Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gokarna: Weekend

I guess, life had to show-off how cool it is and so it took me to Gokarna last weekend. Sand, sea and good food, I felt I landed in a dream!

First Impression

Spanish breakfast @ Namaste

In fact, right after I landed in Gokarna, I headed to the breakfast table where I hogged an enormous Continental breakfast and settled down in a chair to satisfy my sensory organs.Unlike the photos, Gokarna looks prettier in real. The rocks jutting out of the sea, clean sands, a hippie-ish crowd, laid-back air: Gokarna was just setting the trap for us.

Only after familiarizing myself with my surroundings, did I go to Namaste Cafe to rest a while. It was a shack, not a hotel room; basic huts with good toilets and basin taps that have a direct outlet to a bucket outside where you can see the toothpaste froth you created all over again.

Sunlight and the Shack @ Namaste

After an hour of blissful sleep with the sun rays lightly dancing on my face, I had the desire to watch the sea again. So, off we went to the beach. It was a Friday and hippies, locals and cows were mingling in peace. Yes, cows. You know, Go-karna (literally translating into 'cow's ears') is really a heaven for cows; they roam without restrictions and sit on firangi's beach towels if they want to with no force strong enough to shoo them away.

So, anyway, as the shadows started getting lengthier, we decided to go on the famous quoted trek from Om Beach to Half-Moon Beach.

Now, we are no trekkers; in fact, we are two Garfields, and two minutes into the trek, we almost regretted the idea of walking, *sweating* jumping rocks, *panting* avoiding branches intent to slap your face *perspiring* or slopes determined to let your feet slip. But soon we crossed the woods, and there we stood at a narrow path etched at the side of the hillock, several meters above sea and all around us we saw nothing but the pristine sea, sparkling like diamonds in the afternoon sun. We held back our cursing tongues. This trek is worth the trouble and believe it from non-experienced trekkers like us, we reached Half-Moon Beach without a single scratch.

On the Trail from Om to Half-Moon

I have heard one can trek the other beaches too, but well.... let others do that. Our quota of adventure was full and we headed back to Om Beach on one of the boats. We revived ourselves with beer and towards evening, we climbed one of the small rocks on the beach and watched the sun set. It was a gorgeous sight.

The Perfect Sunset

At night, the waves got bigger, louder. The music was soothing, the breeze made sorrow disappear and we dined as the lanterns danced happily about us.

The next day, after another ginormous breakfast, we sat on tree-boughs and watched life with a third perspective.
Fishy Talks

After a while, we took a boat-ride that gave us a tour of the beaches around that place. The sky was a perfect blue, and so was the waters. The boatman made small talk and the sea breeze made us tolerate the burning heat.

Captain of the Boat
Moksha Cafe's Fish in Lemon Garlic Sauce 

We then strolled the entire Om-shaped Om beach, settled in another cafe, some more chilled beer and ate the best Fish-in-Lemon-Garlic-Sauce ever! (Moksha Cafe gave us moksha) Life was perfect.

Ramu on the Shore
I had read in a few blogs that shack-owners and locals are racists to Indians; I absolutely dismiss such banter! Of course, when you are enjoying your evening in peace and the next table, filled with compatriots, are determined to let you know that they can curse in English and loud, even the most patriotic of us will raise a dissenting eyebrow. On the other hand, the locals are an absolute friendly delight. They like to make friends and are a happy-go-lucky bunch. In fact, one of the guys selling beads on the shore struck up a conversation with us and while going away, gifted me one of his beaded necklace as a parting gift.

I would suggest that when you go to Gokarna, leave your prejudices behind, adjust to rooms without window panes (we had to!) and accept life in its simplicity and you may discover once again how simple and beautiful life is.

Shine bright like a Diamond
Gokarna, you have mesmerized me with your quaint charm... I long to sit by your cafes, feet up, chilled beer by my side, watch waves and philosophize during your gorgeous sunsets. And something tells me, I shall do precisely that once again, very soon!

Om Shanti Om