quench the thirst of an overworked engine. Just after we tanked up, i noticed that ‘Petroleum’ was adulterated. I mean an ‘i’ instead of an ‘e’ !
We laughed about it ! Talked about it. About how callous marketers could be and how all of this could affect brand image etc ! And how such folks would get promoted year after year & Parkinsons Law & so on. ( What do you do when you have four adults packed into a car for many hours. Yap ! )
After a 100 kms or so, the car started giving us trouble. The smooth ride went gradually missing & it was becoming difficult to climb heights effortlessly. But we kept going ! We realised we couldnt continue that way for long.
As we were entering Goa we spotted a Hyundai Dealership : Alcon Hyundai. It was well past 6.00 PM and they were downing shutters. The service manager heard our problem and cryptically said ‘adulaterated petrol. A common problem on the highway’ ! ‘Livid’ took a new dimension in us.
In a brief while, a diagnostic instrument was used and bingo : it pointed out to a particular problem.
I recalled times when the street corner mechanic used to climb on all sides and tell you that a or b or c or d or e could be wrong ! The Hyundai folks stretched & four mechanics (lead by Sudhir Naik) worked on the car. An hour later the car was fit as a fiddle. We were quite impressed !
Stretching beyond time and doing all that they could was indeed wonderful to experience. After all the bad service that i have been experiencing, this was a revelation of sorts !
The locals told us that there was a Friday market at Mapusa. With images of villagers selling their konkani / Goan ware beckoning us we went ! And it indeed was a colourful sight. Far from being a village fair, you could get anything from Balloons to jewellery to vegetables there. And yes, there were rural folk present too.
There were a set of ladies selling what appeared to be pickle, packaged in braid shaped objects, merchandised very nicely. So, we approach the lady and ask her what those were. She looked at us and popped a question, ‘ are you hindu ?’ We nod with a perplexed head. She says, ‘move on, you wont eat these’ !
We stare in disbelief. Religious discrimination ! At Mapusa’s Friday market ! Before such communal seeds took shape in our minds, the lady at the next counter chipped in that these were pork sausages and it is against hindu traditions to have them ! Ah ! We say. That culture thing.
We spot fishermen angling in the sea. We end up catching them catch fish ! They go about their jobs merrily. I walk upto them and talk to them. How was the catch today ? i ask in tentative hindi. From the expression on their faces it doesnt seem pretty encouraging. I beat a retreat.
An hour later, they pack their plastic bags and go. I ask them the same question. One chap is excited. He carries his lone big catch in his hands. And exults for the camera. I click.
The vast expanse of green and the lovely roads were something to cheer ! We havent experienced that in a long while, given how Mumbai roads are ! The roads were inviting. And that made the journey so much more worthwhile.