Karwar is across the border, we could walk there.
We set out to Karwar. It was only after I saw the sign boards that I realised this place was a good 20 kilometers away. K had made it sound like it was just around the corner.
There’s a short cut we can take by cutting across the hills – K told me. I glanced at the hills nearby. Having been part of K’s adventures before, I declined and chose the highway.
The sun was just about disappearing behind the clouds when we began our walk. Before that we did wait at the bus stop as K noticed I wasn’t too kicked about walking the distance. Half an hour later, no bus in sight, so we decided to walk.
On the Goa side of the highway, a kuccha lane ran parallel to the single lane national highway. There seemed an informal agreement, tarred highway belonged to vehicles, the dirt lane to humans. Anywhere in between and they were fair game.
At places, we could smell the cooking or we watched the wild trees growing in all directions except the highway. We walked in a single file & enjoyed the sights.
In a while, we reached the Karnataka border. An unusual sight greeted us where all the cops were busy checking vehicles crossing over from Goa to Karnataka.
Must be a terror threat – me.
Is it a festival time or something? – K
Does that matter? – me.
I dunno, but there must be some explanation to this – K.
In 5 seconds the explanation unfolded.
A constable extracted a bottle of Blenders Pride, finest blended Indian whisky (as advertised on bottle). So, not a terrorist or security scare but Daru!
Booze was cheaper by a good 25% in Goa due to lesser taxes. Lots of people in high spirits smuggle these spirits from one side to the other, especially those living near the border. Sellers sold more booze, buyers got cheaper booze, everyone was happy, except the govt which lost the taxes. So the cops get involved, the seller isn’t affected, the buyer may get sad, but the cops are definitely happy.
The govt – no clue.
Ask the cops the way to Karwar – K suddenly told me. I don’t know why, but I obliged. I went up to the one nearest, asked. He gave us a look, replied –Keep walking straight.
After walking a safe distance, K exclaimed yes!
I raised my eyebrows.
K – I wanted to test a theory – see, if you rush towards trouble head on, chances are trouble will leave you alone.
I didn’t agree, but kept walking, amazed at K’s thinking. For the record, the cop didn’t check our bags.
The Karnataka side of the highway could not have been more different from the Goa one. Laid out professionally, all cement & tar with 3 lanes on either side demarcated by a proper divider running all along. We could walk next to each other and not worry about being run over by a car from behind.
We walked for quite a distance, my feet were hurting, I was cursing K. Suddenly K pointed towards the farm to our right. I looked, a peacock strutting around, two rabbits poked out of the tall grass, before disappearing right back & different birds calls and the best – a hawk hovering really low. A prayer rose in my mind for the rabbits. I kept watching, the hawk circled for a bit, changed its mind & flew away. I walked on, the drama had made me forget that my hurting feet.
Further ahead, we asked a shop guy for directions. He pointed to a way just ahead on the right. A new energy filled my feet, we moved in that direction of the promised land.
Continued in part 2.