Life in Goa: Rushin’ off to Morjim By Cedric Serpes

My wife asked, “Have you seen an Olive Ridley turtle?”
And that was how I discovered that there was talk of changing the name of Panjim to Panjimgrad.

I had to visit Morjim beach to see the Ridley turtles run like spiders in one mad dash to the ocean.
So I headed that way. My friend Pascal has a shack just off the road facing the bay. That’s where I went.

A heavily accented gruff Russian voice asked me, “Chto vy budyetye pit?”? I turned around and saw a midriff talking to me. I looked up and saw the biggest Russian woman I have ever seen.
There was a very rude tattoo on her midriff that was up to no good – considering where it was headed. “I do not speak Russian” I said to her belly button. “Oh I am sorry, force of…. how do you say…habit?” “What can I get you?” she asked. Pascal turned up and waved her away.

“What’s with the bodyguard?” I asked, keeping my voice low and smiley. “It’s good for business buddy. She used to be a state level weight lifter. She keeps the place homely.”

The shack was packed tight now. A heated discussion was taking place between two very tight Russian dudes. They could have been 7 feet tall – everything looks taller when you are short. One was a platinum blonde and very beefy. The other was lean with green eyes and a nervous tick that jerked his head sideways. He was shouting (and nervous ticking) “Tvoja golova vsegda v otvete za to, kuda sjadet tvoi zad…” Pascal did the honours. What he says is, “Your head is always responsible for where your butt sits.”

The side of beef lifted an index finger and hissed (hissing is quite popular in Russia I am told), “Sdelat’ zhenshinu schastlivoi – legko, tolko ochen’ dorogo.” I turned to Pascal as we drew our chairs up closer to the action. I think what he said was,”It is easy to make a woman happy, but it is very expensive”. Somehow this did not make any sense. But hey, Russian dudes can get very emotional when it comes to their seats being taken by strangers.

Pascal looked across the room to the big Russian lady with the lethal tattoo. She lumbered across to the dudes, and got their attention by asking, “Pochemu petuh poet vsju zhizn?” The dudes looked puzzled, consulted with each other and their anger forgotten, wandered off toward the beach, deep in thought. “What did she say” I asked Pascal. “Oh she asked them a riddle. And they did not know the answer so they have gone to discuss the matter.” What was the riddle?” I asked, thoroughly intrigued. “Why does a rooster sing all his life?” he replied with a deadpan face. “And what is the answer?” I asked, now totally drawn into the drama. He laughed and said “Because he’s got a lot of wives and not a single mother-in-law.”

I left for Baga that afternoon, none the wiser about Ridley turtles. And the story about the Russians changing Panjim to Panjimgrad? Totally false. They have so many riddles to figure out!

Cedric Serpés, unknown to many, has a Russian wife, Meenaksky, who is originally from Tamilnadu and speaks German sometimes with a Mumbai accent. All very confusing.

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