Will GOAFEST 2018 add a twist to this tale?
Goafest 2017. 5-6-7th April. Grand Hyatt, Goa. It is work-in-progress. The story is evolving with time. Goafest is where stories take shape, few find their end, and some starve for the next chapter. I am waiting for the possible twist in my story that started in 2016.
GOAFEST 2016. THE START.
It is Saturday night, the last night of the Goafest 2016. The after party is in full swing. I am near the registration area with few friends. I am a bit tipsy. It’s Goafest and it is around 2 a.m.
I see her coming out of the party hall. She is short of cigarettes. She asks me if I can lend her one and I oblige. A conversation starts taking shape. For the next hour and a half, we meander through a range of topics.
Blame it on beers and vodka. Now the funny thing is that I don’t recall her name, and I am sure she doesn’t remember mine. However, I know she is in the digital space and planning do an MBA from one of the IIM’s.
At least that’s what she claimed.
PRE GOAFEST 2017
I use the 142-character tweet to announce my desire to meet her. ‘Dear young lady, if you are attending Goafest this year too, Do connect. And yes, you can find me around 1230, you know where”.
GOAFEST 2017. THE MIDDLE.
I am not expecting much. The results are beyond expectation and control. There is a twist in the tale.
My message, the invite and the desire are in the public domain. I have tweeted, stated the intent on my blog and my weekly column on MXM. I am trying to address an audience of one. It is a wild swipe. Mission impossible in every word. However, few exciting possibilities keep raising naughty unanswered questions.
GOAFEST 2017. THE FIRST NIGHT. 6TH APRIL
Nothing happens on Thursday night. The first night of Goafest. I am in the reception area between 1130 p.m. to 1230 a.m. No one comes to meet me. I am not disappointed.
GOAFEST 2017- DAY 2. 7TH APRIL
Next day I tweeted an update ‘Who Nahi Aayi’.
My identity is in open space. My article carries my picture. On the other side, I have no way to tag her. All I have is a faint memory of an overtly tipsy lady in mid-twenties. She is wearing a light-pastel-coloured dress and sharing a smoke. She sports a small dimple on her left cheek. Maybe I am adding elements from a confused mind.
In the afternoon, I get two e-mails. They are cryptic. They suggest we meet-up. It confuses me. Is someone making a fool of me?
GOAFEST 2017. NIGHT 2. 7TH APRIL.
I avoided the award function and sleep throughout the evening. Later I go to the designated bait area near the registration counters. I kill time. I take small swigs from the beer bottle, and lazily smoke a cigarette while my eyes cautiously scan the area.
After three bottles of beer and some four cigarettes, I give up. I am sure; it is a prank. I take the short walk back to my room, but it feels too long. There is some disappointment.
As I am opening the door to my room, a short SMS hits my phone. ‘Meet me tomorrow the same place. Do not reply or call. Have left for my hotel’.
I try checking the number on the ‘TRUE CALLER’. It belongs to Priyanka ( name changed). I decide to follow the instructions. Tomorrow is the last chance. I meet her or I stop this nonsense. What is there to lose.
GOAFEST 2017, DAY 3
8th April goes in attending sessions. I am waiting for the night.
1215 a.m. The date has changed. I check my stock of cigarettes and then hurry to the reception area.
This girl (Meeta) is sitting in the corner. I strategically stay at a distance and lit my first cigarette. She walks up to me and politely asks if she can borrow one. It is like the code. My eyes lit up. However, I know she is not my Miss2016. The conversation is smooth and unhurried. We speak of work, Goa, IPL, creativity, knowledge session, women empowerment and many other uninteresting things.
STORY ABHI BAAKI HAI DOST
I do a double take. Another girl (Priyanka) comes out of the party hall. She looks around and approaches us. She calmly announces ‘Finally, so do you have a smoke to spare’. I smile and push the pack forward.
We do the introductions. Priyanka and Meeta are meeting for the first time. The girls are bored with the party. They want a change. They have been surrounded by the same set of friends through the 3 days. I am alone with no-one for the company. They know about the tweet. They tell me that they had independently sent me the cryptic emails. Surprisingly, I believe it.
Last night they have seen my harmless dedication to the cause. They have seen me smoking and drinking at the registration area. Waiting for someone. Maybe it is the re-tweet by Pratap Bose that did the trick.
We end up in my room. There are enough cigarettes and beer.
We finally call it a day at 2:30 a.m. they have an early flight to Mumbai.
I have every reason to believe that my original MISS2016 did not attend Goafest 2017.
GOAFEST 2018. Will there be a twist in the tale?
I like meeting and sharing stories. Miss2016, I will be there, meet me if you attend this year. It is true for Priyanka, Meeta and anyone else who wishes to catch up.
If you have a story from Goafest or you want to just catch up, tweet at S_Kotnala or connect on Facebook. You can usually catch me around 11 p.m. – 1230 a.m. at the same place.
This is a true story. Not the complete truth. But the desire to catch up is true. Life anyway is Perception adulterated with reality.
There is another story on the side. We have Godman Turned Tycoon, Baba Ramdev as keynote speaker at AAAI and ADCLUB led celebration of creativity; GOAFEST on 5th April 2018. He is known for consistently flouting/challenging and disregarding the ASCI guidelines.I am wearing a TOUCH OF WHITE in support and appreciation of work done by ASCI. Do join me from wherever you are, wear a touch of white and post it on social media with #ProudOfASCI
BLOG/20/2018- First published in MXMINDIA.com