Sunday, November 27, 2016

A girls night out - Saturday Night Bazaar - Arpora, Goa

Saturday, the 26th. of  November was the first day of a New Saturday Night Bazaar. It opened in Arpora, North Goa. Will be held every Saturday from 4 pm to the wee hours. We actually started out to go to the original Saturday Night Market. Upon reaching there we found a note stuck on the gate saying, it was decided that the market should be closed in the last minute. So, we had no option but to go this new Bazaar which was close to the old bazaar. It turned out to be a great night in spite of the initial disappointment.
There was plenty of parking and it was well regulated. though at one point there was a huge surging crowd which entered and the main street was quite jam packed.
The reader must bear with me the quality of pictures. They were taken in the night with poor lighting.  Power supply was erratic, so some of the shops were having electricity on and off.
The merchant selling colourful hammoks devised an innovative way to exhibit them by hanging them over the walkway. It was like a covered path and gave a very interesting look and feel to the area.
Since there are a few posts in the past on flee market and other bazaars, I tried to avoid the stall and merchandise already shown earlier. This shop was selling Buddhist artifacts, quite interesting really.
This shop had various percussion instruments / drums. He was standing in front of his stall playing the drums expertly. That is his USP. Whether the buyer can play it so well is anyone's guess. Looking on the bright side, at least you will develop an interest in music!
Pure leather footwear was tempting to try on a few pairs. They seemed tres comfortable and aesthetic. Don't miss the Buddha heads; a shop completely dedicated to the idea of peace and tranquility represented by Buddha. Any takers?
There are several spice shops in all markets and bazaars, anywhere in Goa. The aroma of fresh spices permeates the whole area. I simply love the smells. there was a dedicated shop for different types of Tea leaves. I saw several foreign tourists selecting the Tea of their choice.
Read in the newspapers recently that the Chief Minister of Goa had inaugurated the Cycle Party carts. There was one of them, albeit stationary, selling ice cream and shakes. If it circled or in motion, may be more people would have been interested. that is my opinion of course!
What is a party or a market or a bazaar in Goa without music? It will be be a dull affair. Goa is know for its live music. Keeping that tradition alive, there were live performances. Indian as well as foreign tourists were grooving to the fusion music. Did I mention food and drinks stalls? No? There was a wide range of food items and drinks (hic!) to chose from. Demonetization or not, people have to eat; in Goa, they have to drink too...
Halfway through the music performance, there were fire works display from behind the stage. It was spectacular. Must confess, I am a sucker for fire works display.
Ate Swiss Chocolate Gelato, bought a pair of cotton pants for hubby, listened to great music, watched rockets light up the sky, great company of girl friends, lovely cool evening / night weather; all in all it was an enjoyable night. 
Reminded me of the times when we would not have any money to buy stuff (read - broke), and would just go and enjoy; thanks to demonetization, every one was feeling the pinch. Or did we become a nation of people to hang on to our Rs.100 notes for dear life!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

RBI's core Purpose, Values, and Vision

As all of you, I too grew up hearing the name Reserve Bank of India. It is a huge imposing building in Hyderabad. I had been there a few times to meet my school friends who were lucky enough to get cushy jobs. From time to time I also came to know of the Governors and listened to them. It was somehow comforting to know that there is an institution called RBI which will safe gaurd my financial interest.
Sadly but truly, I never wondered what all does RBI do!

With all the hullabaloo about Demonetization going on and Reserve Bank of India's role in it, I was suddenly aware of the fact that I know precious little about its objectives and responsibilities. Quickly I opened the website of RBI and here is what I found:
RBI's Core Purpose, Values and Vision:
Core Purpose
To foster monetary and financial stability conducive to sustainable economic growth and to ensure the development of an efficient and inclusive financial system.
The Core Purpose reflects the Reserve Bank’s commitment to the Nation:
  • To foster confidence in the internal and external value of the rupee, and contribute to macro-economic stability;
  • To regulate markets and institutions under its ambit to ensure financial system stability and consumer protection;
  • To promote the integrity, efficiency, inclusiveness and competitiveness of the financial and payments system;
  • To ensure efficient management of currency as well as banking services to the Government and banks; and
  • To support the balanced, equitable and sustainable economic development of the country.
The Reserve Bank of India commits itself to the following shared values that guide organisational decisions and employee actions in pursuit of the Bank’s core purpose:
  • Public interest
  • The Reserve Bank of India, in its actions and policies, seeks to promote the public interest and the common good.
  • Integrity and Independence of Views
  • The Reserve Bank of India seeks to maintain the highest standards of integrity and independence of views through openness, trust and accountability.
  • Responsiveness and Innovation
  • The Reserve Bank of India seeks to be a dynamic organisation responsive to public needs and encourages innovation and a spirit of enquiry.
  • Diversity and Inclusiveness
  • The Reserve Bank of India cherishes and supports diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Introspection and Pursuit of Excellence
The Reserve Bank of India is committed to self-appraisal, introspection and professional excellence. 

The Reserve Bank of India is committed to pursue the public interest and common good as a leading central bank that is recognised for its credible, transparent and proactive policies.
The above passage is the verbatim transcript from RBI's website -

In the last 15 days, what all we are witnessing as a consequence of Demonetisation, do you think the Reserve Bank of India is living up to its values, and is the vision still clear in fulfilling its core purpose? Judge for yourself...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A drive through a beautiful land - Journey from Patnem to Quepem by road, Goa

We planned our journey back from Patnem beach to Panjim, via Quepem. This too through the hinterland of Netravali wildlife sanctuary. What a journey that turned out to be!
I wonder if my explanation can do justice to the natural beauty, on the other hand, my photographs may not be very good either. try to look at the beauty which is beyond words and images!
Firstly we charted out the route and took a print out of it. It came immensely useful, because there are no sign posts or directions. Well we are talking about the hinterland here. So, do not expect either. GPS tracker would have been easier; imagine all the fun of finding your way the old fashioned way of asking the villagers in your language and them answering in their language!!! 
Names of some of the places were slightly different in the map compared to what the locals used, to add to the confusion. It was all so much fun really. We did not, but even if got lost we would not have minded, one bit, in that beautiful landscape!!
 The grass was turning golden, onset of autumn for sure. 
The distant hills and and the curving road, should we stop and take in the beauty or keep going because traveling is also so much fun?
 There was an old well in the field. Sitting there so peacefully!
 Can you resist going on this road?
Halfway between Gaondongri and Netroli, suddenly caught sight of a waterfall. I screamed "stop, stop..". I recognised it as Bamanbudo waterfall from an article in the newspaper during monsoon season. The waterfall had reduced but the water was cool and sweet. There was group of people building a fire and started cooking lunch.
After passing the Netravali range (road goes through part of it), we came across the backwaters of Salaulim dam. It was too picturesque for words. In the middle of the road, there was an extensive joint family of brown cows sitting , standing peacefully. They would not budge for either horn or shout. A gentle nudge was more effective.
You can imagine the beauty of the place. because of a good monsoon, there seemed to be more water in the reservoir and submerged trees. On a clear day and still water, the reflections of the trees were perfect!
If you are ever in this part of the world, take the road trip and let me know if you find any more sights that are worth seeing.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Palacio Do Deao, Quepem, South Goa

After spending a couple days on the beach, in Canacona, South Goa, my husband and I headed to Quepem Taluka through Goa hinterland and Netravali mountain range of Western Ghats. We made a print out of the map, and when in doubt, kept asking for directions along the way. There are not many sign boards enroute. As I mentioned it is through mountains, grass lands, ghats etc. one of the most beautiful locations I have seen. Since it is soon after monsoons, everything is still lush green. Though we made a list of places to see in Quepem, ran out of time, and ended up spending quality time at Palacio do Deao, only.
Map by permission from Mr. Ruben Vasco Da Gama, Owner
Quepem is not a big town, and you can reach Palacio easily.Through the main gate, you reach the courtyard where you can park your vehicle. There is an old well to the left of the gate. The water level is about 15 ft. below the ground. To the right is a statue of Jose Paulo, the Dean, who founded the Quepem town. He was a Portuguese nobleman and this was his palace, according to records, was built in 1787 AD. 
from the courtyard, one enters the property through a beautiful entrance passage flanked on either side by decorative pillars.
Over the last two centuries, the palace changed a few hands, and finally it was bought by Mr. Ruben Vasco da Gama and Mrs. Celia Vasco da Gama, on condition that it cannot be resold; which means it will have to remain in their family. It occupies over 11000sft. of floor area. 
Ruben will show the 'before' pictures of the residence for those interested; it was in total disrepair and ruins. 
In his own words, Ruben says that he wanted to bring the residence to its former glory. He wanted to preserve the heritage of the bygone era for future generations.
and The main entrance to the residence / palace is via a wide staircase of 20 + steps.
To the right of the main gate, there is a path and a few steps and a doorway leading to back of the building, could be a service entry. I liked this concept very much, especially if it was an official residence as well. There are hedges and trees on either side of the path to the side door, very pretty!

The stairs lead to a huge entrance verandah. There are three doors leading into the residence from here.
The central door leads to a Chapel. This is where the Dean would conduct his prayers. As the congregation grew. He built the Holy Cross Church or Santa Cruz Church across the Palace.
A framed floor plan is hung on the library wall.
A huge hall to receive guests is on the left end of the main entrance. It is furnished with all period furniture. Great views of the gardens all round from the tall windows!
There is a library and an entertainment room, where several old volumes and board games are arranged. The visitors can make use of these facilities and get a feel of the ambience of that era.
A belvedere or a long verandah vertical to the horizontal axis of the Palace is at the back. One can see the beautiful river Kushavati touching the property from here. Noe this space is used for dining for guests. I believe Mrs. Celia Vasco da Gama is great Chef and whips up great lunches and also conducts classes for those interested in learning the nuances of traditional cooking. One has to make prior booking though.
I have to mention here, that, Mrs. and Mr. Ruben Vasco da Gama went to Portugal, stayed there for some time, studied their architecture, furniture and old buildings, before starting restoration of this building. All the features, finishes, door and window details are very authentic designs of that period in Goa. Instead of glass, the windows have traditional fish scales / shells inserted to let the light in.

Well maintained gardens all round the residence are beautiful, the stone paths, the gazebo, the stone steps, the statues, the hedges, trees, flowering plants, the fountains are breath taking.
It is a must visit place if you are anywhere close to Quepem, Goa.
For more details and bookings, go to:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A leisurely stroll on Palolem beach, South Goa

It was the end of October and the sea was calling. We love South Goa and that is where headed.  By the time we reached Colomb beach and checked into Secret Heaven Resort, rested and cleaned up, it was 4 pm. Time to head to the beach for the evening walk and a look at the sunset! 
It was a short walk of 10 min. from the resort to the opening to the path which leads to the Palolem beach. This path is through the trees, over the rocks; a small adventure in itself. there are no street lights or lighting of any sort. better to avoid after dark.
At the end of the path, there is a creek to cross. Depending on the time of the year and whether it is high tide or low tide time, there will be water in the creek. There will be a makeshift bridge made of wooden logs or bamboo, but since it is soon after the monsoons and the tourist season has yet to start, the bridge is not yet put up. So, that means one has to wade through the slightly murky waters. If one looks at the whole thing as adventure, this fits in perfectly. Fancy footwear will not take kindly to the hike and water ...
Finally there is light or sand at the end of the trek! and the beach beckons! Only a few beach shacks are up and running. Most others are under construction. Though it was Diwali long weekend, there were very few tourists, Indian or foreign. What a blessing! And it was a low tide! the water was cool under the feet. I love walking in the shallow waters... picking up shells etc.
I love Palolem beach for its white sand, flanked by low hills on either side; the shape of the beach is a crescent, which looks so much more pretty than a straight line!
We walked to the end of the Palolem beach. There river Shanti joins the Arabian sea. It is a small river, with water coming down the hills during monsoon. There were a few boats for sight seeing and some fishermen's boats too. It was a picturesque sight!

Evening sun with its golden light, illuminating the surroundings, was a sight to behold. We were very lucky to be enjoying these scenes...
By the time we headed back, it was dusk and sunset was spectacular! Retraced the same route, walking in the water and stopping and looking at the coconut trees, the hills in the distance and the sea...
Those were some special moments to cherish, knowing fully well that next time I walk on that same beach it will be a different experience.

Salvadordo Mundo Church - Goa

  It was Easter and we have a ritual of going to a natural spring before sunrise and drinking the holy water from it. Since both Jo and ...