1.2# NIGHTINGALE OF THE KARAOKE

Well-structured houses and huts as if painted in Camlin's brightest poster colours make for our welcome view, en route to the hotel. It reminded the groggy us that we indeed made it to Goa after all the dramatics. My eyelids weighed a 'Great Khali' each and were struggling to stay open after a no sleep day. So, I widened my eyes using the tiny fingers on my hands (my miniature sized fingers amuse my friends, though I think they are normal... till not compared with anyone else's). And soak in more Goa flavour. I spot trees! coconut water! sea! Yay! I spot Vodafone and Airtel branding on almost ALL the huts lining the road. NO Yay! If these painted adverts had elbows, they'd be pushing each other's red ass off the wall. Talking of red, Mr Bling's eyes were poppingly so. I dared not look at mine. 'Good to be oblivious'

An hour later we got to the hotel where the view and the weather hit me like a tranquilliser and I felt Zen-i-fied. The breeze in my face, the soothing ambience, and an inviting restaurant that I hawked out while Mr Bling stood at the reception doing the most boring part of our vacation. Giving IDs etc etc. *Yawn*. Ignoring the nature's call which had infact reached the challenging level by now, I hopped on to attend the other important call. What followed was the most amazing red curry veggies and steamed rice meal at Latitude; the in-house multi-cuisine restaurant. Ignoring the accusation of having a sweet jaw and not just a tooth by my gluttony partner, I ordered a plate of assorted desserts. All Goan. Slurrrrrp! Bebinca & Dodol which I left no trace of on my plate, and a few others that got ignored like the 'cinematic' unpopular high school girls. Basically, I'm very focussed during my meals. My formula is that I take a bite of everything on the table (Really EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE! So, imagine my plight when I'm at a wedding). But, I indulge in only one that makes the cut. 'Indulge' as defined in 'Bakkford' dictionary: If you like something then do not leave even a crumble on the plate, in your fridge and even in the neighbour's. Repercussion: Over-doing the over-eating and a new wardrobe every few months. So, coming back to talking sweet nothings. To me the name Bebinca sounds right out of a Barbie family. How does it matter till I'm its Ken, wherever it is. This multi-layered scrumptious dessert is the kind of stuff my drooling dreams are made of! The next memory is of sleepwalking, with an extra stomach I found inside me somewhere while hogging the meal, till the cottage room. And before I could look out for any strangers in the bed, just incase I've enter the adjacent cottage, I sank into the huge mattress and zzzzzzzed. Even if I did indeed interrupt anyone's afternoon cardio, 'the bed is too big for them to notice me' I thought, before diving into a dreamless sleep.

I woke up disoriented and panicky... "Am I in a dream? Is it morning already? How long have I been sleeping for? Where am I? Where is my bed? Why is it dark outside? Have I been kidnapped?" The answer echoed through the dim-lit room in Mr Bling's voice. "You have been saving...not the day for 'horsing around' as you wanted to and galloped so far for, but maybe the earth in your half a day long snooze". I retorted, "I slept dreamless". The panic disappeared though on hearing the familiar sarcasm. Such a relief! I'm alive and on a vacation, not in a godown or anything. I attempted to put out the fire by overzealously fluttering my long eyelashes. Clearly, I don't look cute in a just woken up look with my hair making a mesh of its own variety, as he pointed to the time fumingly. Just 2 hours to go before the big number hits the cake. Instantly the spirits rose. Literally. P Diddy endorsed Ciroc upped the lyrical talent in me for the night, and 2 hours of punjabi songs about 'alcohol and girls' later, it was midnight. "Happppyyyy birrrrthdayyy to me"!!To look the part, I was made to wear a golden crown on my head. Thank god, no numbers were in sight on the candles. Just a huge colourful banner which was stuck with the help of chewing gums on the solid wooden bed.

The night looked goooood already! Then, Luigi called for Mario so that the mushroom could be dropped to a happening party somewhere at the beach ! Translation: Mr Bling called the hotel cab driver Mario to pick us up and we drove hunting for that happening party. But, all around us was a dead North goa. No kidding guys! It was a Tuesday night going into Wednesday morning and there was no place open at 12:30am!! This wasn't the Goa I had visited 4 years ago. Finally, St Anthony at Baga became our pit for the night. I really love Karaoke, but my peeps who accompany me enjoy it more than I do. Why not? After all, they get to witness my Amrish Puri version of a Susheela Raman that I try to pull off as my deep throaty voice. Happy and spinny, we ordered another drink and egg fried rice which pleasantly tasted fresh and yum. At least that is how I remember it. After the food, the mic was calling out to me. It's as if the moment I get to the Karaoke night special, I forget all the cool songs to sing. Almost like an evil plan of the Universe to only retain 'Hit me baby one more time' and the likes of it in my head. The first song  I sang got me my fans for the night. A beautiful number by Norah Jones. The next 2 songs replaced my peppy fans with eye-rolling faces. You see, I've learnt that Aguilera's Genie in a bottle and Shakira's Whenever Wherever get you no marks. Instead, like my MBA entrance exam the marking goes into negative here too! Thankfully, the place was almost shutting by then and there were no eggs around the audience, to be wasted on me. We made the exit at a good time. Mario decided to take his own sweet time to reach to us, to deposit us in the safety of our hotel cottage. I kept looking over the shoulder for pissed and drunk AND pissed drunk people to attack me for the torture. Mario braked in front of us right then and opened the car door as we dived in. Meanwhile, crossing another Karaoke place, I heard someone singing the iconic DDLJ song 'Tujhe dekha to ye Jaana Sanam' with a bunch of people performing some weird kind of a reptile dance in front of him. All of this at a decent Karaoke bar. I suddenly felt my royalty returning and I made a decision "no matter the eggs or the frowns or the eye-rolls, I shall continue singing Pop girls' uncool songs of the cool era and hop-dance on them too". Twenty minutes later, I was back in my room (checked the bed again for any hidden couple...just incase). And as a birthday girl is supposed to do, replied to all the warm messages and calls, before snoozing off to refuel  for Mr Bling's day schedule for my B-Day.

(CONTD...)

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