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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I got shot….!

One fine day, I decided to accept an invitation from one of my college mates to spend the day with her. I was staying in the hostel while doing my graduation in Goa and often got such invitations from my friends on any, actually, most occasions like birthdays, festivals, anniversaries or just a plain get-together.

One fine day, like I said, my colleague asked me if I would like to come with her to her place (home town) as they were celebrating some kind of festival that was unique to that place. (I don’t remember exactly what was the occasion or what was being celebrated.). She also mentioned that the whole class was coming along, so I naturally said, OK, not wanting to miss out any “fun”. Here, let me mention that our class was generally the “outgoing” type and very “fun” loving and would not miss out any opportunity that we got.

Looking forward to having a great day ahead, we all set off in great spirits. It was a fun journey going first by the local bus and then catching a ferry to cross a river to a remote village, somewhere in Old Goa. The moment we reached the village on the other side of the river, I had a vague sense of “unease”, for I suddenly realized that we were now totally dependant on the ferry to take us back to the main land (back to civilization). The ferry, as I later learned, turned out to be the last one for the day!

Anyway, here we were, on this vague looking small town with houses built close to each other and like it happens in all such small towns, all the people seemed to know each other very well. Each and everyone greeted my friend as we crossed them on our way over to her house. There was a general air of cheer and excitement in the village, as all the people were getting ready for the “celebrations”. My friend explained to us that there would be a parade with floats and dances and songs along the main road and it would be fun to watch.

Having heard a lot about the famous Goan Carnival (still haven’t witnessed one), which is also celebrated with a lot of fun and fanfare with a similar parade consisting of floats with dances and songs, I thought it would be fun to watch this parade too. So, not aware of what lay ahead of us, we all happily trooped on to take our places from where we could get a better view of the floats and dances.

It was time for the parade to start and we all craned our necks to see the first of the floats approaching. The roadside and the houses nearby were packed with people waiting in anticipation. And suddenly, I felt a sting on my leg. “Oh god! I’ve been shot…!” I thought.

I turned to see what it was and was surprised not to find anything. Ignoring it, although it still hurt, I turned back to watch the proceedings. Before I could say “Robinson Crusoe”, No I think it was more like “Tom”, Zing…something stung me again. This time I turned in time to see someone with a “peashooter” and realized that peashooters from all sides, to my horror, were attacking us. All my friends were also getting a good dose of it.

Now, I guess it would have been really “fun” if we had been similarly armed with the same weapons and could hit them back. But here we were, totally unaware of this part of the so-called “celebrations” and also totally unarmed and like sitting ducks. These adventurous girls and boys of all ages hit us from all four sides with glee. I must say that I didn’t enjoy being hit at all.

The peas really stung hard and what was worse still was that it was also very sticky and left you feeling itchy. The skin became red and inflamed. My other friends, despite being attacked, seemed engrossed in the proceedings and didn’t seem to mind this little bit of intrusion. Well, what could I do? I gritted my teeth and tried to bear it all for as long as I could, as courtesy demanded (not wanting to seem rude). But, soon running out of patience, I asked my friend if she would excuse me and I could return back to her house where we were to stay overnight. Thankfully, another of my colleague also had had it and grabbing this chance of getting away, said she would also come with me. So, we set off and reached her home safely, without much incidence, other than a few more shots from the peashooters.

*For those who still don’t know what a peashooter is: here is a definition from Wikipedia –
Pea shooter (toy), a toy consisting of a long tube that the user can blow through to shoot dried peas or small bits of paper.”

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