At the risk of sounding absurd, can I tell you that I enjoy Goa in the rains more than in the summer?
On my recent trip to the “Sunny State”, the weather took a turn for the worse soon after I’d landed in Dabolim. The rain was coming down in sheets and an Orange Alert was issued soon after - expect continuous heavy rain and possible flooding over the next 48 hours, they said. I was there to ride a newly launched motorcycle and shoot a video, both of which are tasks that become infinitely complicated in adverse weather. But, instead of worrying about the forecast, I was thrilled about the perfect timing!
You see, for over a decade now (pandemic period excluded) I’ve spent a few days in Goa every monsoon. It started when I was a cash-strapped student at law school in Pune trying to find good travel deals in the “off-season”. The rooms were cheaper - less than 1/5th the price sometimes - and similar efficiencies in pricing were achievable with food, renting a scooter and just about everything else that mattered. For the same money I’d spend on a three day trip in the summer, I could stay for two weeks or more!
With this extra time, I was able to discover a type of Goa experience that looked beyond the ‘sun, sand and beaches’ cliche. The monsoon brings with it a colour refresh that invigorates the landscape in a palette of greens. With water bodies filled to the brim, small waterfalls and streams appear in unlikely places, while the bigger ones become even more majestic. The houses, freshly washed by the rain, seem brighter and more colourful, and even the roads are a darker black. It’s like someone took a postcard image, filled up all the dreary and drab areas with colour and then cranked up the contrast and saturation levels.
There are, of course, some tradeoffs. Swimming in the sea is best avoided, and your seafood cravings will need to be controlled because a fresh catch is hard to come by at this time of year. Most beaches are devoid of shacks and the associated bustle, but that is not something that I personally miss. But, in recent years, as more people embrace the charm of off-season travel, I have noticed that many more of the regular tourist hangout spots keep their doors open all-year round. In fact, it’s now even quite difficult to get discounted rates or good deals during the monsoon as demand keeps growing.
But, the ultimate privilege in my book, is being able to watch the South-Westerly monsoon roll in over the Arabian Sea. From Vagator in the North to Cabo de Rama in the South, I’ve found many a lovely vantage point to witness the dance of the clouds and the sea as the rain moves in. It’s never the same, and no matter how many times you may have seen it before, it’s always just as mesmerising. This is the real moment of magic for me - a dramatic display of nature’s power and beauty that never grows old! It’s reason enough for me to keep going back for more.