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GOAN BARNICLE

It all began in '73


By: ERNEST JOSEPH FLANAGAN

(with valuable inputs from Bakir, Sharukh and Parves)

DEEPAK SHARMA 'BARNACLE' CLASS OF '73, WHEN HE THROWS A PARTY YOU CANNOT HELP BUT BE WAY DOWN IN SUNNY GOA UNDER A COCONUT TREE, DISCOVER HEAVEN AT THE TAJ'S EXOTIC ECTASY. FOUR LUCKY BARNACLES - PARVEZ, BAKIR, SHARUKH AND ME, TOOK A TRAIN TO GOA FOR A WEEKEND IN MARCH YOU SEE. CHECKED IN AT THE TAJ EXOTICA MOST EXCITEDLY AND BEGAN TO PARTY ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. FIRST WE DRANK THE WINE WHICH WAS COMPLIMENTARY THEN WE CONSUMED THE CASHEW NUTS MOST EFFORTLESSLY. FROM OUR ROOMS WE TEASED EACH OTHER ON THE PHONE MISCHIEVOUSLY, WHILE WE SOAKED OUR TIRED BODIES IN THE BATHTUB LUXURIOUSLY. WE FELT LIKE CROWN PRINCES IN THIS PALACE FAIRLY NEW ONLY AN INVITATION FROM DEEPAK COULD MAKE THIS DREAM COME TRUE. OVER A LEISURELY LUNCH AND BEERS QUITE A FEW WE TALKED ABOUT THE SCHOOL THAT ALL OF US WENT TO. WE SLEPT AWHILE AND WENT DOWN TO THE EVENING BARBEQUE WHERE, YOURS TRULY, WAS FORCED TO SING A SONG OR TWO. AFTER I SUCCEEDED IN DRIVING THE OTHER DINERS AWAY, WE RETIRED TO OUR ROOMS AND DECIDED TO CALL IT A DAY.



WE SPENT THE NEXT DAY MORNING DOING OUR BEST TO PUT ON WEIGHT, AT THE BREAKFAST BUFFET WE DIDN'T FEEL SHY OR HESITATE. LIKE TRUE BARNACLES WE ATTACKED THE BUFFET IN STYLE THEN WENT DOWN TO THE POOL TO COOL OFF FOR AWHILE.



MY IMPRESSIVE BELLY WAS AN IMMEDIATE RUNAWAY HIT, THE WATER LEVEL IN THE POOL ROSE A FEW INCHES BECAUSE OF IT. WE PLAYED A COUPLE OF GAMES WITH A VOLLEY BALL IN THE POOL, BAKIR KEPT US IN SPLITS WHILE HE JOKED AND PLAYED THE FOOL. ALONG WITH DEEPAK AND HIS FAMILY WE ENJOYED A SUMPTUOUS LUNCH, THEN WE WENT AND PLAYED SOME 'POOL' WHERE DEEPAK BEAT US TO THE PUNCH. WHILE BAKIR IS ENJOYING A MASSAGE AND SHARUKH WATCHING FORMULA-1 ON TV, THE REST OF US RETIRED TO OUR ROOMS FOR A REST AND HOT TEA. THIS EVENING WILL BE SPECIAL WHEN WE PAINT THE TOWN RED, I'M SURE WE WON'T BE SOBER WHEN WE GET TO BED. WE'VE GOT A FEW CANDID SHOTS OF PARVEZ DRINKING BEER AT LAST TO HIS UNKNOWING WIFE THE TRUTHFUL PICTURE WILL BE CLEAR. BUT YOU KNOW WE'RE ONLY JOKING HE REALLY DOESN'T LIKE THE BOOZE, ONCE IN A BLUE MOON HE LETS HIS INHIBITIONS LOOSE. HE'S EVERYBODY 'BEST BOY' FROM ALLAH'S GRACE HE'LL NEVER FALL, UNFORTUNATELY HE'S OUT VOTED WHEN IT COMES TO ALCOHOL.

ESCAPING FROM THE TAJ TO DINE AT 'ZEEBOP' BY THE SEA, ONE OF SOUTH GOA'S HOTSPOTS WE WERE PRIVILEGED TO SEE. DEEPAK'S FAMILY AND US BARNACLES WE MADE A LIVELY BUNCH, LOBSTERS IN GARLIC SAUCE AT DINNER WE DID MUNCH. NOW IT'S WELL AFTER MIDNITE AND 'PARVEZ' STILL WANTS TO DRINK, SO WE CARRY ON BAR HOPPING TO COLVA BEACH I THINK

DEEPAK MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO DROP THE LADIES AND CHILDREN HOME, NOW ITS JUST US 'BACHELORS' DRINKING ON OUR OWN. THE DIRTY JOKES START FLOWING TILL WE'RE ROLLING ON THE GROUND, WE'RE PROVIDING 'LIVE' ENTERTAINMENT TO EVERYONE AROUND. DEEPAK DROPPED US HOME - SOBER TILL THE END, HE'S A GUY YOU CAN DEPEND ON - ALWAYS A FAITHFUL FRIEND.

MONDAY MORNING COMES WITHOUT WARNING AND ITS TIME TO PACK, THIS WONDERFUL WEEKEND IS OVER, WE'RE ALL RELUCTANT TO GO BACK. SHARUKH AND GOOD OL' BAKIR ARE TAKING THE AFTERNOON FLIGHT, WHILE PARVEZ, MY WIFE AND ME HAVE A TRAIN TO CATCH TONIGHT. WE HAVE LUNCH TOGETHER AT THE 'MEDITERRAINEAN' RESTAURANT, PIZZA'S, PASTAS AND MUSCLES WE EAT WHATEVER WE WANT. THERE'S A PIANO IN THE LOBBY AND YOURS TRULY MAKES IT RING, WITH THE 'BARNES SCHOOL ANTHEM' THAT THEY INSIST WE HAVE TO SING. IN TRUE BARNES SCHOOL TRADITION THEY LINE UP FOR A LAUGH, WHILE WE PRESERVE THIS MOMENT FOR POSTERITY WITH A PHOTOGRAPH.



NOW ITS ALMOST TIME FOR BAKIR AND SHARUKH TO FLY, SO WE REACH THEM TO THEIR CAR WHERE WE SAY GOODBYE. PARVEZ, MY WIFE AND ME STILL HAVE A FEW HOURS TO KILL , SO A RIDE ON THE ELECTRIC GOLF CART GIVES US QUITE A THRILL. WE GO AROUND THE RESORT WITH DEEPAK AT THE WHEEL, IT'S A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE AND LIKE ROYALTY WE FEEL.

NOW, WITH BAG AND BAGGAGE WE'RE OFF TO DEEPAK'S SPACIOUS BUNGALOW, WHERE ON THE COMPUTER DEEPAK'S KIDS PUT UP QUITE A SHOW. WE WATCH THE CRICKET MATCH ON DEEPAK'S 27 INCH TV, WHILE 'NAINA', DEEPAK'S BEAUTIFUL WIFE, SERVES US BISCUITS AND TEA. ALL TOO SOON ITS TIME FOR US TO SAY GOODBYE AGAIN, DEEPAK, HOST AND GENTLEMAN, DROPS US TO THE TRAIN. ON THIS CLASS REUNION OUR USUAL 'HIGH' STANDARDS HAVE BEEN MET, THIS IS ONE REUNION WE'RE NOT LIKELY TO FORGET. TO BETTER THIS REUNION WILL TAKE SOME DOING AND THEN SOME, SO, JALDEEP DAULAT, WATCH OUT - LAS VEGAS HERE WE COME. SO LET'S START APPLYING FOR VISAS - WE'RE GOING TO CHARTER A PLANE, OUR HAPPY CLASS OF '73 WILL BE TOGETHER ONCE AGAIN.



ERNEST JOSEPH FLANAGAN

(with valuable inputs from Bakir, Sharukh and Parvez)