'Chai on the Beach in Goa'
See India through the eyes of International Consultant Bradley Carter as he works, lives and travels across India.
It had been a gruelling week for Brad and BD.
All their data collection for the week had been interrupted by a freak weather event.
But they had a scheduled vacation, and they were going to take it!
Brad was rarely tired, but this week he felt his bones aching.
The tech work was hard enough in his line of work. However, Brad always found it was the survivor stories that lingered long after the submission of his tech reports.
Disaster management takes its toll. What must it be like for the frontline workers?
Brad often performed his work with the relief workers in the front of his mind, not just the helpless survivors.
But BD and Brad had other things on their mind today. Sun, surf and no laptops!
As they left for Jaipur Airport, Brad's phone pinged.
* * *
"Okay, mum, please let the Vet know I approve the surgery."
"Everything okay, buddy?' asked a concerned BD.
"Yeah, all good. Snoop needs a small surgery on his claw. Nothing serious at all. Mum was checking in with me as I'll be paying the bill."
"Oh, that's good. Nothing serious."
"Well, the Vet bills are serious!"
"Nah, but Snoop likes me to remember him, I think. He develops a little attention-seeking behaviour when I'm away. " laughed Brad.
"Cats are, and will always be, smarter than us," laughed BD.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you, Brad. Nidhi called. She found a service that can assist with your house cleaning."
"Oh great, I'll organise that when I return home."
Nidhi worked as an assistant in the office but, as was the case with many people Brad had met in India, took it upon herself to assist Brad well beyond her brief.
He liked her immensely. When they first met, she had burst into a laughing fit; uncontrollable giggles, as she accidentally kept calling him Bradley Cooper!
She was so friendly and made the office a pleasant environment for all. She was highly educated, as all Brad's colleagues were.
So Brad liked her from the start, even if she did have Hollywood hunks on her mind at work!
* * *
"That was easy!" Brad appreciated the fast processing at the hotel after their journey. The guys had checked into their hotel in Goa in record time.
They were right on the waterfront. Brad realised he had not heard the sound of the waves for a long time.
He had an immediate flashback to Australia.
Back to his childhood summers, playing on one of the many beaches in Queensland, his home state.
Sometimes it was the Gold Coast or the far North. Or a local spot near Brisbane.
He had forgotten those days until he heard the crash sound of the waves rhythmically washing ashore.
The friends planned to meet after a brief 30-minute rest and shower.
Both men slept for over three hours. Their hunger eventually woke them.
* * *
"How great is this! It's as far away from Jaipur as you can get. I love my city but come on, look at the view!"
BD and Brad sat under an umbrella at a beachside bar.
Goa is spoiled for locations of unforgettable sea views from the casual bars, cafes and restaurants dotted along the coastline.
It was instant relaxation.
Although many people were typing away on laptops, often without shirts or shoes, the sight of the sand and sea did not scream office to Brad.
Brad was already naturally tanned, so he appeared to be a regular beach goer, but he rarely had the chance these days.
BD and Brad took a seat at one of the front tables. There were a few other foreigners there, but no one looked at him or BD. He had to admit the anonymity was a relief.
Brad and BD ordered drinks and lunch, sat people-watching, and allowed their minds to switch off.
The Goan mood had hit them swiftly.
* * *
After lunch, BD walked away from their table to message someone.
Brad was the last person to care what BD was doing in his personal life.
But BD seemed to want to unburden himself that afternoon.
Or perhaps it was the humidity and alcohol that loosened him up.
"I don't know! It's all getting very unsatisfying!" bemoaned BD.
"What happened, mate?"
"Oh, I'm trying to meet people online, but it always ends up like an interview!" There's no "getting to know you" or "accepting your flaws". It's over before it begins!"
Brad was unusual when it came to dating. He had no drive towards it at all. And he wasn't concerned.
He didn't try to make things happen. He always felt if something were going to happen, it would be in the natural flow of his living his life.
"Yeah, I stay off all that. I tried it once, and, I can honestly say, I don't miss it all!"
"I have better conversations with the chaiwala in Hindi!" laughed Brad.
"And it's not the other person's fault. I think it's the impersonal nature of the whole process. If you don't meet someone in person, what can you learn? I think anyone can sound like a soulmate online."
"Yes! Oh man, you nailed it! I think I've become swept up in the whole addiction to the attention. But it's wearing thin."
"I started to speak to people in my everyday life. Not romantically, just listening to everyone's story. I found I want to be mentally satisfied and fulfilled at the end of each day, instead of frustrated. I guess everyone is in a different place, though, hey."
"True, true. I've been married. I don't think I want that again. But then again, maybe I do?" poor BD lamented his situation.
"How about you have a break in Goa? Don't think about the chase. Think about yourself. Just do what you enjoy here."
"That sounds perfect, buddy. Thanks for the permission. I mean it, I just needed someone to say that to me!"
BD switched off his phone and ordered a chai.
Chai on the beach in Goa - this is just what BD wanted!