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Chasing Susegad

"Do you mind if I take a few pictures of your kitchen?" I asked nervously.

"Please go ahead," in a lowkey stoic voice replied he, like he had been faced with this very question many times before. I was not surprised.

I was then escorted into a kitchen that has possibly seen many curious visitors just like me for decades. In there stood a massive wood-fired brick oven. Flakey heart-shaped cookies sat lined on a worn-out metal tray. "We call these Angels Wings," Said Antonio, who has taken up the legacy handed over to him by his father.

I was brimming with a child-like joy when I was handed over my takeaway order, which had almost everything that was left of their shelves on that pleasantly rainy afternoon- Eclairs, Melting Moments, and Plum Cakes.

With a grin on my face and more packages my hands could hold, I asked S to snap a picture. A charmingly unassuming Goan Villa stood behind me with pale blue walls and a dainty signboard "Jila" daintily hung at the front porch.

I had thoroughly stalked Loutolim village on Google Maps and thus found someplace called Ambora Springs. Less than a five mins walk from Jila Bakery we decided to give it a try. The monsoon sky was overcast, and this little sleepy Goan village was at its lushest green self

There we were descending the moss-furred stairs of what looked like a stepwell. Warm water streamed into it through a tiny inlet in one of the corners. We had just found a natural hot spring which was all to ourselves. I sat on the ledge with my feet soaking in the warm spring, carefully undid the packets we were carrying from Jila. I took the first bite of the eclairs. I felt all my senses enliven when the gooey cream filling burst open in my mouth. S had already dunked himself into the warm pool of water. If I were ever to define surreal, I would conveniently narrate this day. Just when I thought it couldn't get any more indulgent, I suddenly felt something tickle under my feet. Instinctively I pulled back. On looking carefully I realized those were harmless tiny little fishes offering me a complimentary foot spa. Could I turn that down?

Goa is a state of mind. They say! An eternal state of euphoria I would say. There are these clear moments of definition which you can distinguish from the rest. This day planted a seed of perennial longingness in my heart. A longingness to belong with these dwellers in this relaxed, sleepy village, who live by the ideal of Susegad, translates to a laid-back attitude towards life. A clear defining moment when an ardent lover of mountains began longing to grow old witnessing the Goan monsoons year by year.

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