Friday, 04 March 2011
Aulona- “Guess where Zoey delivered her pups? In my bedroom! She just walks in, calm as you please, at eleven in the night, lies down on the floor and proceeds to litter! They’re really quiet you know. By midnight she had had two of them and I drifted off to sleep. When I woke up at seven, Alex asked me: Guess how many puppies we have? I said four, but it turned out seven! We had such a hard time sleeping over the next month, but it was a lot of fun!"
A mother of three, the eldest of whom is in her early twenties, Aulona looks and talks like a peppy 30 year old. She is Anmol’s aunt (it’s a complicated family tree, but I’m reasonably sure that I’ve got this right). She lives in Goa, in one of the most beautiful houses I’ve seen, with her three daughters and husband Alex who runs an advertising agency, plays in a band, has designed their jaw droppingly beautiful house, and can rustle up a meal that would make you want to write poetry. Seriously, the man was unreal.
Anmol has another aunt in Goa. Susannah Velho lives in a house in Panjim that overlooks a beautiful park. She opened up the house and her heart to the four bumbling friends that Anmol brought over from Hyderabad - keep the house keys, the kitchen’s yours, use the washer–dryer, use the extra towels....Where does so much generosity of spirit come from?
I used to think that Anmol's penchant to pick up random strays, fall in love with them and nurse them to perfect health was an endearing eccentricity but it turns out that he's just following the call of his gene pool. This weekend taught me a few things about Goans –
1. They love no other place as much as they love Goa - no wanderlust for them. Hardly surprising. As Sreeram says, "Where would a Goan go to get away from it all? He's already away from it all...” And he knows this.
2. They all love dogs. Every one of them. Man, woman and child. Every family I met seemed to think that to take in, feed and heal every mangy ill treated dog in the neighbourhood is the most natural thing to do.
3. There are no vegetarians in Goa. If you hate sea food, please don't go to this paradise. You will probably feel like a friend of mine who constantly complained about being the lone guy in a course on gender diversity.
I wish I was Goan. But to have one of them as one of your best buddies is good too.