Long Lost Winter
Anjuna, Goa, India
Take me back because I need to be reminded of what I left behind. Take me back where? I don’t really know anymore: a time, a place, a memory? But just take me back…to a beach cloaked in darkness, with a winter moon shining and the silence broken only by the waves breaking onto the shore and the rustle of the trees in the wind. Take me back to a place where there were no worries, no grey skies and no cold winters. Take me back to Anjuna.
Anjuna in north Goa is a place where, in some ways, the passing of time does not matter because the next moment always seems much better than the one before. When I was there in early 2006, each sunset seemed more embracing than the preceding one and each dawn more appealing than the previous. As the days went by I fell more in love with the place: its serene back lanes, which crisscrossed the greenery, and the easy-going atmosphere of the village. It was a sensation I felt inside but could never really explain.
But the best place to be was down on the beach where the bending coconut trees towered as giants against the night sky, hiding the lush paddy fields beyond, happily whispering to one another in the light breeze. Low hanging cotton wool clouds would drift eerily above the specks of light from the fishing boats glistening on the horizon, over which existed another world, so apart from this one of silky seas and carefree laughter. Indeed I often wondered if anyone out there in a world filled with trouble even remembered laughter anymore?
And when each new day broke and the mist hung low, those who had made the journey to be there were rewarded with an inspirational dawn and the haunting distant calls of birds that hovered above the rolling waves. Every morning the black sea transformed into shimmering verdant shades at daybreak and at that point all seemed well with the world.
Anjuna village and beach usually frothed with the vibrancy of the young foreign tourists who had travelled from afar to be there. As I watched them go about their daily business, I thought that their time in Anjuna was ultimately doomed. Their moments there would all too quickly become faded memories. They would soon pass. Being too acutely aware of this, I often felt a tinge of melancholy. The hours near the beach and days in the sun could not be recaptured once they had gone. As they relentlessly dripped away, I tried to treasure each and every moment. But it is impossible to grasp time. It departs as it arrives and to all intents and purposes is impossible to board. Memories are all that remain.
Although I now look out of the window and watch the hazy English summer days go by, that far away place and the people I once knew there will always look as they do in my mind’s eye, frozen in time. And now all that once was has been lost I sit alone on the other side of the world and ponder whether I will ever return. I look back at those beautiful Goan moments lost to the past and in my thoughts the white mist lingers enticingly on the water and the towering giants still whisper. I try to recapture the experience but almost immediately come to the despairing conclusion that it is gone. As I try to recall my time in Anjuna, the memories fade almost as soon as they appear. Time and beauty are fleeting and impossible to hold on to; they are merciless deceivers.
Now I all I can do is think about the place from a distance. But it’s not enough. Take me back. I want to be there once more. Anjuna, take me back to a time when you captivated…take me back to you.
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