Let the good times roll!!
Except.. nearly everywhere was empty! (except for the odd place full of groups of 'sausages')
The first bar was alright.
There was a group of German blondes at a table, so off we went.
They had just finished High School and were on a gap year.
So... that was the end of that! Haha.
Cut to Saturday night. My last night in Goa.
Me and the American dude hit up Anjuna beach, which had a different vibe altogether!
It was much more chilled, and all the bars were on the beach. The beach was also a lot more 'rocky' in some parts ..and 'rambo' in others! (badum-ching!).
The American dude kept calling it 'the search for dryland', i.e. a place that doesn't exist...
It was the only time in my life that anyone ever made a reference to Kevin Costner's 1995 flop, 'Waterworld'.
(Silence. Tumbleweed blows past)
In the end it became an epic journey in search of a bar with people in it, let alone pretty girls!!
I knew this was 'off season' but seriously??
We hit all the usual spots.. Lilliputs, Curlies.. the UV Bar.. pretty much every bar on the beach.
A few people were around to be fair, but nothing you wouldn't find on a quiet Monday night in any major city.
This was a Saturday night.. in a major tourist hotspot!
It then dawned on me.
No one has any money!!
There was a club near the guest house where we were staying, Nyex.
They were having a three day rave: 1500 rupees for one night, or 3000 for all three.
Groups of 20 year old Europeans and Americans started descending on the place on their mopeds, smug because they had mastered the lawless method of navigating the roads in India.
Again, if you saw a chick, she was gonna be with her boyfriend, and they were both probably looking to get high.
That's another thing about Goa.
I swear I got asked more times if I wanna buy drugs than when I used to go down Camden High Street back in the day!
People like to party and get high; what else is new.
I'm not down with drugs. Sobriety is much more thrilling for me.
Besides, raving with a bunch of 'high as a kite' kids and vast quantities of 'sausages' wasn't my idea of a good time; the American dude didn't fancy it much either.
So after all that and miles and miles of walking up and down the same stretch, we went back to the Avalon bar and had a couple of beers and talked politics...
Which is still a great way to end the night!
There were other raves going on: Hilltop.. Cubana -which was apparently the best place to go, but you needed to be with a girl to get in; pretentious London all over again.
Fcuk that sh!t.
I had fun man. A lot of fun and I met some really cool people and hung out.. chilled on the beach.. saw some epic sunsets...
I mean, I'm a single guy, so you think that meeting some exotic beauty is all I'd want, but honestly, one of the best things about my whole India trip was getting away from women and the whole incessant, never ending 'game'.
The next day my taxi driver to the airport (a local lad) was telling me how he met some Russian chick; they both got high on MDMA and he had a “good time” (that was a euphemism, in case you missed it).
So guys, there is game if you really want it.
I, however, wouldn't change a thing.
I got to the airport at 12pm for a 2pm flight. There was a long queue to get in.
I also just got a text from my sister saying the airline had left her a voice message (as my phone was unavailable):
My flight had been delayed.. until 4:30am!
Luckily, she misheard the message (half asleep from the time difference no doubt) and it was only delayed until 14:30!
Still.. that was a panicky half hour until I found out!
I enjoyed one last blissful day back at the village in Punjab before flying back to London.
Man.. you do NOT realise just how anxious and tightly wound up you are until you experience a completely different, slower paced way of life!
I can only insist you take time out of your hectic life and try it for yourself.
Seriously, you NEED to get away from it all.
Walk a different road and live a different life, for as long as you can; whatever it takes to change your mindset.
Break free of the internet, Facebook, all your whatsapp conversations...
Get away from ALL of it!
Because the greatest journey you can make is that of the mind.
When you feel like you've grown as a person and expanded your thinking and understanding of life, the world, and (the greatest mystery of all..) PEOPLE!
When you come back with a different mindset, suddenly horizons start popping open and expanding all over the place; where once there seemed no way, all of a sudden you see a path...
I've said that this blog is all about my professional pursuits, not my personal ones, but especially in the creative arts, one's personal life has a great bearing on one's 'professional' success. Therefore, it would be disingenuous of me not to elaborate on why I came back from India so refreshed in mind and soul and the effect that's had on me since I returned.
One of the major causes of stress in a young(ish) man's life, in London, is the whole dating game...
In India, the whole 'dating game' just doesn't exist.
There isn't this huge pressure to always be 'mingling' or the panic of feeling like you're gonna 'expire' if you leave it too long between dating and having sexual encounters.
The opposite in fact; the more 'virtuous' you are, the greater your honour.
It's pretty much the exact opposite of life in London, where a man's sense of honour isn't even a thing!
It felt damn good to be in a place where I didn't feel the need to swipe my life away, or feel crummy because everyone was out on Friday and Saturday night and I was stuck at home, dateless, friendless and watching Graham Norton, or Strictly Come Dancing!
Of course, there are other pressures, marriage being the main one.
The sole reason an Indian exists is so he can get married. More so if he is a she.
In India, life is centred around the family, and spending time with the family.
I'm Indian, but I'm primarily a Londoner and in London, I live like any other Londoner; I'm out as often as I can be, enjoying our great city (and racking up debts in the process); and when I'm not, I feel like I should be, otherwise I'm not living life to its fullest.
I'm starting to think that 'Carpe diem' and the rest of that pressure cooker 'live each day like it's your last' mentality is just some advertising campaign designed to keep us spending money on anything that supposedly enriches our experience as human beings..
I could go off on some cynical tangent about how we're all just zombies trapped in some 'box ticking' photo-sharing social media herd mentality lifestyle... but I won't. (I actually did, but you'll never see it because of the modern wonders of editing! ..although, I might reinstate it when I publish this blog as a book, just to get you to buy it! In which case, it was the best tangent EVER!!)
Point is, if you're stuck in any type of lifestyle, it's good to know that there are alternative ways to live your life, and if possible, it's even better to experience those alternative ways of living.
For me, a life of not thinking about dating, or pursuing women in any way, was.. like getting whole swathes of my brain back!
Not endlessly swiping and then endlessly messaging, not going to bars searching for 'talent', not feeling like I had to chat to every pretty girl that crossed my path, because as a single man the onus is always on me to make the first move; not hoping for serendipity to do me a favour every time I left my house..
Ridding myself of that aspect of life, being free to not worry about it.. was so liberating!
Honestly, in computing terms, you do not realise just how much processing power it takes up, until you switch the process off.
I mean, I'm a man, I can't turn it off permanently, but an extended break was more than needed.
When I got back to London, I tried to maintain that 'zen' for as long as possible.
Me and the boys were out in a bar my first Friday back, and it was the best 'female to male' ratio I'd seen in years! Literally, the opposite of those nights in Goa... and I could not have cared less.
I didn't chat to a single chick that night (kind of a big deal if you know me) simply because I just didn't want to. Maintaining my 'free' mindset was of much greater value.
Of course the following week I was swiping away... met one chick for a drink and afterwards was like 'nah', I am done with this.
It was nothing to do with her; it was just getting back into that lifestyle after having been free of it.
Don't get me wrong; I still love and appreciate women; but the whole 'game', especially in this town?
I am done.
In London, it's like this:
Imagine you're an actor, and you're constantly hustling to get an audition; constantly in 'correspondence'.
Then when you do get an audition, it's going to cost you bucks just to attend.. You're a struggling actor, but you accept it's the game, and if you go to the audition and don't pay for it, you definitely ain't getting the part!
(So much for equality?)
Anyway, you really want to succeed, so you go along with the charade (because that's exactly what it is). You know going in to the audition that no matter how charming, entertaining and funny you are, the odds of you winning the part are slim to none...
There are just too many actors chasing this audition; especially when there's a desire to audition every last one of them!
It's understandable; they want the best actor.. until you realise they're not actually searching for an actor at all, but a unicorn (or some other mythical creature).
So, after the audition, you know the score; it went well, but unless it goes fantastically well, for both of us, it's a case of “Don't call us, we'll call you!” and in this day and age, no one calls anyone.
But fcukit, there's a million more parts in this town, and a million more auditions, so rinse and repeat!
It's a costly affair, paying for all these auditions, week in week out.. but forget the money, you can work hard and earn it back, but the time?
Once it's gone, it's gone!
The decades creep up on you. After years and years of auditions and being witty, charming, chivalrous and everything else, you realise it's just not worth the waste of time.
Sure there are highs, but there are probably more lows; you've just become numb to them.
As much as you love acting, your brain FINALLY makes the connection between feeling shitty and going to auditions / wanting to be a successful actor.
Then one day you just don't feel like going to auditions anymore; no matter how great the part might look.
You experience a life free of auditions (India, in case you need help with this overly elaborate metaphor) and it's great! It's better than great! It's invigorating!!
You wish you could give up being an actor, because all the good parts in London are taken, so for the time being you just have to avoid auditions until you can afford to move away to a country where if the audition goes well, you actually stand a chance of landing that role of a lifetime!
But hey, maybe I can't get a role because I'm just not that good an actor!
Either way, there are more than enough actors willing to fill the void left by my absence; each willing to jump through every hoop an audition entails...
Me on other hand?
I'm happy to keep my head down; focus on my work and ride solo... for a while.