'Chai on the Beach in Goa'
See India through the eyes of International Consultant Bradley Carter as he works, lives and travels across India.
Brad was relaxed. Properly relaxed.
The Goan beaches and laid-back pace had rejuvenated his spirit.
He had travelled inland yesterday with BD and Angela to see what Goa was like away from the sun and sand.
It was the beautiful green break he needed.
Small, beautifully maintained villages dotted the windy inland roads.
Each village was a microcosm of the life in Goa Brad had been observing - simple life, daily routines, happy families.
Sure, everything can look good on the service.
But the kids had no reason to run around smiling for his sake. The workers went about their work with smiles too.
He tried to remember the last time he saw kids smiling and playing in the streets of Brisbane.
It was not recently.
Angela and BD seemed joined at the hip. Both had hit it off so fast.
It was nice to see BD relaxed after such a personal upheaval in the last few years.
Brad and Bd were heading back soon. Then on to Mumbai.
But they had one more night to enjoy the company of their new friend in another idyllic seafront Goan bar.
* * *
"I don't know what it is," smiled Bd as he lay on the bed in Brad's hotel room.
"Ever since you told me to stop trying and looking for someone, I've felt so relieved! It's like I was trying too hard."
"Well, I'm happy for you, mate. You sound like you needed a break from it all. But, it looks like you and Angela are good friends. It's nice to see."
"Let's see. She is a refreshing entry into my life, I admit. Perhaps it's that I don't have expectations from her."
"From my experience, people are more than their country of origin. It's not about foreigners or local women. Everyone's got their unique story."
"You are a rare breed, Brad. I'm telling you," BD laughed.
"I don't know how you maintain such neutrality all the time! I mean, you don't judge people too much. I really wish I was like you!"
"I think it's just observation, buddy. I've been to so many countries; people are the same underneath. They really are."
* * *
Brad had developed a sensational tan in Goa. He selected a simple white t-shirt and noticed the deep golden colour next to the white material.
In Australia, he burnt faster and never went this golden shade. The sun was harsher in Australia.
BD has developed not so much a tan but an entire glow over his face.
It was a different BD, a relaxed and happy BD. He looked good.
Both men set off to dinner on their last night in Goa.
They looked like tall cricket Gods. And they would be noticed, again, tonight.
* * *
"Hey, Guys! Over here!" yelled Sarah.
Brad and BD joined the group.
"How are you all?" asked Brad.
"Doing well, but sorry to see you guys leave tomorrow," said Sarah.
"I know it's been a great trip for us both. But you guys are the lucky ones. Months on end in Goa - that's the life!"
"True, but it's hard to work sometimes." Peter looked a little tired. "I mean, I cannot concentrate on work when the ocean is right there, in front of me. I've more my office to a room without windows."
"Good point, mate. I know what you mean. I don't think my productivity would be great here," laughed Brad.
Angela organised drinks for everyone and ordered BD a tea. It was kinda cute. She knew he needed his tea before food.
"So, tell me your impression of Goa? What will you remember?" asked Sarah to Brad and BD.
"I've been to Goa before. But this time, it's different." Everyone laughed heartily at BDs observation. Angela blushed.
"Okay Brad, what about as a first-timer?"
"Well, I'm a Queenslander, and we are all born in the sunshine, " Bard smiled. " But I have to say Goa has a vibe that is totally unique. I mean, I know it's in India, but it feels far away somehow. The people are a highlight too."
"Well, that's saying something, given how many places you've travelled," said Sarah. "And I have to agree with you."
BD and Angela left for a walk on the beach.
Brad, Sarah and Peter enjoyed the food, company, and one last night in the warm sea breeze on another perfect Goan evening.
* * *