I was in Goa last month with a family friend of ours. Just like any tourist or person who wants to visit Goa, I was excited about the blue beaches, dipping sunsets at the horizons, the sand caressing my feet, and most of all the Beer. Well, let’s be honest, who can ignore a good pint of beer watching the waves while your child for once has his attention drifted from you, busy with sand trying to make castles. Mumma bliss, I call it. And so for the first two days, it was about the typical Goa things to do list- sun, sand and beach. But here is what was different this time when I visited this place of busyness and oomph. I am an avid reader, a book blogger and I daydream about my book café- all the time! So when I walk into one I imagine the kind of stuff I’d like to keep and arrange in it. I was adamant to visit this book café in Goa which I had found out on Google. My friends teased me but well I am accustomed to such jokes, they wanted a good coffee and I bargained them into it, only to know later- we didn’t have our coffee! But, like good humans, they accompanied me to the café. The Literati book café had a sprawling lawn and was spread on a magnificent area of land. My happiness knew no leaps and bounds when I entered the book café. Ceiling high bookshelves beckoning me to check them out. Drowned in a sepia tone, it looked vintage giving me the thrill of having time traveled. When I looked at the shelves I spotted some new releases; it was like a pinch on my arm to tell me- “you aren’t dreaming or have time traveled. Take a look outside and you’d find your son playing on the grass kicking his feet. It is for real”. I really did take a peek before getting back to browsing the shelves (just mom things!).
For the book which I spotted as “read” I felt happy and for the ones I hadn’t read, I felt anxious. I found a copy of ‘Grief is the thing with feathers’ by Max Porter gorgeously priced, it was hard to not pick this one up for myself. Just then the owner came in- Divya Kapur, a very smart female with a head of cropped white hair, her spectacles placed on her head and flashing a smile. I spoke to her, bragged about me being a book blogger (sometimes you got to sell it, fella’s!) which I am sure she was not interested in (haha!) and asked her about the café, it’s running, the business and lastly if she would recommend me her choice of books and something which captures Goa’s interesting history and tradition. She got to the job of finding books for me immediately asking me questions about books and authors. I bought all the books on her recommendation, except for the Max Porter book. If there is something I have learned as a voracious reader in the last few years is coming out of the comfort zone. I have found immense beauties that I carry in my heart, by just exploring new authors and their work. Divya Kapur, the owner herself came out to me as a passionate reader. And when readers recommend, other readers keep themselves alert with standing ears. ‘Skin’ by Margaret Mascarenhas was her choice for me on Goa history. The other two- ‘Mister Pip’ by Lloyd Jones and ‘The Moon and Sixpence’ by Maugham are her personal favorites. I will not lie, I did burn a hole in my pocket with this book haul but I think it was all worth it. It is my way of contributing to an independent bookstore. The postcards that I brought with me from this bookshop café are a remembrance, they give me hope of going there again or to a similar book café. My quest for spotting good ones doesn’t end here. I would like to say, it’s just the beginning.
It might seem like I went a little poetic with my words above, writing about this book café. It is so because I hold a tender fondness for the people who own and run these cafes. Maybe because I see myself in them at some point in time, my inquisitiveness never giving up. I feel like I want to know it all. Talking with them fills me with a will, a ray of hope that someday, just like Divya I will guide a reader in my bookshop, recommending the books of her choice or maybe mine. Dreams are what drive us. And when you find such driving forces, look at it as the wind beneath your wings whispering in your ears- You will get there.
Amongst other things, Goa was special this time around too. New memories and new incidents to remember the place by.
Sharing my two cents here about something I feel strongly about- On your travels, look for places you find comfort in. It could be a bookshop, an artwork boutique, an old coffee shop or a music soirée. Not only because they are your happy places but because you might learn a new fact about them or find something rare that’d tug at your heart. Maybe bring back memorabilia of the place. We all google a lot while planning our travels, watching vlogs and reading blogs about the place we are to visit. Why not keep a comfort place handy to drop by. Who knows your happy place might just be a few blocks away from your hotel.
Happy Wandering and Happy reading!