'Chai on the Beach in Goa'
See India through the eyes of International Consultant Bradley Carter as he works, lives and travels across India.
Nilu from Hyderabad had left a message for Brad. He and BD had fallen asleep after lunch mixed with the humidity in Goa and sent them both into a deep trance.
"Hey, Nilu. How are you? How's the family?"
"Going well, Brad. How's Snoop?"
"Oh, he's busy being a cat which means he's more than fine!"
"Great to hear! Look, I called you even though you are on a break. I wanted to let you know about a conference in Mumbai in a couple of weeks. You and BD should try and go."
"Oh, that sounds great. Please send the details. Will you be there?"
"I think so. I have applied today. The registration closes tomorrow, which is why I called. But I might have to cancel if Kaya needs me to be here for a school event on the same weekend."
"Ah, okay, no problem. Thanks very much for the heads up. We'll register today."
"Great. How is Goa? I haven't seen the beach myself for some time."
"So far, so good."
* * *
Brad was a seasoned traveller. But his energy had begun to waver in the last few weeks.
BD and a reluctant Brad headed out that night to another local beach restaurant for dinner. It was modern and lively yet failed to light a spark in Brad.
The seaside setting for dinner was perfect.
Brad had always loved the ocean at night. The black water and white waves held a certain (albeit dangerous) allure.
There were no bird sounds at night which normally revitalised Brad. They were instead, relaced by music and human chatter.
Brad surveyed the crowd without them knowing. Small groups, young people, cool people. He didn't have the energy to be cool right now.
BD sensed Brad's mood and selected a table in a corner. It was perfect. BD was a gem of a friend!
"India can be a challenge, buddy. You are still adjusting," offered BD, by way of explanation for his friend's lack of life. tonight.
"Nah, it's not that. India's great. It's too easy. You should see the places I've worked. India is a breeze. But it might be something else in India. It makes you think 'heavy', hey?"
"Oh, it's an existential crisis!" laughed BD. "I thought we had beaten you with our hectic pace of life," laughed BD.
"Okay, you can stop laughing at me. That group of people just called us over. We can't get out of this."
A group of smiling foreign tourists waved at Brad and BD. It was kind of rude not to go.
* * *
"Hey, we just saw you there and didn't recognise you. Are you just here on a break?" asked one woman.
"Yeah, we aren't locals like you guys, obviously," laughed Brad.
"Oh, Australian! I thought you were both Indian," said another woman.
"No, I'm working here. I'm Brad, by the way. And this is BD, a true local, unlike you guys!"
"Hey, everyone," smiled BD.
They grabbed two seats and joined the group.
"I'm Sarah from the UK. And meet Angela from Germany and Peter from Austria."
"Nice to meet you guys. So what finds you in India?" asked Brad.
"We run businesses mainly. Digital nomad, two fashion importers."
"Oh, sounds great. So you all live in Goa most of the time?"
"Yes, but we leave every so often for visa and business reasons, otherwise, we would stay full time. Look at the place! Who would not want this life!"
"I agree. I hardly miss Australia when I'm here. It's an awesome mix of ingredients, hey. The people, just the way of life."
"Yes, I'm a newbie, " said Peter. "The girls have been coming here for years."
"What do you guys do?"
"We are both techies but specialise in Disaster Management,"
"Wow, that sounds like a rewarding tech job. I helped my friend in bushfire relief in Australia a few years ago. That was tough!" said Sarah.
"Oh, then you know about the logistics side, the aftermath. That was great of you to help out," said Brad.
"Well, I was staying with a friend in the mountains outside Sydney. It was devasting. I didn't have any concept of the scale of bushfire damage. My little freezing coastal town in England was as far away as could be!
"Sounds idyllic," said BD.
"Sounds idyllic, but as you can see, I am suited to the environment here. I was born in the wrong country!!"
As they talked, Brad saw Angela gelling well with BD. The two started a private conversation.
Although Brad was exhausted, he was glad he had dragged himself to dinner tonight.
* * *