It is eerie how the streets of Goa evoke the pleasure of loving a boy you’ve never fully had the privilege of having. You want to call it home, you want its laidback alleys with burly arms and colourful homes to not treat you like a stranger. Perhaps beseech you to come back on a night you’re leaving, because that’s what homes do. You really want to call it home. And why wouldn’t you? Why would anyone not want to call it home?
You’ve always loved waking up to the gentle rustle of waves crashing against each other. Or maybe you are the kind that runs, barefoot, on the beach. Without missing a single morning. In your purple sports bra and black tights with carpe diem scribbled on it, you think you belong. I wonder if you are someone else — a man in his 60s — retired and finally seeking escape. With your toes in the sand, you look at the sea, with an intent. Nobody really knows why someone like you is here. But what if you are the kind that walks into the beach with a handy cam and spots a few fishermen tugging the boat? You flippantly throw your satchel and the cam, offer to help the fishermen, and pull the boat ashore. Would you, kind sir, do this every day if it were home?
The thing is I’m a trifling spectator and collector of seashells. I watch you from a distance, glad that this distance is what keeps me away from you and the stranger who, as we speak, is sprinting towards the sea in the name of Instagram validation.
I want to know. If it were home, would you still cry when you are up in the sky during a sunset hour? Would you stop scribbling your name on the walls? But importantly, would you still come home to it?
If it were home, would I still collect seashells every morning and observe the people, smells, and colours around me? Would I still wake up to the first beat of my alarm tone?