“Seriously, though, when am I ever going to get a shot at spending a month in Goa without any pressure of missing work?” I asked my mom as I put across my plan of spending lockdown in Goa. It was an impulsive idea, that grew into a plan with absolutely no objections, and I left for Goa the day before the 2021 lockdown was declared. Probably the best decision I’ve made in the last year, if not longer.

Being unable to focus on my work with the beaches and the bars distracting me was the most serious concern from both my parents, and myself. But having resolutely made up my mind, I decided that I will make it work out. And am I glad I did!

I was checked into House of Memories, right on Candolim Beach. This gorgeous hostel is run by a couple of guys who are the most fun people, and have now become some of my closest friends, in the whole world. At House of Memories, I immediately felt at Home

Arriving in Goa on a late weekday evening, everything seemed the same. Bars, still open. Beaches, still buzzing. People, still welcoming. Food, still delicious. Goa, still magic! We’d go out to our favourite bars, eat at our favourite restaurants and watch football at our local stadium. But as the days were passing, a sense of an impending lockdown was lingering among us. Slowly, the night curfew got stricter, and then a total lockdown of five days was announced.

Of course, the whole place developed a mild panic. But as soon as people started taking the basic precautions (that we had all but forgotten in the last few months) things started feeling normal again. A different kind of normal, but we definitely, definitely made the most of what we had.

Quickly, restaurants were replaced by supermarkets, bars were replaced by a solitary shack that became our favourite haunt. Our access to the beach was limited to a small stretch, but the waves were still infinite. The common area, which was already my office by day, turned out to be a quiet place for dinner with friends – old and new, or a loud club where we danced senselessly, a cafe where we’d pass time exploring the different coffees we bought at the supermarket that day, a library we’d spend hours reading in, or a movie theatre where we spent more time picking a movie than actually watching it. Without even realising it, Friends became family.

Spending Lockdown in Goa, I can’t recommend it enough. House of Memories, definitely the best hostel I’ve lived at. Living up to its name, it’s given me memories for a lifetime, and friends for longer than that. I’ve been to Goa more than my fair share, but this month here was by far the best. By the time it was time to go back, I felt like I was leaving home, and not the other way around. House of Memories is definitely not just a hostel.. it’s Home. And for my part, I can’t wait to go back home again!