I have always felt that who you choose to travel with decides how your journey and the trip would unravel. Taking a bit of home with you when you pick your most favourite person or people in the world, to go for a vacation with and then roaming around unfamiliar alleys, taking in scenic landscapes the likes of which our buzzing city will never see and a general abandon that comes when you are travelling is all a part of it and beautifully so! I am someone who is marginally obsessed with cafes, the interiors and the environment where reading a book over a cup of coffee seems like the most natural thing one must indulge in. So I make sure I have visited at least the most well-known, if not all the cafes in the neighbourhood when I go for a vacation. It’s just a ritual, a process of observation bringing home a sense of familiarity. Every café will eventually have a connect, similar food options, the regular décor with a little variation here and there. So when I visited Eva Café in Anjuna, I was pretty surprised.
One may call it a glorified shack but this is one café in that city which truly takes you away. Eva café is owned by Eva who is an Israeli woman. The café faces the sea and is a tiny place with not more than 8 tables. But there is something very soothing and peaceful about sitting in a space that makes you forget about everything apart from being in the moment, right then and there. There will always be pretty cafes with their expensive interiors or an ambience that could lighten up the most distressed souls. But very rarely, almost never, have I come across a place that truly whisks you away. Away from your attachment to the trappings of reality, from thoughts about your next destination, your next day, food you should order or simply the mindless chatter we enthusiastically engage in with the people who have accompanied us.
I went to Goa with a person who I grew up with, someone who has seen every shade of my life and lived it with me. She has a lot to say and so do I. There are times when we will talk incessantly. And there is never really a dearth of things to say. But for the two hours we spent at this place, we did not utter a word.
The place will raise scepticism in your mind when you see it from outside, making you rethink your decision to drive all the way through those narrow lanes, shady bars as you park your vehicle in questionable parking spaces. The lack of space means you might not easily get a seat in the front and that can change a lot about your time here. As the entire spirit of spending time at a place like this is being seated right in front of the sea, plonking your feet up on the ledge and watching the sun set with beautiful music playing in the background.
We sat at the back and edged our way to the front where I made sure we got the best seat in the place. 5pm to 8pm is probably the best time to visit and the sunset along with the sound that the waves make as they hit against the rocks on the beach is unparalleled. Time stands still and there are not a horde of thoughts that tend to cross one’s mind. Maybe this is what meditation feels like. Maybe this is where the word ‘serene’ came from, this exact feeling. That exact moment.
The interiors of this place are as special as what you will feel when you enter and get seated. Sea shells are places on every table next to table mats that are have idyllic words printed on them. We ordered coffees and a strawberry crepe that comes with chocolate, cream and their own jam. With trinkets that sway in the breeze hanging from the roof and a wallpaper which is essentially just plastered to cover up a wall, I still find it surprising how such a tiny place with the most minimal and subtle adornments can rage a fire in your heart. The view does most of the talking.
And that is the thing about certain places. You cannot replicate the vibe. You could imitate the interiors and aim for a better view, a wider choice of items on the menu or a bigger space. But it’s the little things that matter. It’s the small attempts, the subtle touches that add that extra bit. That indulge you. Make you savour every second spent in that space. Make you come alive. And let you hold on to that feeling, for as long as you can. As long as you live.