Wednesday, August 16, 2006

IBSAF Pan-India Alumni Retreat, Goa

The Journey:

We nearly missed our train to Pune just because of the quarrelsome auto-rickshaw fellow. He wasn't willing to take any alternative route in traffic jam. He didn't have sufficient fuel for his auto to reach the station so he switched off the engine in traffic on the pretext of saving fuel. Even when the traffic got eased, he wasn't starting the auto and kept on pushing it on the road and picking up fights with others on the way. Somehow, we reached the station and I had to hire a porter just to be on the safer side.

Next day, we boarded the bus from Pune to Goa. Gautam and Prerna joined us in Pune. It was first bus service of Raj Travels running from Pune to Goa. As the bus moved, they started playing the movie - Taxi no 9211 and when the movie finished, the bus stopped for dinner. The place was Shivapur and we got to know that it was just 30 km away from Pune. The driver had to take an alternative route as the main road to Goa was blocked due to continual rains in the region. The alternate route was quite an adventurous one as it passed through the Ghats, Hills and Valleys.

We stopped for morning tea at a roadside restaurant on our way. We were told that it would take two and half hours to reach Panjim from that place. We weren't surprised as it was expected. The bus reached Panjim and we were a little relaxed that our destination- Margao wouldn't be far now. But that part of journey seemed the longest and toughest. Finally we reached Margao, tired and drained.

As soon as we got down, four of us pushed ourselves into a taxi (Maruti Omni) and started for the Nanu resort. It was this place where our stay was arranged by IBSAF. Photo

Nanu Resort is just about 13 km away from Margao Bus stand. It is hardly 100 meters away from the beach which is probably called Betalbatim.

Day 1: Saturday, August 12, 2006

The First Crush
Luckily, we got sea facing rooms. As soon as we opened the balcony door, we were swept by the breeze coming from the sea and the roaring loud noise of the sea served for us as the most pleasant music. We got recharged with tea we had ordered just then. Quickly, we took bath, went to Resort's Restaurant and had lunch. We had already decided to walk to the beach just after Lunch and we did that. Photo

It was a long planned but overdue visit to Goa for me. It was the first time I was face to face with the sea in broad daylight (I had seen a sea only when I had been to Chennai but it was in the night). I couldn't help writing on the sand - "Finally, I have arrived". No sooner had I completed writing it with my toes, it started raining and we had to rush back to the resort.

Boat Cruise in the Evening
In the evening, we were taken for the ride on boat cruise with all the members of IBSAF. I don't know whether it is a river or backwaters but it is called Mandovi River. They have a dance and music show on the deck. Some dancers presented Goan and Portuguese folk dances and then they played some good music and invited the audience on the stage. We had some good fun on the boat. For my record, I would like to mention the names of the people who came for the boat cruise. They are - Disney, Rajiban, Kashif, Gautam, Prerna, Mohit, Kartik, Saket Jalan and Saket's wife.

We picked up some packs of Cashew nuts, Bebinca - a Goan specialty and some Goa trademark T-shirts and Shorts.

First Dinner @ the Get-together
We met at the Resort Restaurant for the first dinner during the Pan Indian Alumni Retreat sponsored by IBSAF. This dinner wasn't sponsored by IBSAF but Saket Jalan did the honors. Laiq Ali Khan, Neeraj Singh and his wife, joined us there. After the dinner, we were thinking of having Tea but we were told that the kitchen was closed by then. So, we decided to have a stroll on the beach.

Day 2: Sunday, August 13, 2006

On the second day, we went on the conducted tour of South Goa. We started off in a mini-bus at about 11 am. The first destination was about 45 minutes drive from the Resort so we played some antakshari. The first stop was a temple, then we went to St. Francis Church followed by Miramar and Dona-Paula beaches.

In the evening, we had the IBSAF sponsored dinner and a DJ was also arranged for the entertainment.

Day 3: Monday, August 14, 2006

It was most exciting and eventful day for all of us. We were at the beach in the morning and had loads of fun. By the time we got completely exhausted physically, it was just 9:45 am. We realized how much one can get in a day if we wake up early. We had the sumptuous breakfast in wet clothes coz no one had the energy to walk to the room, change and take bath.

At noon, we all checked out from the Resort and started for North Goa. Now, this one wasn't an official tour. Disney, Rajiban, Kashif, Gautam, Prerna, Me and my family set off for this trip. We picked up some sandwiches and cakes for a quick lunch from Panjim and saw Aguada fort and beach, Vagator beach and Anjuna beach.

Prerna's mp3 music cd which she burnt especially for the Goa tour came in good use on this trip since the cab (a Toyota Qualis) had a CD player. We enjoyed the music, the wet and scenic beauty of Goa and the camaraderie. It was a soothing and rejuvenating experience for all of us.

The Farewell
Seven of us were at Panjim at around 8 pm. Disney, Rajiban and Kashif were to stay another day whereas Gautam, Prerna, Me, my wife - Sumbul and my son - Ayaan bid farewell to Goa and our friends. Paulo Travels' bus was ready to take us to Pune.

Thus ended a three-day magical bonanza

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At August 16, 2006 5:55 AM, Anonymous Disney said...

Bhai, without doubt this was one hell of a trip. Hope we will meet again for the AT memorial 2nd Pan India Retreat.. or even before that for the unveiling of the AT statue at NANU...(lol)

At August 16, 2006 6:22 AM, Blogger Qais said...

Yes, Diz

We must be ready and fully committed for the AT memorial 2nd Pan India Retreat, at least those who were there for this one and experienced the memorable meet.

At August 16, 2006 12:06 PM, Anonymous Rajiban said...

What a gr8 trip we had...lots of fun...specially on Monday moring 7.30 am to 9.30 a.m our catch practice session on the beach....that was the best part for me....Qais it is nice write up....why dont u send this blog to this month IBSAF Newsletter....let everyone read what fun we had that the other guys dosnt miss it again....

At August 17, 2006 2:58 AM, Anonymous mohit pawar said...


Really nice write-up. Keep them coming. These memories are going to stay with us for long time to come; and when memories fade we will have your writings to remind us of good ole' times.


At August 20, 2006 11:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was the great write up of the trip. We could'nt have enjoyed it more. And yes i second Disney's proposal of unveiling AT statue at nanu and dedecating the meet to AT.

At August 22, 2006 12:18 AM, Blogger Qais said...

Thanks for the comments, Kashif. It would have been better if you had disclosed ur name alongwith the comments.


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